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NASTY WEATHER LINGERS…LAKE LEVELS RISING FAST
Enough already! That’s the cry of Kentucky Lake fishermen lately who’ve
been battered by cold temperatures, bone chilling winds, and spitting
snow. As if that weren’t enough toss in rapidly rising lake levels the
last few days that has further upset the apple cart.
It has been mean out there lately. Last week a lot of boat ramps were
iced in from the frigid January weather that lingered too long to suit
local anglers. Another round of winter weather descended this week and
while boat ramps opened up there is high water to contend with, adding
yet another hurdle.
Lake levels have really jumped the last few days in the aftermath of
heavy rains on Tuesday that drenched a region that was already
saturated. As a result there has been a massive runoff of water into the
whole Tennessee River watershed, swelling lake levels more than four
feet above normal winter readings.
At midweek lake stages were rising over a foot each day. The week
started out with readings around 355 at Kentucky Dam and upstream at New
Johnsonville but elevation was changing fast by Wednesday morning. TVA
projects the reservoir could reach the summer pool mark of 358.7 at
Kentucky Dam before the weekend arrives. Upstream at New Johnsonville
elevation was already forecast to be 359.5 on Friday.
Barring any additional rain the reservoir is expected to crest this
weekend and begin its descent. The main channel will have a lot of
current for the next several days as some dingy water flows through.
Surface temperatures have been hanging around the 35 to 37 degree range.
Over the last week to ten days anglers have only had a day or two mixed
in that appealed to their fishing fever. A few crappie were taken last
week in the Paris Landing area as the mouth of Big Sandy was showing a
decent water color.
Crappie anglers working the main lake ledges caught some decent numbers
for a brief period as the 17 to 22 foot depth range was holding fish in
a typical winter pattern. The deeper sides of the drop-offs were
attracting baitfish that were riding out the cold snaps and that’s where
the crappie were too.
Although a few boats were testing the water over manmade fish attractors
in the mouth of a few bays reports indicate their catch rate was low.
The 8 to 13 foot depth range was not paying dividends for most, a likely
result of the cold surface temperatures that influenced baitfish to go
deeper and pull the crappie with them.
Bass fishermen have been working some of the steeper bluffs with jig and
pig combos, Alabama rigs, and slow retrieved crankbaits but the bite has
been slow lately.
Sauger continue to dodge the radar screen of anglers wondering where
this former winter fishery has gone. Bottom line seems to be that the
fish are just not out there to catch. Several years of weak spawns have
resulted in weak year classes and that has anglers and biologists
Anglers across the area are bored with the lingering winter weather and
hoping it loses its grip soon. Everyone wants a warm up but it has been
a year when winter has returned with a vengeance. Anglers got spoiled
the last few years when warm winters allowed great fishing conditions.
Both February and March are known for inclimate weather so fishermen may
have to rely on patience until a few days of good weather enter the
forecast. Otherwise, the cure for spring fever might not come for quite
some time and in case you’re counting spring doesn’t officially arrive
until March 20th!
Also check out our past:
Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports
Steve McCadams is one of the nation's best known Crappie Fishermen
and a full time resident of Paris, Tennessee. Steve is also a
professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area.