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Archived Fishing Report

Stability Returns to Kentucky Lake's Fishing Scene

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/30/2013

Stable lake levels and nice weather coincided this week for anglers at Kentucky Lake and that’s been rare this spring. The Memorial holiday was a good one for recreational boaters, fishermen, campers and practically all lakers as the kickoff to summer got started on the right foot.
Up until this week anglers have encountered a new fishing scene each week as changing lake levels and weird weather patterns kept fishermen off balance. Not so this week as lake stages have stayed around summer pool since last week and it appears things will stay normal for quite a spell.
Surface temperatures warmed up this week courtesy of some southern breezes and have been resting in the 74 to 78 degree range. Water color is relatively clear throughout the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy areas with a slight stain over on the Tennessee River portion.
Lake levels will be 359.1 this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation is projected to be in the 358.8 range with only minor fluctuation in the forecast. Barring any heavy thunderstorms across the region Kentucky Lake should remain at normal summer pool for several weeks.
The overall fishing scene had held up well this week with significant improvement in the crappie department as the fish are in their typical late spring pattern, occupying midrange structure. Popular depths have been 10 to 14 feet as the fish stage out on secondary structure such as brushpiles and manmade stakebeds.
Good stringers were taken this week by anglers vertical fishing jigs tipped with Berkley Power Bait and live minnows around deeper stakebeds and brushpiles. Popular colors range from purple and clear sparkle to red/chartreuse sparkle and black/chartreuse just to name a few.
Now that spawning is over and lake levels have settled down watch for some good crappie action to continue in the weeks ahead. June is a month often overlooked by crappie fishermen but it’s quite productive thanks to stable conditions across the reservoir.
Bluegill and shellcracker were still hitting this week but it appeared the fish were passed their peak bedding activity as most veteran bream fishermen were having to make more stops as the big males were somewhat scattered.
There’s still some good action left for bluegill anglers but expect to encounter more females and smaller fish to enter the picture once prime bedding time passes.
Bass fishermen continue to ride the wave of activity as a lot of fish were taken this week by both shallow and deep water anglers. There’s still a lot of fish relating to shorelines where some submerged grass on the outside rim is attracting fish.
A few river islands with blowdown trees and logs that have washed up due to the erosion of this spring’s high water levels are holding some fish too. Working topwater jerk baits and pitching or flipping Texas rigged craws and worms have worked well in the shallow, visible cover this week.
A few fish were relating to boat docks as the bright sunny days pushed fish to cover and shade at times.
An alternate pattern of deep water has emerged this week too at the same time shallow water fishermen were scoring some decent catches.
A lot of fish are beginning to back off the banks and residing on secondary ledges where big deep diving crankbaits, Alabama rigs, Carolina rigged craws, and big Texas rigged worms are the ticket.
The early summer pattern of fishing ledges is alive and well and most of the bigger tournament stringers will start coming from the deeper venues as warmer surface temperatures send the post-spawn fish to drop-offs and irregular humps.
Some boats were tossing swim baits along the deep ledges in attempts to find some bigger schooling fish. There hasn’t been much current the last few days but some generation usually occurs up around midday and that can enhance the ledge bite.
Some submerged milfoil grass is present south toward the New Johnsonville area and some anglers were tossing big spinner baits and ripping Rattle Trap style lures through the scattered patches to find fish.
Catfishermen were out in force lately as the fish were hitting good near rocky banks. Several bank fishermen were landing nice ones as the fish came into spawning territory.
Watch for catfish to slowly back out away from shoreline rocks and cover in favor of midrange depths for the next couple of weeks. The fish will stage in midrange depths until hot weather sends them toward the main river channel. Until then, there should be some good ones caught by crappie anglers and those jug fishermen drifting their multiple presentations over flats where the catfish are roaming.
Good weather and stable lake levels should continue to work in favor of fishermen this next week. Things are on track for good early summer fishing scene for bass and crappie anglers.

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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.