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Archived Fishing Report

Rising Lake Levels Enter the Picture; Heavy Rains Swell Streams

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 07/02/2015

Kentucky Lake’s elevation is on the rise in the aftermath of heavy thunderstorms both here and to our south that have delivered a tremendous amount of runoff in the last few days.
Anglers can expect lake levels to swell two feet or more by the Fourth of July holiday weekend as the reservoir was already above normal summer pool at midweek. Areas to our south and north have experienced a lot of rain and that will influence TVA’s ability to discharge high volumes of water in the next few days.
TVA’s forecast for the weekend---which is changing on a daily basis---projects an elevation of 360.7 at Kentucky Dam and upstream at New Johnsonville . Normal summer pool is 359. 
There is a possibility the reservoir could continue to rise for several days so stay tuned.
Surface temperatures this week actually fell back a few degrees from last week’s unruly heat and rested in the 83 to 85 degree range. Water color has been clear across the whole reservoir but may inherit some dingy water with the abundance of thunderstorms.
Summer crappie continue to bite well as some nice stringers were taken lately by anglers working those midrange depths of 13 to 16 feet. Stakebeds and brushpiles are still paying dividends as are the edges of main lake drop-offs.
Jigs tipped with minnows continue to produce but jigs tipped with Berkley power bait in the chartreuse color have worked too.
Catfish have been prowling around the midrange areas too as crappie fishermen are tying into several each day. Rising lake levels usually stimulate a lot of movement from catfish too as they blitz toward shallow areas where fresh water enters and washes new food sources their way.
Bass anglers will see an influx of fish in shallow bushes and island rims in the days ahead as the fish follow their forage and move up. Good schools of shad have been using the shallow grass, bushes and shoreline habitat lately and that will improve even more.
It should offer some great action for pitching and flipping techniques in the days ahead, not to mention spinnerbaits and topwater. Once the reservoir jumps above normal summer pool elevation the bass suddenly have an abundance of shallow cover and they’re eager to pursue the opportunity as shad and bluegill are abundant around the fresh vegetation.
Mayflies have been somewhat scarce lately but it’s high time a big hatch occurred. A big hatch traditionally occurs around the Fourth of July.
Ledge fishing is still working and will continue to produce throughout the summer. However, current has not been present the last few days as TVA has really cut back on discharge through Kentucky Dam. No doubt that will change dramatically in the days ahead as the agency will pull a lot of water at some point in an attempt to get the reservoir back to its normal curve.
A few bluegill were hanging around docks and beneath willows and various bushes awaiting mayfly hatches. Tossing a few crickets and worms beneath bobbers will produce some activity and fast fun.
All anglers are watching the lake levels as it sometimes alters the fishing scene.

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Photo by Cliff Grizzard

Karson takes advantage of the last few minutes of daylight by paddleboarding on Kentucky Lake.