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Archived Fishing Report

Fishing Scene Heats Up As Spring Knocks On Door

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 03/16/2013

Its time to say goodbye to winter fishing weather and that will officially take place next Wednesday once the seasons change. 
    
Both bass and crappie anglers are ready for spring to take over and hold on. The Kentucky Lake fishing scene had a couple days of spring weather in the aftermath of several cold, dreary days last week but it came with baggage in the form of mean March winds.
    
Surface temperatures had been sleeping in the 46 to 48 degree range last week but began climbing to the 50-degree threshold on Saturday for the first time this year. Some stubborn northwest wind and cool nights have held a grip but a warming trend now underway should see surface temps hold around the 50-degree mark until another warm spell arrives.
    
Last year at this time anglers were the beneficiaries of some unusually warm weather that had things ahead of schedule as to spring fishing patterns. Crappie and bass anglers were talking about early spawns last year at this time but both water temperatures and lake levels are pretty much on schedule this time around.
     
Lake levels this week have been falling slowly and are hovering close to the normal low ebb of winter pool. Projections from TVA indicate an elevation of 354.4 at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville lake levels will be in the 355.1 range.
    
Water color is in good shape for fishing across the reservoir. A slight stain was present in some areas due to high winds whipping up shorelines but overall things look good.
    
Crappie action has improved some with the success rate lately somewhat dependent on the wind. March is always an iffy month for open water crappie fishing as wind dictates the rules of engagement. On days when winds have been tolerable anglers are catching decent stringers from the deeper main lake areas of 18 to 25 feet.
    S
ome fish moved up the last few days and showed signs of a transition into midrange depths as stakebeds and brushpiles in the 9 to 12 foot depth range were beginning to produce a few scattered fish.
    
A lot of fish are suspended in deep water and hanging out in the deeper zones awaiting a warm-up. Several boats were scoring as they slow trolled jigs and live minnows over the main channel and deeper sloughs of Big Sandy.
    
Popular techniques have been spider rigging, drifting, pulling and trolling long line presentations of Road Runner style jigs or even tube skirted jigs. Others are using live minnows and slowly maneuvering along the deeper sides of drop-offs and finding fish on structure.
    
Increased success was also reported in West Sandy this week too as boaters were dodging the wind around the Britton Ford sector.
    
Expect a lot of movement from fish next week as they respond to warmer surface temperatures and move up toward flats and into big bays in their prespawn phases. Action had been slow in midrange depths but watch for that to improve soon.
    
Once surface temperatures reach the mid 50s and some stability in weather patterns takes over things will happen quickly in crappie world.
    
Big stingers of bass continue to come in as anglers are catching some dandies in a variety of depths. Those deeper schools of bass have really been holding up for anglers who have learned their whereabouts thanks to some updated sonar technology.
    
Finding the suspended schools of shad near deeper creek channels far out from shore has been the ticket for bass fishermen tossing the Alabama rigs and suspending jerk baits. Some very big fish have been taken the last two weeks.
    
With warmer weather now entering the picture watch for more big fish to move up toward those gravel points and big chunk rock shorelines. Tossing shad and crawfish colored crankbaits will be popular choices.
    
The colder surface temperatures have been keeping a lot of the bigger bass out deeper as they are hot on the path of schools of baitfish. Once temps warm baitfish will transition toward those shallow mud flats and gravel bars.
    
March is holding up to its reputation as being one of the best months of the year to catch big bass here on Kentucky Lake. Those big females are putting on the feedbag as prespawn approaches.

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Woodpecker
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This pileated woodpecker is one of the more common woodpecker species in North America. It is also one of the largest forest birds in the region.