Cooler Surface Temps Greet Anglers; Bass/Crappie Rebound
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/11/2012
Kentucky Lake’s fall fishing scene said goodbye to a drastic cold front last weekend that left about as quick as it came. In its aftermath have been cooler surface temperatures that stimulated enthusiasm levels for crappie and bass anglers. It has been another good week for crappie fishermen who continue to rack up some nice stringers from midrange depths. After last weekend’s cold northwest winds faded into light southern breezes the fish rebounded quickly and resumed biting in that 9 to 14 foot zone where structure such as brushpiles and stakebeds were appealing. While a few fish were taken by boaters working main lake ledges in depths of 15 to 20 feet the lion’s share of consistent crappie catches have come from midrange depths lately, which is pretty much the norm for autumn angling. Surface temps this week cooled down into the 64 to 66 degree range. By this weekend’s warm up look for temps to climb back into the upper 60’s. Water color remains clear. Lake levels were changing slightly but hovered around the 362.2 range at midweek at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation was 362.1. A slow and gradual fall will likely occur the next week or so barring any heavy rains as TVA is pretty much on schedule for its winter drawdown. Crappie should continue to move up toward shallow areas this week in response to the cooler surface temps that likely pulled more shad to bays and flats. Not many crappie have been taken in extremely shallow water lately, choosing instead to linger near the mouth of bays or on big flats and ledges in the main lake areas. I found good numbers of fish this week occupying stakebeds and brush near drop-offs. The 10 to 13 foot zone was quite productive for me but a few fish were taken deeper at times with some shallow beds paying dividends on cloudy days and later afternoons when lowlight conditions seemed to help. Jigs tipped with minnows have worked well as have jigs tipped with various colored Berkley crappie nibbles. Popular color combinations have been red/white, blue/chartreuse, black/chartreuse and some brown/red at times. Several days have seen some three-digit catches while we culled down to 50 range of keeper sized crappie. While a lot of crappie are near the 10-inch minimum length limit there are plenty of keepers out there with an occasional slab testing the tackle. Expect to encounter a lot of yellow bass and bluegill around the crappie beds this time of year as these feisty rascals are competitive and sprint toward your bait with a vengeance. Sometimes you have to catch a few and get them out of the way before you can get the jig down around the structure where the crappie are holding tight. The overall crappie picture is good so don’t let this autumn angling pass you by. It is beautiful on the lake these days as the hardwoods are changing on a daily basis and a parade of colors await you. Bass patterns continue to favor submerged grassbeds out on the main lake where anglers are tossing spinnerbaits, Rattle Trap style lures, and some Texas rigged worms and assorted jerk baits. There are some fish in the thick grass mats too and working topwater and weedless lures around visible grass has worked well. Some decent numbers of bass have been taken in the submerged grass as anglers find fragments of it on sloping sandbars near drop-offs. A few boats are working main lake ledges with Texas rigged worms, Caroline rigs and bit deep diving crankbaits and still finding fish as though it were summer. However, bass are schooling at times once they push schools of shad over the shallow sides of ledges and having a topwater bait handy is a good idea, followed by some spoons and suspending jerk baits once the fish go down. Fall is always known for gravel bank fishing and tossing shad colored crankbaits around big rock points, roadbeds, and pea gravel shorelines has been productive. Finding baitfish is the key and there have been some surface feeding frenzies at times in the early morning and late afternoon periods or when some cloudy, rainy days enter the picture. Seems Kentucky Lake’s fall bass fishing always has two or three different patterns working at the same time. Meanwhile, nice stable weather is in the forecast so this fall fishing gig is alive and well.
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