Explore Kentucky Lake

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

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 03/31/2016

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 356.31  Surface Temperature - 59

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 356.30  Surface Temperature - 59
Both lakes are a little over 2 feet above winter pool and on a slow rise.  Kentucky Dam was generating at a rate of 38,588 cfs this afternoon.  Barkley Dam was generating at a rate of 28,200 cfs this afternoon.  

With the lake levels down, boaters need to be cautious when navigating the lakes. These are big lakes, but they are shallow river lakes. If you are not familiar with the lakes, make sure you use the navigation lanes and if you are not sure of the depths and locations of obstructions where you are, idle your boat until you are in safe water. 
General Conditions:  The lakes are now on a slow rise to summer pool.  We are ahead of schedule on the lake levels as so hopefully the TVA will not drop the levels again but the normal River Operating Schedule is to have the lakes at summer pool by the end of April.  We will just have to wait and see if the TVA brings the lakes up to summer pool early or if they pull some water back down to get in line with the normal schedule.  We had heavy rains in the lakes area last night and storms again this afternoon.  Although I was not on Lake Barkley today, I suspect it will be getting a lot of color to it by this evening if not already.  This has been another week of cold fronts but not too severe but it did slow down the rise on the water temperatures I was expecting but we are not far off now from getting more bass in the creeks and also moving the crappie shallow.  The bass fishing was spotty this week overall on the north end of Kentucky with some fish being taken from the main lake to the shallows.  
The forecast for tomorrow is for a high of 66, low of 40 with wind from the west at 15.  Saturday is showing a high of 63, low of 38 and wind west at 17 with higher gusts.  Sunday's forecast is for a high of 66/low of 50 wind wind south at 8.  I checked 3 different weather sources for the extended forecast into next week and all 3 forecasts were totally different so it is a toss up at this time..but it appears that another front is coming in around mid week with another chance of storms.
I know my fishing report below looks like a broken record from last week but nothing has really changed at this point in time.
LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth are being taken on main lake points and on the main lake channel banks.These fish are being taken on Alabama rigs, suspending jerk baits, slow rolled crank baits, slow rolled lipless crankbaits, jigs and shaky heads. Largemouth are being taken on ledges on the main lake and inside the mouths of the deeper creeks and bays on Alabama rigs and jigs. Largemouth are being taken on secondary channel points and banks inside the creeks and bays on Alabama rigs, slow rolled crank baits, slow rolled lipless crankbaits, suspending jerk baits, jigs and shaky heads. On warm days there are active fish being taken shallow in the creeks and bays on shallow running crank baits and lipless crank baits. 
SMALLMOUTH BASS: Smallmouth are being taken on main lake points and main lake channel banks. Smallmouth are also being taken on ledges inside the mouths of the creeks and bays as well as on secondary channel points inside the mouths of the creeks and bays. These fish are being taken on Alabama rigs, suspending jerk baits, slow rolled crank baits and jigs.
PRODUCTIVE LURES: Some of the productive lures reported this week are: Picasso bait ball rigs with Keitech swim baits in pro blue and French pearl as well as Big Hammer swim baits in pearl and sexy smelt, Lucky Craft slender pointer suspending jerk baits in pearl ayu, Spro suspending jerk baits table rock shad and Rapala Xrap suspending jerk baits in clown, Rapala shadraps in demon and original crawdad, Strike King DT 6 and10 in red crawdad, Strike King red eye shad in red craw, Bill Lewis rattle traps in red crawdad patterns, Spro Little John shallow crankbaits in spring craw and black/chartruese, Slong’s football jig in black/blue and Cumberland craw, D&L baby advantage jig in Cumberland craw, Slong’s shaky head jigs with Charmer shaky head worm in green pumpkin and bama bug.
CRAPPIE: Crappie are being taken over brush piles in 10-12 ft of water in the creeks and bays by vertically fishing with minnows and jigs tipped with minnows. Crappie are also moving shallow and some are being taken on banks around cover in 4-6 feet of water. The Crappie fishing was reported as slow this week with the wind and fluctuating lake levels but I would expect the Crappie to start moving shallow in large numbers this next week as the water temperatures rise.

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.

Honker Lake
Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

In June these beautiful lily pads are in full bloom at Honker Lake in Land Between The Lakes. Honker Lake is a great place for wildlife viewing and hiking.