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Archived Fishing Report

Three Digit Temps Greet Anglers And Summer Just Started!

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/29/2012

Anglers are dealing with the warm weather by rising early and hitting the lake just after dawn peaks across the eastern ridges or deferring their outings to late afternoon trips in order to battle three-digit temps that have slipped in the door.
July hasn’t arrived and summer hasn’t been here long but the weather man was crowing loud this week as to the late June forecast that will see 100-degree plus temps escort the calendar’s change as the weekend arrives.
No doubt fishermen are wondering what lies ahead for the summer fishing scene here on Kentucky Lake as hot and dry conditions are dominating the scenario. And, July and August have a reputation for more of the same.
Despite a lack of rain that continues to result in low flows on the Tennessee River system fishing hasn’t been all bad for bass and crappie anglers. Some pretty impressive stringers of bass are still coming in on a regular basis and crappie anglers working deeper ledges are scoring as well.
Clear water conditions continue to best describe the turbidity of most of Kentucky Lake but high winds have whipped up some stain in a few places at times. Earlier this week a gusty northeast wind did just that in the upper end of Big Sandy and some bays along the Tennessee River.
Surface temperatures this week have lingered around the 83 to 85 degree range as there were a couple of cool mornings leading up to the hot forecast now descending on the region. Expect temps to rise to the upper 80’s by this weekend.
Lake levels continue to reflect the lack of rainfall and runoff entering the system. The drought conditions have worn out their welcome as Kentucky Lake’s elevation actually fell a few inches this week. Observed readings at midweek were 357.4 at Kentucky Dam and 357.3 at New Johnsonville Steam Plant sector.
That elevation is projected for the weekend as Kentucky Lake remains below normal summer pool of 359, a mark that will not be reached this year for the first time in recent memory and perhaps the first time in the reservoir’s history.
Bass fishermen are still finding two patterns paying dividends. Expanding acreage of aquatic vegetation as a result of the clear water conditions and low lake levels continues to attract a lot of pin minnows and shad so the bass are relating to the grass pattern.
Deep sides of main lake ledges are also giving up good fish and some of the summer’s best stringers have been taken in the deep confines of 18 to 25 depths. No doubt the clear water and low lake levels have sent some bass deeper than usual the last few weeks and a lack of current may also be a contributing factor to the deep bite.
Anglers have been hopping jigs and craw combos, big Texas rigged worms, and even hopping spoons at times. Some big deep diving crankbaits have worked too but some of those deep ledges are holding fish that are just too deep at times for crankbaits to reach them.
Popular colors choices for the 10 and 11-inch worms rigged Texas and Carolina style have been black/blue, fire/ice, red shad, cotton candy, and pumpkin pepper just to name a few. Some Carolina rigged worms, lizards and Zoom’s brush hog have worked at times.
As to grass fishing the shallow flats and island rims south of the Paris Landing sector all the way past New Johnsonville are increasing as to their mats of vegetation. Eurasian watermilfoil is abundant in many areas of 5 feet or less depth as the clear water has really stimulated the growth of weeds the last few weeks.
Baitfish have been abundant at times in many areas of the grass, especially if some wind is present and pushes the schools  minnows into weedlines or parameters of grassbeds near ditches and creek channels.
Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits have worked in the early morning and late afternoon hours as have shad colored jerk baits. Texas rigged worms have appealed too when worked on the outside of the thick grass while some weedless surface baits are entering the equation now that thick grassbeds are coming to the surface and establishing a carpet of shade for fish.
It continues to be an interesting year for anglers as the early spring weather accelerated fishing patterns while the lack of rainfall, low lake levels and above average temperatures now team up to challenge anglers as the summer doldrums descend.
Crappie were moving toward deeper depths this week as the midrange structure that has been holding them for weeks seemed to have less appeal. A few fish were still hanging in the 12 t 14 foot depth range but some of the better size crappie are now relating to structure in the 16 to 20 foot depths.
All in all anglers are taking it in stride and dealing with lake levels and weather that is beyond their control. The fish seem to be adapting so the fishermen might as well join them.

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Honker Bay
Photo by John Mahler

Honker Bay, located near The Nature Station, is a great place to hike or simply stop to observe a beautiful sunset.