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Archived Fishing Report

Anglers Brace for Weekend Cold Front

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/03/2012

Kentucky Lake’s fall fishing scene has enjoyed a few days of nice weather this week after a rainy start on Monday and while fishing has been quite good for bass and crappie, anglers are bracing for a drastic weather change.
Fall has a reputation for pleasant, stable weather but it appears a cold front will descend this weekend, bringing a dramatic change in temperatures pushed our way by strong north winds on Saturday. The unusual cold front may bring a temporary hiatus to the nice fall fishing anglers have been enjoying for quite some time but watch for a quick rebound by early next week.
Once this weekend’s weather change loses its grip, watch for a high pressure to dominate with high skies for a day or so until south winds return, bringing moderate temps back into the picture.  In the aftermath of the cold front will be drastically cooler surface temperatures that should see increased activity for shallow areas.
Surface temperatures this week had already begun to cool and dropped back into the upper 60’s at midweek. Most mornings the surface temps have been starting off around 67 and warming to 72 at midday. By next week look for surface temps to fall into the lower 60’s and camp there for quite some time.
Water color has remained clear despite some rain earlier in the week. Lake levels had been falling slowly since last week and had a minor fluctuation for a day or two but TVA projects a reading of 356.3 at Kentucky Dam this weekend. Upstream at New Johnsonville readings are expected to be 356.2.
Lake levels are down about a foot from a week to ten days ago but pretty much on schedule at this time for TVA’s curve for winter drawdown.
Crappie fishing has held up well this week with some hefty catches coming in from anglers working midrange depths with some movement toward the 7 to 9 foot depths, especially on cloudy days. In the Paris Landing area most of the fish are relating to stakebeds and brushpiles in the 10 to 14 foot zones but have been moving up toward shallows when lake levels are stable or rising.
Last weekend during falling lake levels some good numbers of crappie were caught on the deeper sides of drop-offs in depths of 16 to 18 feet. Not all the crappie have left deeper venues but anglers can expect increased numbers to migrate toward more shallow structure by next week as fish take on a more aggressive attitude in pursuit of shad that are moving up.
Popular bait choices have been jigs in the red/white, red/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse, and some orange/white combos just to name a few. Tipping unpainted leadheads with minnows has worked well at times, as has tipping jigs with Berkley crappie nibbles.
Some days the fish have been finicky with very light strikes but the overall crappie picture has been quite good with some bigger fish beginning to show up. It’s not unusual to catch a lot of fish this time of year that are in the 10-inch range so expect to measure a few. However, it’s good to see the numbers out there as several year classes are well represented.
Bottom line is the fall crappie fishery is alive and well. You can catch some big numbers of fish right now and cull out plenty that qualify for the cooler.
Mixed in with the crappie have been aggressive yellow bass that will test your tackle and patience at times. These feisty rascals always seem to have an appetite and attitude, not to mention being annoying. And, a few good catfish are lingering around those crappie beds too.
Also putting on a feeding spree have been bluegill that are competing for those crappie jigs, live minnows, and Berkley crappie nibbles. Those machine gun strikes are courtesy of some hungry bluegill that have been attacking jigs and minnows with a vengeance.
The yellow bass and bluegill are indeed masters of deception when it comes to stealing your bait this time of year but they will sure put a bow in your rod as they dart about.
Catfish action has been fair this week and a few boats continue to work the edge of the main river channel, drifting slowly with the current. There have been some nice ones taken around the submerged feeder creeks that empty into the river itself.
Bass fishing is still getting good grades from anglers working both aquatic grass patterns and some gravel banks or points. Tossing spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits, and some fluke style jerk baits over submerged grassbeds has continued to produce.
Many of the long shallow sandbars have patches of grass that are holding fish. While the grass is not visible on top, it is just below the surface in many areas.
Some boats continue to toss weedless lures around thick, matted grass and some fish are still holding in that habitat, especially if it is near deeper water. At the same time the grass patterns are working a few anglers are favoring gravel points and banks where shad activity has attracted some schooling fish.
Some shallow gravel banks and sloping points are attracting schooling bass this time of year and some surface activity has been underway at times. One key to finding the schooling fish has been to observe the gull activity as they will lead you to the baitfish.
Main lake ledge fishing is not off the radar screen just yet. Casting crankbaits and jig and pig combos is still appealing to some fish that are staying out away from shorelines and relating to drop-offs. At various times during the day the fish are pushing shad out over the shallow sides of ledges where some surface activity has taken place.
With falling surface temperatures next week there should be some surface opportunities taking place as bass will be more aggressive once the front passes through and stable weather returns. Roadbeds and big rocky banks should be appealing to crankbait fishermen next week.
The approaching cold front should be a minor bump in the road for fall fishing. After a few days of heavy coats watch for shirt sleeve weather to return soon. Trees are fading to beautiful colors on a daily basis so once the cold front passes make plans to get back out on the lake.

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Hematite Leaves
Photo by Shane Dunnaway

Those who are familiar with Hematite Lake trail will know where this photo was taken. Beautiful autumn leaves attempt to cover the rocks alongside the path around Hematite Lake.