Lodging Fishing Attractions Towns & Bays Dining Events Real Estate Maps Lake Conditions

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
Facebook Twitter YouTube Contact Us About Us
Switch Mobile/Desktop

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 09/25/2003

Kentucky Lake:  Water level at Ky Dam - 355.9  Surface Temperature - 75

Lake Barkley:  Water level at Barkley Dam - 355.85  Surface Temperature - 74
Heavy rains upriver in both the Cumberland and Tennessee river valleys last weekend has caused an influx of water into both lakes.  Both lakes raised nearly two feet since last week but have been pulled back down to about 2 ft over winter pool.  

The influx of flood waters into Lake Barkley muddied up the river channel and but it seems to be starting to clear over the past 24 hours although there is a lot of debris still floating in and around the channel bends.  The bays on Lake Barkley seem to have remained relatively free of the muddy water.  

The Kentucky Lake river channel has not muddied up and I don't think it will to any extent.  The bays are clear.  The current being generated by the pull down has improved the ledge and humps fishing for bass on both lakes.  There was a reported large fish kill below Kentucky Dam within the past few days on the Tennessee river as the sudden influx of water coming through the flood gates over-oxygenated the water and caused many fish to get air bubbles in their blood stream and thus die.  

I heard on the radio this morning that no long term detrimental effect on the fishing below the dam is expected.  In addition to the influx of water, the lakes area has experienced cold fronts passing through the area about every 48 to 72 hours lately and this has kept the anglers busy trying to adjust their patterns.
The Largemouth Bass are in transition from summer to fall patterns on both lakes.  The Largemouth bass south of the U.S. 68 bridges seem to be established in the bays in more numbers than those on the north ends of the lakes but I have seen indications that more fish are starting to move into the bays on the north ends.  

There are still a good number of fish being taken on the main lake ledges and humps and also on the humps and creek channel ledges in the mouths of the bays.  Some schooling Largemouth are being reported in the bays especially just prior to the cold frontal passages.  The fish on the ledges and humps are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits and tubes as well as deep diving crankbaits and jignpig.  The fish that have moved into the bays to feed on the schools of shad are being taken on topwater lures, medium running crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Texas rigged tubes and jignpig.  
The Smallmouth Bass are being taken on main lake points, river ledges and humps as well as along creek channel ledges, humps, and secondary points near the mouths of the bays.  I have received some reports of schools of Smallmouth moving shallow in the bays to briefly feed on the schools of shad near the flats.  The deeper Smallmouth are being taken on Carolina rigged tubes, deep running crankbaits, and jignpig.  The shallow Smallmouth are being taken on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, and shallow running crankbaits.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are: Lucky Craft Sammy in chartruese and American shad, Lucky Craft Spash baits in chartruese, Rebel Pop R in black/chrome, Lunker buzzbaits in white, Lee Sisson Slim Willie D in grey ghost, Bandit and Norman medium running crankbaits in rootbeer, Hook Some Bass spinnerbaits in blue glimmer and white/chartruese, Hook Some Bass baby brush hounds in watermelon/red, Hook Some Bass tubes in green pumpkin and amber/red, Snoozer tubes in road kill cammo and smoke/purple, and Hook Some Bass jigs in green pumpkin.
The Crappie are getting active and are being taken near the mouths of the bays and in the front portions of the bays along the creek channel ledges over brush piles in 12-15 ft of water.  These fish are being taken by vertically fishing minnows and small jig/minnow combinations.  The strong current over the past few days seems to have moved more Crappie into the bays.  
I have not had any reports on the White Bass but I have myself observed some schools of White Bass feeding on the flats in the bays on the schools of shad.  One should be able to catch these fish by casting small inline spinners and small spoons into the feeding schools.  

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Now That You're 'Hooked' on Fishing... Come See Us!

If you've dug this deep in our Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley fishing reports, you are probably just itching to come down and visit the South's biggest lakes.  Get started by finding that perfect place to stay!  Find a Kentucky Lake cabin or a Lake Barkley campground, a full-service resort or a marina.  Heck, there are even dozens of hotels off the water to choose from! 

Don't have a boat?  No worries!  Bank fishing is always an option for panfish. But if you're heart is set on largemouth or smallmouth, you can rent a fishing boat at many of our local resorts!

The perfect place to start looking for a place to stay at Kentucky or Barkley Lakes?  Right here on our main lodging page.

Photo by Libby Mundy

This male eastern bluebird is looking for an insect to munch on. Easily spotted by binoculars, the males are bluer than the females which are mostly grey in color.