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Archived Fishing Report

Mixed Weather Patterns Confront Anglers; Bass/Crappie Action Rebounds

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/18/2012

A mixture of weather patterns have dominated the fishing scene this week across Kentucky Lake as anglers had a few nice days sandwiched in-between some windy cool mornings. Normally mid-October weather patterns are quite stable with cool starts and warm finishes as to the daily routine but a dose of March madness slipped in with some gale force winds that upset the apple cart a few days.
Despite some cool snaps that whipped up the main lake with whitecaps a few days the overall fishing scene has been a pretty good one for both bass and crappie anglers. Fall colors continue to change and beautiful shorelines are parading colors as the hills are coming alive with yellows, reds, and oranges that provide a nice backdrop to this Autumn angling gig.
Since last week lake levels and surface temps have changed slightly but some recent heavy thunderstorms drenched the area and provided significant runoff, erasing a few inches of declining lake stages from late last week.
As the weekend approaches lake levels will be in the 356.2 range at Kentucky Dam, which is up several inches from last weekend when TVA dropped the reservoir down to 355.9. Upstream at New Johnsonville projections indicate elevation will be in the 356.1 range.
Surface temperatures said goodbye to the 70’s last week and have slept in the 62 to 64 degree range most of this week. At midweek the daytime air temperatures climbed near 80 degrees but slightly cooler conditions are in the forecast the rest of the week but expected to be near normal most days.
Crappie continue to hit good this week and have shown signs of more movement toward the 8 to 12 depths. A few fish were caught in the 7 to 9 foot range as well and more fish were making a transition from the main lake into some of the larger bays, a likely result of slightly cooler surface temperatures that have given shad a bigger comfort zone in these areas this week.
While a few mornings saw crappie action start off sluggish when high skies and touches of west to northwest winds were switching, fish seemed to improve later in the day. It’s not unusual for fish to be finicky in the aftermath of a cool snap when high barometric pressure robs the sky of clouds but the fish slowly rebound once weather settles and winds work their way back from stubborn easterly directions to southerly flows.
Some mornings this week I found fish quite reluctant to bite as strikes were extremely light from moody fish that were not in a feeding mode. After a few hours of slower paced presentations things gradually worked out of the sluggish spell but it took a lot more stops to accumulate decent numbers.
Tipping jigs with either minnows or Berkley Power Bait such as crappie nibble or gulp seemed to entice reluctant crappie into biting better. It’s been a trial and error approach at times as to which colors are working best with various shades of chartreuse working well.
Some red/white combos have also appealed as have blue/chartreuse and some red/white/blue hair jigs and even pink and chartreuse at times.
A variety of patterns have been working ranging from some boats shooting the docks, a technique popular on some lakes where anglers use light action rods to thrust jigs up under low hanging boat houses where both shade and structure hold crappie this time of year, to the popular vertical presentations over manmade fish attractors.
There have been a few boat slow trolling crankbaits and others spider-rigging while moving slowly with the multi-pole presentations over midrange depths and finding fish too.
Some fish continue to come from deeper main lake ledges where brushpiles located  drop-offs were attracting a few but it appears more fish moved up to shallow venues within the last week or so.
Bass patterns are holding on to gravel banks, submerged grass beds, and some ledge fishing again this week. Nothing drastic has changed for bass fishermen the last few weeks as all three of these patterns have worked well with an occasional report of some shallow fish hitting spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits around crappie beds, shallow stumps and some roadbeds and boat houses.
There are still some schooling fish on shallow flats as throughout the day they make a blitz in pursuit of shad schools that meander over the deeper areas but get pushed shallow by the feeding frenzies. Some fish have taken topwater jerk baits when schooling but most are being caught by anglers tossing Rattle Trap style lures in shad colored variations.
Hitting the gravel points and sloping sandbars with deep water close by has been paying dividends as have some roadbeds and rip-rap areas.
Grass beds are still abundant and holding bass as anglers work spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms, and some weedless topwater at times. Some grass is beginning to break up and floating off in fragments which is the result of cooler surface temperatures but there are still plenty of thick grass areas holding fish in the parameters.
Several weeks of great fall fishing remain on Kentucky Lake as this underrated and overlooked season is worthy of consideration.

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Photo by Melodie Cunningham

When exploring the Elk and Bison Prairie in The Land Between The Lakes, it's always exciting to catch a glimpse of a bull like this one!