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by Steve McCadams

    Itís easy to overlook fall fishing and let it slip by. Soon winter weather will be here and youíll wonder why you didnít take advantage of the nice weather and good fishing when conditions were pleasant.

    Kentucky Lakeís fall fishing awaits you and the parade of colors is about to peak, making a beautiful backdrop to a scene where the only thing missing is you.

    Overall, fall fishing has been good this year throughout the area. Despite some storms and heavy rains earlier this week, fishing has resumed and anglers are having good luck on crappie and bass in many areas.

    The heavy rains changed the looks of the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy areas this week as dingy to muddy water chased away clear conditions. Rising lake levels were part of the scene at midweek but already the reservoir is falling slowly and should return to late fall levels in a few days.

    As lake levels fall, much of the muddy water in the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy will disappear and fishing there will return to normal. Meanwhile, action elsewhere has been good as the cloudy days have been on the side of shallow water bass and crappie fishermen.

    Some nice stringers of crappie were taking jigs tipped with minnows this week. Anglers found fish sporting hefty appetites around deep brush piles and stakebeds in depths of 9 to 13 feet.

    Generally speaking, fall fishing is stable as to fish patterns from week to week. Although the recent rash of storms brought a temporary change to several weeks of dry and stable weather, this yearís autumn angling has been well worth the effort.

    The bulk of anglers miss out on the fall bite, choosing to devote most of their fishing efforts to spring when both crappie and bass are spawning. Yet the fish make a move each year to shallow areas once waters cool, although spawning is not part of the picture.

    This week surface temperatures have cooled into the 63 to 66 degree range. Thatís stimulates movement by baitfish into shallow flats and backwater bays so the larger fish are not far behind.

    For every windy day there are usually several mornings where light and variable breezes greet anglers. Those jacket mornings and shirtsleeve afternoons were meant for fishing.

    Fall often has some foggy mornings where the quiet times are pierced only by the splash from a fish or the squawk of a Great Blue Heron as he challenged another competitor for a fishing spot on his breakfast run.

    Bass anglers can disappear along the rocky banks and fade away against the hillsides of yellow hickories as they toss topwater lures in hopes of an eruption. Thereís just something about being on the lake during a foggy morning that makes time stand still.

    Crappie anglers like the fog too as it means calm winds will be the norm once the sun chases away the white curtain. While it may delay crappie anglers in finding that specific spot, fog will fade and blue skies will return to make a beautiful fall day.

    Another feather in the cap of fall fishing is the lack of a crowd. Boat ramps have ample parking and you donít have to compete with other anglers for a spot in which to wet your hook.

    Meanwhile, the average size of crappie has been running pretty good this fall. Thereís still a lot of fish on both sides of the 10-inch length limit but you can find plenty of action to keep you amused.

    The fish appear to be in good shape as they partake of the shad buffet out there. Even the smaller fish are sporting bulging bellies full of food from a recent feeding spree.

    Soon those north winds will blow and the leaves will cover the ground. Youíll pull up the collar and wonder where the nice fall weather went.

    So wait no longer to plan that fall fishing trip. The next week to ten days should offer some nice fishing as the oaks, sweet gums, and hickories do their part to paint a picture.

Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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