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Steve McCadams'
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
 February 21st, 2003


    In addition to cold weather mixed with snow and high winds over the last few weeks enter rain and flooding to the list of hurdles for winter anglers.

    High water is now part of the fishing scene as Kentucky Lake went on a rampage this week due to heavy rains both here and to the south. Flash flood warnings dominated all weather forecasts earlier this week as tributaries were rushing out of their banks due to the overflow.

    On Monday the observed lake stages at New Johnsonville Steam Plant were over four feet higher than the readings at Kentucky Dam! That means a huge wall of water was headed down river where swift currents were pulling logs, trees, and all sorts of debris toward mainstream.

     What does it mean for local anglers? Right now the lake is muddy and elevation levels are changing daily.

    Anglers can expect tough fishing conditions for a few days as the rapidly rising water levels will likely scatter crappie out all over the lake. Some of the deeper fish may stay put for a few days but current will likely be a factor for most main lake ledges and drop-offs.

    Surface temperatures were dancing around the 34 to 39 degree mark this week. Baitfish were scattered all over creation with shad popping up in shallow grass and bushes along shorelines. Fact is, both the forage and fish can be just about anywhere right now.

    Observed lake elevation at New Johnsonville was 360.3 on Tuesday. The same day at Kentucky Dam the reading was 356.

    The dramatic different in elevation means a wall of water is heading north and will spread out once it reaches north of Danville and Paris Landing areas as the reservoir is wider and must more open from these sectors to Kentucky Dam.

    Sometimes anglers can take advantage of current and find fish on the downside of a submerged sandbar or point where eddies develop. These still water zones and often harbor baitfish in a big way and the fish know it and find them.

    Anglers might try tightlining bottom bumping rigs or heavy leadhead jigs in such areas and find crappie concentrated.

    In the upper portion of Big Sandy and West Sandy current will not be as much of a factor so anglers there can likely continue their slow trolling methods that have been paying off. However, depths will change and most of the area has four more feet of water on it than it did last week at this time!

    Still, it's likely crappie will be scattered and suspended as they move about the lake in no particular pattern.

    Sauger anglers will likely find some places where the current is working to their advantage. There will be places along the river channel where edges of the overbank will hold sauger that are finding eddies and dodging the swift current.

    Such areas will see baitfish washed their way and sauger are likely to concentrate in such spots.

    Anglers can expect high water to continue for several days as the recent snow already had the ground saturated. Now come heavy rains that have seen runoff to the extent severe flooding is part of the angling present and future angling picture.

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Steve McCadams
 is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area and host of The Outdoor Channel's television series  IN-PURSUIT. 
Gone Fishing