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Archived Fishing Report

Cloud Cover/Cooler Conditions Helping Anglers

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 09/30/2015

Kentucky Lake’s fall fishing scene seemed to benefit this week from several cooler days accompanied by cloud cover in the aftermath of some much needed rain that arrived early Tuesday morning. Rain throughout the region was long overdue.
    
North winds have kept things cool the last few days, commanding a jacket for anglers. Temperatures are expected to remain quite cool as the weekend approaches with highs forecast to be in the low to mid 60’s. More rain is also a possibility in the wake the cool snap now in progress.
    
The fall weather should last into early next week when south winds return and bring a warming trend to the region. By next week daily highs are expected to return to the low to mid 70’s.
    
Surface temperatures were in the 75 to 77 degree range at midweek and will likely fall another degree or two, if not more, by this weekend. That’s down slightly from last week at this time.
   
Water color remains quite clear as not enough rain has entered a thirsty watershed to produce much runoff.
    
Lake levels are projected to be 355 this weekend at Kentucky Dam, which is down slightly from last week at this time and resting at the low ebb of winter pool. Upstream at New Johnsonville lake stages will be slightly lower with readings in the 354.8 range.
    
Crappie activity showed some improvement during cloudy days but stubborn north winds was a factor challenging fishermen who had hoped to work open water flats and humps or ledges. Most of the fish are still relating to main lake areas, choosing to stage there in favor of secondary bays.
    
A few fish have been taken in bays but numbers there have been down compared to main lake flats and drop-offs. Cooler surface temps should see more fish transition to shallow areas this week and move up into bays in pursuit of shad schools.
    
The best stringers of fish have come from stakebeds and brushpiles in 8 to 12 foot depths, although some of the bigger fish were still lingering out on main river channels, deeper drop-offs and main lake humps. Anglers continue to struggle to catch big numbers of keeper size fish, although the bite is improving.
    
I found a few good size fish scattered in stakebeds around the 6 to 8 foot range a few mornings. The bite was best when a light ripple and cloudy skies teamed up.
    
Last week’s Crappie Masters two-day tournament out of Paris Landing State Park had some nice stringers taken as some hefty weights for seven fish limits were brought in but the overall field reported pretty tough fishing.
    
Some boats using spider rig presentations boated good numbers a few days as did some single pole vertical style fishermen working manmade structure.
    
Jigs tipped with either live minnows or Berkley power bait in chartreuse, white or red with glitter have produced this week.
   
There are a lot of smaller fishing being caught that are short of the 10-inch minimum length limit. Although anglers would like to see more big fish in their daily creel it appears a couple of pretty good year classes of fish are coming on. That may not soothe today’s appetite but it does bode well for next year.
    
Some nice bass were taken this week by anglers targeting grass beds near deeper water where ditches or cuts along the parameter were holding fish.
    
Several dandies were caught by anglers tossing topwater jerk baits and some suspended jerk baits and fluke style lures. Texas rigged worms and spinnerbaits have worked too as have chrome/blue Rattle Traps and Strike King’s Red Eye shad style baits.
    
Some boats are banging away at main lake ledges with big crankbaits and jig and craw combos while rotating their presentation with swim baits.
    
Not many fish have moved up on gravel banks yet, which is normally productive in the early fall pattern on Kentucky Lake.
    
Now that surface temperatures are creeping back into the low 70’s watch for bass and crappie to move up toward more shallow venues and take on a more aggressive attitude. For some bass fishermen the bite has been quite good already while crappie anglers are hoping for improvement in shallow structure.
    
With lower lake levels across the reservoir boaters are urged to pay close attention to channel markers and resist temptation to take those shortcuts across open water sandbars and main lake flats. Boaters could get away with that a few weeks ago but not so anymore!

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Lunch Time!
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

Splash! This bald eagle is diving for a tasty fish. Bald eagles use their exceptional eye sight to spot their prey up to a mile away!