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Archived Fishing Report

Fall Fishing Holding Up; Low Lake Levels Linger

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 11/12/2015

Fall fishing is still alive and well on Kentucky Lake with anglers enjoying another week of mild weather for the most part, although Wednesday’s gale force winds kept most boaters docked and scanning out over main lake areas where whitecaps dominated the scene.
Since last weekend the warm weather in the upper 60’s and low 70’s has been kind to fishermen. A few days has light winds too that started off with foggy mornings. And, the fog lingered a couple of mornings to the 10 AM range before melting away to nice blue skies.
It appears a little nip in the air will cool the fishing scene for a day or two but not before mild temperatures return next week for at least a few days in the forecast. However, the weatherman says the fall season’s first visit down to the freezing mark could arrive Friday night, kick starting a brisk weekend weather picture.
Lake levels this week are similar to last week as projected elevation at Kentucky Dam this week will be in the 354.3 range. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation this weekend will sleep in the 354.2 range. Those readings are a few inches below the normal 355 winter pool range that TVA normally shoots for this time of year.
Surface temperatures have been in the 62 to 64 degree range this week. Watch for a little dip back down into the upper 50’s by this weekend after a couple of cold nights enter the picture. Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir.
Crappie action saw a little improvement late last week and earlier this week as a few fishermen found shallow fish playing their game. Some decent size fish were taken in shallow stakebeds around the depth range of 4 to 6 feet. Up Big Sandy around New Hope and in West Sandy some fish were taken in even shallower depths.
Midrange stakebeds and brushpiles were still holding on to a few fish too but it appears several crappie has moved up the last week to ten days. Depths of 7 to 12 feet held on to a few scattered crappie as well.
There are always a few boats stalking the main lake ledges and humps where drop-offs often harbor some scattered crappie this time of year. Depths of 14 to 16 feet were giving up an occasional keeper where anglers where tightlining jigs and minnow rigs down in the submerged brush and stumprows.
Popular jig colors this week have been chartreuse/orange, watermelon, blue/chartreuse and black/chartreuse just to name a few. Tipping with a minnow has also produced strikes as has tipping the jig with Berkley Power Bait in the white and chartreuse colors.
Odds are crappie will remain in the shallow to midrange depths until severe cold weather arrives. The schools of baitfish, namely threadfin shad, will continue to roam the shallow areas until cold weather pushes them back out to deeper comfort zones.
Meanwhile, big numbers of crappie have not been taken but there seemed to be some improvement this week for a few anglers as to their small fish/big fish ratio.
Bass fishermen are tossing a lot of shad colored crankbaits around gravel banks, roadbeds, rip-rap levees and rocky points. Some are looking for schooling base out over shallow flats too and casting chrome and black colored Rattle Trap style lures or shad variations of swim baits.
Top water presentations have paid off too around shallow sandbars, gravel banks and the edges of grassbeds. Jerk baits have worked well at times with spinnerbaits and Texas rigged worms still working at times as have suspending jerk baits and various soft plastic injured minnow imitations.
Not everyone is fishing shallow as some boaters are still banging away at main lake ledges and humps at times while tossing jig and craw combos, Carolina and Alabama rigs, crankbaits and swimbaits.
While it may sound like a broken record, lake levels are low out there so wise are the boaters who use caution, pay attention to the channel markers and avoid the temptation to take shortcuts over main lake sandbars where danger lurks below in the form of a stubborn stump that will play havoc with your outboard’s lower unit.

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Fallow Deer
Photo by Murray Blake

There are only a few small herds of fallow deer in Land Between The Lakes, but occasionally a lucky explorer will catch a glimpse of one.