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Archived Fishing Report

Bass, Bluegill, Catfish Action Good; Lake Levels Stable

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/21/2014

The fishing scene has held up pretty good since last week for bluegill, bass, and catfish anglers as some hefty stringers have been taken.
Temperatures rebounded after last week’s cool snap and are forecast to be slightly above average as the busy boating weekend approaches. High winds slapped anglers in the face again this week as gusty southwest breezes dictated routes a few days, taking a lot of open water areas out of the equation.
Lake levels are expected to rest around the normal summer pool mark of 359 at Kentucky Dam as the weekend approaches. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation is forecast to be in the 358.8 range after falling a few inches this week.
Surface temperatures are in the 73 to 75 degree range, which is up a few degrees from last week at this time. Water color has some stain to it in most bays and several shorelines are dingy where high winds whipped up shallow areas but the main lake is clearing and showing a good color for fishing.
Bass action has been good this week as a variety of patterns are producing. A lot of fish are still relating to shallow structure and those buck bushes, willows, and submerged grassbeds continue to hold good numbers. Spinnerbaits have worked well but so have pitching and flipping techniques where anglers are using Texas rigged craws, worms, and jig and pig combos.
Some buzzbaits and assorted topwater jerk baits have worked too as the shallow bite has held up.
At the same time ledge fishing is picking up as some of the winning tournament stringers are beginning to come from humps, drop-offs and sloping points. Anglers are really tossing the big crankbaits this week and already leaning on the summer pattern that will likely improve as higher surface temperatures enter the picture.
Several boats are still backing off the banks and working sloping points far from shore with Carolina rigged lizards and craws, big Texas rigged worms and Alabama rigs.
Bedding bluegill have continued biting with big numbers taken this week. Crickets have been the bait of choice but some anglers are using wax worms on tiny jigs. A few scattered shellcracker are hitting too but the bulk of the big stringers are coming from bull bream guarding the spawning craters in depths of 2 to 4 feet.
Some deeper beds out away from the shoreline in 4 to 6 foot depths are producing good too. Anglers are finding them by casting and dragging the bottom or using casting style slip bobbers that allow for easy depth adjustment.
The bluegill show no sign of letting up so water for another week or two of prime spawning action. Some big shellcracker are being caught but not in large quantities.
Catfishing has been improving this week as slow current in the main river has helped stimulate the bite around the Paris Landing bridge area and other venues along the main channel. Some good ones were taken his week along the rocks too.
Not all the fish are deep as some dandies continue to challenge the light tackle enthusiasts fishing bream beds.
Out on the river channel anglers are using such baits as chicken livers, shad, leeches and nightcrawlers.
Crappie showed slight improvement this week but catch rates are still a bit slow. The fish are scattered but should start moving toward structure in midrange depths of 10 to 14 feet soon.
Warmer surface temperatures should pull some scattered crappie back to deeper areas soon as the post spawn phase will fade away and early summer patterns take over.
Overall it has been a pretty good week for a variety of anglers here on Kentucky Lake but the wicked wind continues to deal the cards some days.

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Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

Replicas of the Nina and Pinta occasionally dock at Green Turtle Bay. We snapped a photo of the masts of the Pinta last summer.