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Archived Fishing Report

Catfish on the Prowl; Bluegill/Bass Action Good

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/14/2015

Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene chalked up another good week as anglers were the beneficiary of good weather, light winds and stable lake levels.
Surface temperatures this week were in the 70 to 74 degree range. Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir.
Stable lake levels have stayed around all week. Projections for the weekend indicate the reservoir will stay around the summer pool elevation of 359 at Kentucky Dam. Slightly lower elevation of 358.8 is in the forecast upriver in the New Johnsonville area.
This is the second consecutive week of normal summer pool elevation. That has also coincided with stable weather. It appears rain chances increase as the weekend approaches but it shouldn’t dampen the spirits of anglers too bad as mild temps are in the forecast.
May continues to live up to its reputation as a mellow month. Midweek had a couple of cool mornings with northeast winds that pestered anglers a bit but the overall fishing scene has been nice to a variety of fishermen.
Catfish action really improved this week with more fish taken on the rocky bluffs as spawning phases are underway. Nice stringers have been taken around rip-rap levees and steep rock banks. Nightcrawlers have been the bait of choice with some anglers using chicken livers and assorted commercial catfish baits.
Bluegill and shellcracker action has been good as the fish continue bedding and the bite is on. Hefty coolers full of these popular panfish have been taken this week in 4 to 7 foot depths. A few fish were fanning beds in 2 to 4 foot depths around shallow weeds and bushes but a lot of the fish backed off the banks a bit into deeper water since last week.
Spawning phases will continue for another two weeks or more with another full moon slated for early June. Crickets have been the most productive bait but wax worms and assorted larva imitations have worked too. Don’t let this great panfishing phase pass you by!
Bass action has been pretty good as well with some of the bigger stringers coming from main lake ledges. Anglers tossing big swim baits have done well. Also working on the ledges have been jig and craw combos, Carolina rigged lizards, big crankbaits and Texas rigged worms.
The shallow bite is still holding up for several anglers. Decent numbers were taken this week by fishermen tossing floating fluke style worms and topwater around shallow buck bushes and weed beds. More grass is beginning to reach the surface in shallow areas and that is appealing to fish chasing schools of fry.
Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Texas rigged worms and lizards have produced around the various aquatic plants that continue to thrive and provide good cover and shade for the shallow fish. The shallow bite should continue to thrive with more grass entering the picture.
Watch for island rims to hold more bass in the days ahead too. Schools of fry will begin congregating around the shallow weed beds, blowdowns and willows as the tiny baitfish mature. 
Crappie action has been fair with a few boats trolling crankbaits and either slow trolling spider rigs or long lining out over main lake flats and ledges. Depths of 12 to 14 feet are giving up a few scattered fish.
The post-spawn phases still has crappie scattered and suspended. Not a lot of fish have been taken by vertical presentations of jigs and minnows around stakebeds or brushpiles lately but that will improve in the weeks ahead as the crappie slowly return to a structure oriented pattern. The overall crappie picture will improve by the latter part of May if not sooner and June should offer some great opportunity.
The overall fishing scene has been a good one for bass, bluegill, shellcracker and catfish anglers this week. It should continue to hold up thanks to pleasant conditions and stability. 
Seems there’s a new weatherman on duty. The one in charge back during March and April apparently wasn’t a fishermen!

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Now That You're 'Hooked' on Fishing... Come See Us!

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.

Colorful Bridge
Photo by Shane Dunnaway

In the back of Hematite Lake in LBL are a series of boardwalks and bridges. In autumn, spectacular colors of foliage are scattered throughout, as seen here on this "colorful" bridge.