Doug Wynn's Fishing Report
For August 15, 2019Report for Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley
Hey from the Excel Bay Pro 230 “Fishful Thinking”.
I just spent two days trying to remove the remains of some sort of Mississippi menace insect that swarmed us Sunday morning on Grenada Lake, Mississippi.
They were so thick that we ended up with them in our mouth, nose and ears. Problem was, we were catching huge crappie and bugs just had to be ignored as much as possible. We literally ground them into the floor of the 230 and then they baked in the sun.
A 3800psi power washer and turbo nozzle finally proved it was up to the job that everything else had failed at.
When I die, I know I’m going to Heaven. I just hope Heaven has a Grenada Lake. It is what all crappie fishermen dream of. In four 1/2 day trips (one trip was on Enid Lake) we caught 111 keepers that must be OVER 12 inches long out of well over 200 total crappie. Our big fish was just under 2 pounds but the average of all our keepers would be considered a nice crappie locally.
I had the pleasure of hosting Mitch Glenn of Pico Lures and Tom Lipe, a guide friend from Grenada along with my buddies Rickie, Adam and Justin, my tournament partner. This group all fished together on the Excel with no issues about crowding or placement. The six of us had to look like a clown car and probably sounded like one. I doubt I have laughed as much in years. Thankfully Justin and I will be back at Grenada for the Crappie Master’s National Championship next month.
I’m still finding crappie on depth breaks in coves and on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. My target depth has been 15-25 feet and structure like stakebeds and brushpiles really help. Many of the main lake fish have been in stump fields. One thing that all these places have in common is baitfish.
I depend on both Down Imaging and 2D sonar when looking for both bait and thermoclines. Thermocline is an area of water that is divided into 2 layers, the bottom being very low in oxygen. Most fish will be found just above the thermocline. It was very noticeable in Grenada. We see them often here on KY and Barkley in late summer when the current is less.
Put your 2D sonar on full screen then turn the sensitivity up slowly to maximum. A thermocline will appear as a wide broken line and should be found at depths of around 1/2 the total depth of the water in the area you are checking. This should eliminate the depth below the thermocline as an area you want to fish.
This is also why many times crappie will be caught very shallow in areas of deep water when the surface temperature may be in the higher range. We caught several crappie Sunday as shallow as six feet deep in over 40 feet of water. Let your electronics tell you where you need to be fishing. It works every time.
Along with the crappie, we have been catching a wide variety of fish, notably a couple of nice flathead catfish on Barkley. Even if you don’t have a taste for catfish, don’t toss a flathead back in. They are one of the best tasting fish we have, much different than say channel catfish.
As is usually the case, most of our catch has been trolling Pico INT crankbaits.
Vicki and I got to finish up our interrupted Barkley trip last week. We spent three glorious hours trolling uninterrupted and catching a variety of fish. One drum (my buddy Kenny calls them Gaspergoos) was photo captured before it could be released then that photo was sent to Kenny in PA. His quick response was “You’re still the Gaspergoo King of KY”. (Inside joke between friends and my wife.) I really need another title from my friends.
While we were fishing, we started to see the recreational traffic increase. Before we got our gear gathered up from trolling and could leave, we were cut off three times by an idling ski boat. While I rarely say anything to other boaters, this guy got my wrath for his inconsideration and downright arrogant attitude that caused us to have to change course every time.
Sure, everyone out there has the same right to be on the lake but being unwilling to let a boat that is fishing go about his day without harassment is grounds to get an ear full. While I didn’t use any profanity or threats, he did get my message and hopefully will be more considerate of the next fisherman he encounters. Sometimes you just gotta let the other guy know you don’t appreciate his actions.
We are now seeing a continued, slow draw down of the lake levels. With this drawdown and the cooler nights, we should start to see action picking up in the bays as the shad move shallower. One of my favorite tactics for early fall has always been to target the rocky points with crankbaits and rattletrap type baits.
Bass, white bass, crappie, catfish and best of all, sauger will move in with the shad schools. Daylight and dusk are the best times for this action. Cloudy days come in a close second. Sometimes the fish will be caught so close to the bank you would think the water couldn’t cover their backs.
Be careful out there!! Be considerate of others. Wear those PFDs. Watch out for those who refuse to watch out for you. Help those who might need help. I got to pull in a stranded boater from Paducah while on Enid Lake last Thursday. Your time will come some day and you will hope somebody will stop to help. Pay that forward.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.
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