Doug Wynn's Fishing Report
For May 24, 2017Report for Kentucky Lake
We are finally getting the lake levels back to summer pool and should start to see normal current rates. Normal current rates mean better fishing. The white Excel Bay Pro 203 has been checking out many late spring-summer spots for activity. Have we ever been finding some!
First a shout out to my buddies at JoJo's Cafe on Hwy 408 East in Benton. They not only have to listen to all my fishing stories but also offer encouragement when I may be less than optimistic about the prospects for having a good day. A few cups of coffee, a great breakfast, and a friendly kick in the pants is normally all that is needed to get my day started. If you haven't been by JoJo's, you are missing a treat. The food is great, folks are friendly and aim to please, and they have the best homemade pies in the country.
We are starting where we are seeing the best action.
CRAPPIE ON CRANK BAITS??!! That doesn't even sound normal to a bunch of jig flingers and minnow dunkers. Trust me it works and works on BIG crappie!
We have been pulling Arkie 350s, Bomber Model As, and Bandit 200 and 300 crank baits and producing some eye-opening strings. The crappie spawn is over and the big females are moving to deeper areas where they will recover and build their fat reserves back up over the summer and fall. Many beautiful male white and black crappie have fallen to the cranks slightly shallower but close to deep water. Look for crappie at the mouths of all the bays and on the main lake ledges just outside these bays. We have caught them from 8 feet to 25 feet deep. Cover has been optional.
While we are targeting crappie, it seems that most everything in the lakes that will eat a minnow will also eat a crank bait. Last Thursday afternoon we were pulling cranks in a bay in about 18 feet of water. My buddy Mike said he was hung up as he put pressure on the Southern Crappie 143T rod. When I looked at the rod, it was obvious the Arkie wasn't hung on bottom but in the face of something big that was very unhappy about the current state of affairs.
After a fight of almost 5 minutes, we got our first look at the creature from the deep--an 18.5 pound flathead catfish. As Mike steered the fish close to the boat, I felt like Captain Quint of the movie "Jaws"---I think we need a bigger net! My Ego Slider net was never made for a load like this but worked flawlessly. What soon laid in the bottom of the boat was one of the best tasting fish in our lakes.
We have been catching some keeper sauger, white bass, yellow bass, largemouth bass, as well as channel and blue catfish on our trolling trips.
I'm hearing of and seeing some nice catches of channel catfish in rocky/gravel spawning areas. They are being caught on bobber rigs as well as bottom bouncing rigs on worms, cut bait and leeches. If you want to load up your freezer, now is the time to load up the babies and grab the old ladies and get out there after them.
The water has moved out of the flooded cover and so have the bass. You'll find them on main points in bays as well as the main lake. Lots of time has been spent probing the main-lake ledges with creature baits, large spoons, jigs and monster crank baits for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Several trophy fish are showing up.
Gills and Redears
With the onset of the new moon leading up to the full moon on June 9th, we should see improving fishing for panfish. The high water levels during their first spawn really hurt the catch rates, especially for redears as they scattered in the flooded cover. Look for the gills to be bedding in areas in 2-8 feet of water with the redears nearby but slightly deeper. Worms, crickets, popeye jigs with wax worms, and small swim jigs should get you into these great fighters. Just remember, don't let your excitement of a huge basket full of 6 inch bluegills turn into misery when you get out the fillet knife and spend a couple of hours cleaning them. Keep all you and your family need but don't waste such a valuable resource.
Fishing is looking up as water levels get back to summer pool. Don't put that crappie tackle up till fall. Some of the best catches of the year are out there for the taking right now.
Lots of other boaters will be out for the first time of the year as the first holiday of summer approaches. Keep a close watch for fellow boaters. Be courteous on the water and the ramps. Obey all maritime, state and Fish and Wildlife rules. Drinking on the water is dangerous and is treated just like drinking and driving on our highways. Don't let a trip to see the judge be the main memory of a great trip to the lakes. Be safe out there!!
Welcome to our little piece of Heaven.