Cooler Surface Temps Stimulate Shallow Bite; Cool Snap Enters Forecast
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/14/2015
It has been beautiful out there this week. A few foggy mornings faded away to pleasant afternoons as Kentucky Lake’s fall fishing scene changes daily as to the parade of colors. Scaly barks are screaming yellow and black gums are fading fast to a dark red. The hillsides mirror their changing image when placid waters allows. Geese are honking overhead with pleasure. Fall fishing has been pretty good this week for crappie anglers who were beneficiaries of light winds that allowed boaters to fish anywhere they desired. Stalking the open water areas is always at the mercy of old man wind but he’s been kind lately. That may change as the weekend approaches with the weatherman forecasting northwest winds and another annoying cold front. Fall’s first frost could occur on Sunday or Monday morning as temps are expected to dip. It appears anglers will have to return to the coat closet for a day or two, although the cold nights ahead will no doubt influence surface temperatures to fall into the low 60’s. Surface temperatures the last few days have started the mornings out around 66 to 67 degrees and climbed to 71 at midday. Water color remains quite clear across most of the reservoir. Lake levels this week had a minor change and are expected to return to the 354.9 range at Kentucky Dam. Upstream in the New Johnsonville area the elevation is forecast to be in the 355 range this weekend. Some larger crappie have moved up this week and occupied stakebeds and brushpiles in the 6 to 8 foot depth range. Structure in the 9 to 12 foot range is still the most productive, however, in the Paris Landing area while the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy area were seeing an increase in activity in shallow areas. Another bonus for crappie anglers this time of year is tying into some hefty catfish that are finding a comfort zone in the midrange stakebeds and brushpiles. Battling a big channel catfish will sure straighten the kinks out of your line too! A lot more baitfish schools were roaming shallow flats and moving up this week. The shallow bite should improve once this weekend’s cold front passes and normal temperatures return with some southwest winds and cloud cover. Most anglers are reporting an abundance of small crappie in their daily catch, along with a flurry of annoying yellow bass that are aggressive this time of year. The yellow bass are masters at bait stealing. It’s pretty clear the year classes of 8-inch crappie and several in the 9 3/4-inch range are much more abundant than the 10-inch plus size fish. However, there are a few good fish mixed in with the small fish so it keeps the outing quite interesting but somewhat challenging. Popular bait choices have been live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows or Berkley power bait. Productive jig colors have ranged from black leadheads with dark red and gray bodies to shad variations sporting silver or blue glitter. The crystal clear water is a factor in color choices as the fish can be finicky in such conditions. Bass fishermen have been struggling to find good stringers around the aquatic vegetation this week. Several tournament anglers have been pounding the visible grassbeds but the bright sunny days haven’t been kind to most bassers tossing spinnerbaits, shad color jerk baits and Texas rigged worms. Some boaters continue to stalk main lake ledges and humps with jig and craw combos, Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms and Alabama rigs. Deep diving crankbaits have produced a few big bites at times. A few bigger bass have been taken in deeper depths as the bright days and clear water may have pushed some of the bigger fish to deeper venues. Although many of the lake’s gravel points and grassbeds are attractive, a deeper pattern might be worthy of consideration. Kentucky Lake’s shorelines and hillsides will peak in their parade of colors in the next week or two so don’t let this great time of year pass you by. There may be a day or two of nasty winds and cooler temperatures but the good days far outnumber the bad ones during autumn angling.
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