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Archived Fishing Report

Touch of Fall Brings Welcome Reprieve for Anglers

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 08/12/2015

There was a touch of fall in the air a midweek and that triggered the fishing pox of Kentucky Lake anglers anxious to get autumn underway.
Anytime you get below average temps in the middle of August you better take advantage of it and that’s just what some anglers have done this week. Temps fell into the low 60’s at night and climbed to the mid 80’s during the day but a north wind helped lower the heat and humidity.
Fall is still officially a month or so away but the nip in the air for a few days reminded everyone the season is fast approaching. Most of us know more hot days are ahead but the short reprieve put a little pep in everyone’s step no doubt.
Lake levels this week continue their slow and gradual decline toward TVA’s fall and winter drawdown. Projections for the weekend show an elevation of 357.2 for Kentucky Dam while upstream in the New Johnsonville are levels will be slightly lower at 357.
The reservoir is down about 6 or 8 inches from last week at this time and normal for this period of summer. Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir.
Bass action has been fair this week but challenging at times as the north winds and high pressure system that delivered the cool front slowed the bite somewhat. High skies made for pretty days but didn’t stimulate much of a feeding spree for bass, crappie and catfish anglers.
A slight current has been present in the main Tennessee River channel itself, which helped some anglers focusing on main lake channel ledges. A few bigger fish were taken by anglers tossing big spoons, huge crankbaits, 9 to 10-inch Texas worms, jig and craw combos and some Alabama and Carolina rigs.
Some anglers continue to target shallow to midrange patterns with emphasis on visible grassbeds. Quite a bit of aquatic vegetation is showing along the main river shorelines and island rims. And the banks of some bigger bays where shallow flats are typical also has scattered mats of grass.
Finding the baitfish and grass combination should put anglers in touch with some shallow bass even during the dog days of summer. Add a little wind or current to the equation and that should help even more.
Tossing weedless topwater has produced around the vegetation at times as has various jerk baits. Spinnerbaits and Texas rigged worms have worked too. Some boaters are backing off and tossing Rattle Trap style baits around the parameters of grass mats.
Night fishing has produced for a few boaters as well. Some like to fish under the cover of darkness and tossing a spinnerbait or jig along sloping gravel points or off ledges near the main channel can produce and you also beat the heat.
Crappie have been fair with a few fish hanging around stakebeds and brushpiles in the 12 to 14 foot depth range. Some fish have also been taken on the deep sides of main lake ledges in 17 to 22 feet but scattered.
It’s not unusual for crappie to be sluggish this time of year once surface temperatures climb into the upper 80’s. Sometimes action can be decent for a few hours each morning and fall off a midday once a bright sun rises high as the fish are light sensitive.
That’s why cloud cover works in favor of mid-summer crappie fishermen and also why the bite is best in the early morning and late afternoon hours. The influence on the bass bite is similar.
A few catfish have been taken on days when current was present in the main channel. Some anglers are working the down current sides of the bridge piers near Paris Landing and finding decent action. Other boats are working the main channel bank itself and slowly drifting with the wind or current while bottom bumping nightcrawlers.
Thanks to a couple of cool mornings it has been a pretty nice week for Kentucky Lake anglers who got their wish for an early fall, even if it only lasted a few days.

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Rocky Shores
Photo by John Mahler

Although the terrain in this part of the country is typically flat, you'll still find an occasional rocky shoreline like this one on Kentucky Lake.