WEATHER CHANGE WELCOMED…ANGLERS YEARN FOR FALL’S RETURN
Anglers are yearning for a change. It appears they’re going to get it
A drastic change in temperatures is in progress that should return that
fall feel to the fishing scene for Kentucky Lake anglers. It’s going to
be a week that started out with hot summer conditions but ends on a fall
note for sure.
Fishermen have endured hot and humid conditions the last week to ten
days and are ready to return to cool mornings, light winds, and perhaps
a dose of fog to filter some of the bright sunlight that has dominated.
You know it’s too dry when even fishermen are calling for rain.
The rash of warm weather has lingered with an extended spell of high
pressure that had temperatures some 10 to 12 degrees above normal. The
lack of rain has Kentucky Lake very clear too, a scenario that makes it
tough on shallow anglers at times as fish, especially crappie, are
sensitive to bright light conditions.
Lake levels this week dropped to their lowest levels since back in
March. Elevation projected for the weekend will be 354.9 range at
Kentucky Dam and 354.8 upstream at New Johnsonville. Rain and runoff
have been almost nonexistent for the month of September across the
Surface temperatures lost ground this week as the influence of warm
weather dominated. Surface temperatures last week were in the 73 to 76
degree range but increased to the 79 to 80 degree range at midweek.
At a time when water temperature should have been cooling down it went
in the opposite direction but watch for a dramatic change in the days
ahead as the cold front takes over. Northwest winds are expected to push
much cooler weather to the region and chilly nights will bring the
surface temp back down over the weekend.
Crappie action has been sluggish this week as the fish took on a finicky
mood for most anglers. A lot of days were not only hot with clear skies
but had little or no wind. The stagnant atmosphere had an adverse effect
on the fish too as bites were extremely light.
A few fish had entered shallow areas the previous week or two but seemed
to back off and occupy deeper drop-offs as of late. The high skies are
great times to be out on the lake and enjoy the beauty of fall but some
of the best fishing conditions occur when cloud cover or rainy days
descend, bringing a low pressure that stimulates the bite.
I found a few fish lingering in the 17 to 19 foot depth range at midweek
after toughing it out in midrange stakebeds for a day or two without
much to show for it. Live minnows on tight line bottom bumping rigs paid
dividends as it was clear the fish had fallen back to deeper venues.
Fish have been finicky as even some of the larger crappie taken showed
little interest as the initial strikes were extremely light.
One species that has been active is the aggressive schools of yellow
bass. The annoying little rascals will hammer your jig and minnow combo
with that “machine gun” style bite that robs your bait in the blink of
Although small in statue, yellow bass deliver a fight to the finish
attitude and pack a punch despite their average size ranging around a
quarter of a pound. Seems they have an endless appetite.
Watch for shallow to midrange areas to resume by early next week if not
sooner. The weather change should see crappie filter their way back to
shallow structure in hot pursuit of schooling.
Bass activity has been a bit slow too as most anglers are struggling to
find a consistent pattern. The larger fish have been playing
Some boats continue to target the abundance of visible vegetation as
areas south of Paris Landing have an abundance of thick grassbeds around
island rims and shallow flats. Most are working the parameters with
topwater and assorted weedless lures in the early morning and late
afternoon hours but switching over to shallow running jerk baits, Texas
rigged worms, and spinnerbaits throughout the day.
Other patterns still producing have been ledges on the main lake as the
summer techniques haven’t gone away, especially since summer weather has
hung around. However, very little current has been observed in the main
Tennessee River channel so that’s has made it more challenging.
Some shallow fish were taken this week by anglers working shallow
running crankbaits around gravel banks where shad were present. And, a
few fish were schooling at times on shallow flats as schools of shad
Some scattered catfish are showing up along the main river channel as
anglers bump bottom and search deeper holes but crappie anglers continue
to catch catfish on a regular basis from their midrange stakebeds and
Perhaps normal fall patterns and venues will start to produce again now
that cooler conditions enter the picture and push away the summer
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.