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Archived Fishing Report

Fall Fishing Officially Underway; Great Weather Awaits You

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 09/20/2012

Anglers on Kentucky Lake this week thought fall slipped in the door a few days early as a cool snap in the aftermath of a rainy day on Monday and gale force winds on Tuesday faded into nice sunny weather at midweek.
Fall fishing on Kentucky Lake officially begins Saturday morning when the season arrives on the calendar but fishing conditions have already been in the fall mode for quite some time.
After an unusual start this week’s fishing scene turned into beautiful cool mornings where a touch of fog faded into nice sunny days where light winds made it great for fishing. It appears some nice days are ahead too as moderate temperatures are in the forecast, a nice scenario to for the start of autumn angling.
Lake levels have been rising the last few days after areas to our south received heavy rainfall on Monday. By this weekend elevation will be about a foot higher that it was last weekend as the reservoir has been rising a few inches each day.
Projections for the weekend will see lake stages at 357.3 at Kentucky Dam while upstream at New Johnsonville elevation is expected to be in the 357.5 range. There is a lot of water flowing through the Tennessee River system after heavy rains drenched middle and portions of east Tennessee earlier this week.
Surface temperatures reflected the cooler conditions this week and fell into the 74 to 76 degree range, which is a few degrees cooler than last week at this time. Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir except for a few shoreline and island areas where winds or boat waves have stirred sediments at times.
Crappie have been hitting pretty good this week with some nice stringers taken in the 11 to 14 foot depth range at times but several fish appeared to favor deeper spots and occupied structure in the 14 to 20 foot depth range.
Activity has been best on the cloudy days as fish seemed sluggish a few mornings after the cool front when mile high skies delivered bluebird days with no wind, a scenario that can often produce finicky moods. Fish seemed to hit good in the early morning and later afternoon periods the last few days but slowed during the midday when a bright sun beamed down on placid waters.
Action improved whenever light breezes brought ripples but the combination of high pressure, stagnant winds, and bright sun had crappie reluctant to bite at times. With stable weather patterns now hanging around watch for an improvement the next few days as more fish move up toward shallow venues influenced by rising lake levels.
Baits of choice this week have been red/white combo colored jigs tipped with minnows but a few black/red and blue/chartreuse combos produced too. Adding some Berkley crappie nibbles has also enhanced strikes at times.
Crappie have been holding tight to cover during the bright days and favoring structure near the drop-off or deeper water. Anglers can expect some good fishing in the days ahead as this fall crappie fishing kicks it up a notch.
Bass action has been good this week for anglers working fragmented grassbeds on shallow ledges. Tossing shallow running crankbaits, fluke style jerk baits, spinnerbaits and some topwater have paid off. A lot of sloping flats have submerged grass on them and the fish have been relating to such areas even though the grass is not visible all the way to the surface.
Other patterns producing have been thicker grassbeds where weedless frogs and rats have worked. Tossing worms and spinnerbaits around the parameters of thick grass have worked too.
Gravel banks are always popular during the fall and some are producing right now. Casting shad colored crankbaits and swim baits along gravel when shad are visible has worked well too.
Some boats are still flogging the main lake ledges with big Texas rigged worms and crankbaits. As surface temps continue to cool the deeper fish should be moving up toward shallow sides of ledges and that already appears to be underway.
Some scattered reports from catfishermen continue to trickle in as they work the riverbank and bottom bounce nightcrawlers and chicken livers around the 25 to 40 foot depth range. Current should be present next week as TVA will be pulling water due to the recent surge in lake levels so that should stimulate the catfish bite.
Great fall weather and fine fishing opportunities await you as this transition of seasons takes place. It’s quiet on the lake too as not many boats are out there but those who do not wet a hook in this season are missing out.

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Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

This shy little turtle visited our campsite recently in Land Between The Lakes. There are several different species of turtles that can be seen near Kentucky Lake.