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Archived Fishing Report

Lake Levels See Slight Rise; Fishing Holds Up

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 07/17/2012

It’s somewhat unusual to see lake levels rising in mid to late July but Kentucky Lake’s elevation actually got a rare boost this week and rose a few inches in the aftermath of abundant thunderstorms. 
The year’s highest reading came at midweek when elevation at Kentucky Dam climbed to 358, which is still a foot below summer pool but up several inches from the previous week. Upstream at New Johnsonville the reservoir crested around 357.7.
TVA’s curve begins its annual drawdown in early July so odds are the reservoir will begin falling slowly in the weeks ahead anyway. Meanwhile water color remains clear across Kentucky Lake.
Surface temps this week stayed in the 86 to 88 degree range as last week series of thunderstorms cooled things off a bit and sent some fresh water into the river system.
Conditions have been pretty good lately for summer anglers who have enjoyed light winds and cloudy mornings. Topping the list of successful anglers have been bass fishermen who continue to reap the rewards of both grassbed and deep ledge fishing patterns.
There have been some nice stringers of fish taken this week in local tournaments where 5-fish limits commanded weights of 20-pound plus stringers to win. Normally, winning weights this time of year are lingering around the 17 to 18 pound range but seems a lot of boaters are figuring out the deep pattern and landing hefty fish during the hot weather periods.
Deep sides of main lake ledges are still producing the majority of the hefty stringers but not all the fish are deep as good numbers are also coming from the top sides of ledges at times or up on the shelf itself. Tossing jigs with split-tail trailers or crawfish imitations have worked well for the deeper depths of 18 to 25 feet.
A few boats are hopping jigs but alternating their presentations with huge Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged lizards, craws, and worms or sometimes mixing a spoon or big swim bait in the arsenal.
Big deep diving crankbaits in shad colored variations are still working too. Several fish have been found this week chasing shad up into the 8 to 14 foot zones and tossing crankbaits in those areas sure covers a lot of water and triggers strikes at times.
Grassbeds continue to hold a lot of fish and a buffet of baits are working around the abundance of milfoil that seems to be holding abundant schools of baitfish. Texas rigged worms are working well in such colors as fire/ice, green pumpkin pepper, cotton candy, red shad, and Tequila sunrise just to name a few.
In the early morning or late afternoon hours bass have been hitting surface lures ranging from buzzbaits to chugger style topwater presentations, not to mention floating flukes and assorted weedless lures twitched slowly around pockets of vegetation.
There are plenty of grassy areas to choose from but most of the aquatic vegetation appears to be around the stateline bays and further south toward Paris Landing down to New Johnsonville.
Spinnerbaits with gold willowleaf blades have worked well around the grass too and the grass pattern has worked at the same time anglers are working deep ledges.
Crappie action was fair this week with a few fish coming from deep stakebeds and brushpiles in the 14 foot depth zone. While a few deeper spots around creek and river channels where structure was located in 18 to 22 foot depths were producing it seemed a few fish had returned to midrange areas, a likely result of the rise in lake levels coupled with some cloud cover.
Live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows are producing best.
Not much activity showing up in the catfish category or white bass arena this week. Activity should improve for catfishermen working those main river banks and deep, submerged feeder creeks if some current enters the picture.
Mayfly hatches continue to be scarce across the reservoir as mid-summer usually sees more sightings but not many flies have been seen since July entered the picture. Meanwhile, anglers welcome the return of a few thunderstorms and cloudy days that have kept the summer bit going lately.

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Cedar Waxwing
Photo by Teresa Gemeinhardt

The Cedar Waxwing is a beautiful bird that is common to The Land Between The Lakes region. You're likely to find them near fruiting trees and shrubs.