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Archived Fishing Report

Stability Returns to Fishing Scene

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/06/2015

After an unruly spring, stability has returned to the Kentucky Lake fishing scene.
Anglers enjoyed a great week of warm weather that was accompanied by light winds and relatively stable lake levels. There haven’t been many weeks these previous two months when that claim could be made.
Lake levels were falling slightly early in the week but pretty much stabilized Wednesday and the reservoir is resting at normal summer pool elevation of 359 at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville elevation was in the 358.8 range.
Water conditions are quite clear across most of the lake this week as no rain has fallen. Temperatures are expected to remain in the low to mid 80’s for several more days. 
Surface temperatures have warmed to the 74 to 76 degree range during the day and falling back two or three degrees at night. Those readings are up several degrees from last week at this time.
The overall fishing scene has really improved for bluegill and shellcracker anglers this week as these popular panfish entered active spawning phases. These two species responded quickly to the rapid warm up that began late last week.
The warm weather also coincided with a full moon earlier this week and that seemed to trigger spawning phases as the bite has really been good. Hefty stringers have been taken the last few days in 2 to 5 feet of water with a few fish bedding out on shallow flats away from shore in 5 to 7 foot depths.
Activity should hold up throughout May. The next full moon occurs June 2nd and that will likely see another surge in spawning phases. Until then, anglers should still experience good fishing although there might be a bit of a lull at mid-month to some degree.
Crappie have been scattered and finicky, a behavioral pattern that is not unusual in post-spawn time for a week or two. The fish are not exactly relating to structure at this phase but will slowly return to cover by mid to late May and the bite will improve all the way through June.
Some fish were taken by anglers using long-line techniques and spider rigging presentations this week. Vertical presentations over manmade stakebeds have been fair at best.
A few fish were found this week in 13 to 15 foot depths where stakebeds and some brushpiles were giving up a few fish. And, a few boats found some in 18 to 20 foot depths but numbers were low.
Once crappie get over the stress of spawning, which usually takes a few weeks, action will improve in midrange depths. The late May and June bite is normally good and overlooked by most fishermen.
Bass action continues to hold up well. A lot of boats are backing off the banks and banging away at main lake ledges with big deep diving crank baits, jig and craw combos, Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged lizards and some Alabama rigs.
Seems several fishermen are already in the summer patterns as this week’s warm weather, coupled with lower lake levels, has pulled some fish back out of shallow shoreline habitat since last week.
Not all anglers are fishing ledges as some are still hammering away at shallow grassbeds and buck bushes in the backs of bays and in shallow pockets just off the main lake. Spinnerbaits, shallow jerk baits, Texas rigged worms and lizards and various topwater presentations continue to pay dividends at times.
Catfish action improved this week as a lot of fish have entered shallow spawning territory. Several nice ones were taken by bluegill fishermen this week as they prowled the shallow beds feeding off bluegill eggs and other baitfish doing the same thing.
Rocky banks will continue to attract spawning catfish this week. Rip-rap areas and rocky bluffs will be appealing as the fish search out those crevices to deposit eggs in the days ahead.
It has been a good week to be on the lake. And, it appears more nice weather is ahead for anglers as the mellow month of May has arrived.

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If you've dug this deep in our Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley fishing reports, you are probably just itching to come down and visit the South's biggest lakes.  Get started by finding that perfect place to stay!  Find a Kentucky Lake cabin or a Lake Barkley campground, a full-service resort or a marina.  Heck, there are even dozens of hotels off the water to choose from! 

Don't have a boat?  No worries!  Bank fishing is always an option for panfish. But if you're heart is set on largemouth or smallmouth, you can rent a fishing boat at many of our local resorts!

The perfect place to start looking for a place to stay at Kentucky or Barkley Lakes?  Right here on our main lodging page.

Photo by John Mahler

If you've never visited The Land Between The Lakes in the fall, you are missing a real treat. Whether you are hiking, fishing, boating or just sight-seeing, fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit the lakes.