Summer Bass/Crappie Bite Continues; Lake Levels Fall as Temps Rise
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/17/2015
Surface temperatures climbed to their highest reading of the year on Wednesday after an extended spell of hot and humid weather lingered. Readings at midweek were in the 86-88 degree range but despite the heat Kentucky Lake anglers are landing some pretty nice stringers of bass and crappie. And, the catfishing and bluegill are hitting too. Water color is quite clear across the Big Sandy with a slight stain present in the main Tennessee River channel area. Lake levels fell slightly this week and will be a few inches below normal summer pool as the weekend approaches. TVA projects a reading of 358.5 this weekend at Kentucky Dam and upstream at New Johnsonville. Summer crappie----actually the summer season officially begins Sunday and coincides with Father’s Day---have been hitting pretty good for anglers tipping jig with minnows. Popular depth ranges have been 12 to 15 feet, although some fish have been taken deeper. Most anglers overlook June crappie but the norm is for stable weather and lake levels, a combination that teams up to provide predictable patterns that hold form from week to week. And, you can rise and shine early and beat the heat before the mid-afternoon mercury climbs too high. Deeper stakebeds and brushpiles have been giving up some nice fish this week and that should continue for a few more weeks. It sure beats the cold rain and gale winds endured by most anglers earlier this spring. Some boats are trolling crankbaits and finding crappie as are a few anglers working bottom bumping rigs on main lake drop-offs. Deep drop-offs continue to produce for bass fishermen targeting those main lake ledges with big Texas rigged worms, deep diving crankbaits, swim baits, Carlolina rigs and jig and craw combos or similar style lures. Yet ledge fishing is sometimes a hit or miss scenario. Not every drop-off is loaded. Talk to ten boats and odds are two or three of them found a productive ledge during the day while the others who may be using the same lures or presentations were not so lucky. A slight current has been present most days and that seems to stimulate baitfish activity, a scenario that works in favor of ledge fishermen. Without current the stagnant water just doesn’t appeal to sluggish bass that may lay lethargic throughout most of the day. Several smaller fish are still relating to visible grassbeds as schools of pin minnows and bigger shad lure schools of bass to the aquatic hideouts. Find a little wind blowing in on some grass and you’ll encounter some activity. Fluke style floating worms and some weedless frogs are producing as are Texas rigged worms, spinnerbaits and assorted jerk baits. Some boat docks are holding bass too as the fish seek shade but relate to structure holding schools of pin minnows. Mayfly hatches continue to show up in a few bays and along main river islands. A few bluegill and bass are feasting on the abundance of flies in the early morning and late afternoon. Some late bedding bluegill were taken earlier this week as well off deeper beds in the 5 to 7 foot range. Catfish are still hitting nightcrawlers and chicken livers as a few were taken this week around the Paris Landing area by boaters keying in on bridge piers and the edge of the main river channel when current was present. Some decent stringers were taken by bank fishermen working the discharge at Springville pumphouse too. While the heat has been a factor for fishermen, most days have a light breeze and when cloud cover is present it’s not too bad out there. When the fish are biting you can tolerate rising temps!
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