Anglers Say Goodbye to Freaky February
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 02/25/2016
February is fading fast and anglers are ready to put it in the rearview mirror. Most hope the transition to March will bring with it warmer temperatures but fewer cold fronts. Stability of weather patterns is not the norm for February. March can be mean too but odds are warmer weather will linger and surface temps will rise, stimulating spring fever with each passing day. Speaking of warm weather, it’s in the forecast again this weekend and should last well into next week. That’s a welcomed change after a midweek cold front dropped temperatures along with a lot of rain. Winter is still in charge and reminded anglers who the boss was again this week. Brisk north winds mixed with rain lowered temperatures into the 30’s Wednesday night with some mixed precipitation in the region. That put a chill to fishing fever for most who stayed indoors and put another log on the fire. That roller coaster is still going, however, as temps will rebound this weekend into the low 60’s. Fishermen will hit the lake attempting to rid themselves of cabin fever once the mercury starts climbing. Surface temperatures this week have been in the 41 to 43 degree range. Watch for a jump into the upper 40’s by later this weekend as the warmup takes hold. Water color has been a bit dingy due to runoff from abundant rainfall to an already saturated watershed. Despite heavy rains lake levels haven’t risen too drastically. Projections for the weekend show an elevation of 354.5 for Kentucky Dam. That reading has the reservoir down to winter pool on the north end of the reservoir. Upstream in the New Johnsonville Steam Plan sector lake levels are a bit higher with a forecast of 355.7 Odds are lake levels could continue to rise slightly in the days ahead although TVA has been discharging a lot of water through Kentucky Dam which means strong currents present in the main river channel area. Crappie fishermen have endured typical February weather patterns which means one or two days a week might offer calm days with moderate temperatures while the lion’s share of days delivered chilly conditions and annoying winds. As March knocks on the door anglers may see surface temps rise as mild weather begins to dominate, send surface temps toward the 50 degree mark. Anglers are taking several small fish while stalking main lake drop-offs in depth ranges of 17 to 24 feet. A few keeper size fish are mixed in but the bulk of anglers are tossing back a lot of fish shy of the minimum 10-inch length limit. Most deep water fishermen are using bottom bumping rigs armed with minnows or jigs. A few are using a jig only presentation and swapping out color combinations throughout the day hoping to find that appealing shade. Dingy water often requires some loud colored lead heads ranging from florescent orange or green to red or pink. And, tube or solid body skirts offering loud colors can be productive as well. Some fishermen are working midrange stakebeds and brushpiles in 11 to 14 feet and finding scattered fish. Seems finding schools of larger crappie have not been the case but occasionally anglers are landing a hefty slab in the 2-pound range mixed in with the small fish. It’s fair to say, however, big numbers of keeper size fish have not been taken lately. Meanwhile, a few bank fishermen have been taking crappie at times near Springville pumphouse. Casting jigs beneath bobbers around the pumphouse discharge and along the rip-rap levee have produced some fish the last few weeks. Bass anglers braving the winter weather have continued to score decent catches at times. Most of the successful anglers have been using their down-scan or side-imaging units to find deep schools of shad out on main lake ledges or on the main river banks at times while others have concentrated on drop-offs within the mouth of bigger bays. Tossing swim baits or deep running crankbaits and spoons have paid dividends. Not many shallow fish have been taken but that will change once surface temperatures warm into the low 50’s. So, Kentucky Lake’s winter fishing scene hasn’t been too bad but most outings this time of year are at the mercy of the elements. Let’s hope the Ides of March aren’t too mean once the windy month arrives and brings the change in seasons.
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