Hal and Ryan from Arkansas October 2016
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
HIGH TEMPS/LOW LAKE LEVELS
As the pumpkin month fades away the Kentucky Lake fishing scene has been
dominated by low lake levels and high temperatures.
Anglers have dodged very few showers this month as a fall drought has
been in progress for quite some time. Above average daily temperatures
have lingered for month of the month too but especially this week. Temps
have reached the mid to upper 80ís several days.
Although above average temps have hung around, low lake levels continue
to play a big part of the fall fishing scenario. TVA has held the
reservoir several inches below winter pool lately and that has boaters
Elevation this week has slept in the 354.2 rang at Kentucky Dam.
Upstream around New Johnsonville it has been even lower at 353.9 a few
days but rose a few inches to the 354 range at midweek.
Surface temperatures this week have stayed in the 67 to 68 degree range.
Thatís several degrees above average for late October but it reflects
the unusual warm spell.
Water color remains clear all over the reservoir. Very little rain has
fallen throughout the month.
The overall fishing scene has been pretty good for crappie anglers as of
late. Some windy days crept in and disrupted the apple cart at times but
there have been plenty of nice fall days that started with a cool
Big numbers of small fish continue to dominate the conversation among
the ranks. Several boats have logged more the 100 fish in a dayís outing
but having to cull a big percentage of them.
Thatís not all bad as consistent catching sure beats no catching! The
lionís share of the crappie population is comprised of spawns that took
place back in 2014 and 2015 it appears.
Although some anglers moan about having to measure so many fish that are
just shy of the 10-inch length limit, others rejoice in the fact that an
increasing number of fish have entered the population and will soon
reach keeper size status.
Biological data shows it take a Kentucky Lake crappie approximately
three years to achieve the 10-inch length. Thatís a pretty good growth
rate compared to most reservoirs across the country.
So, it appears the reservoir is indeed on a rebound as to the crappie
fishery but it may take a few more months before anglers see a
significant increase in keeper size fish.
Meanwhile, depths of 6 to 11 feet are producing a lot of fish these last
few weeks. There are a few fish deeper too as a slightly better grade
has been taken from deeper depths by anglers vertical fishing jigs and
jigs tipped with minnows.
Several boats fishing in the Crappie USA Classic this week here on
Kentucky and Barkley Lakes are experimenting with a variety of
techniques in hopes of finding fish and perhaps some of the bigger
slabs. From slow trolling crankbaits to pulling long line curly tail
grubs and Road Runner style spinning jigs, the tournament field will be
trying just about everything and everywhere.
Meanwhile, vertical fishing live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows
over submerged stakebeds and brushpiles has paid dividends again this
week. Often times double digit numbers of fish have been taken from a
single stakebed or brushpile too.
From the bass fishing department comes word of mediocre activity from
anglers tossing shallow running shad colored crankbaits on flats and
gravel points. Most fishermen are having trouble finding schooling fish
on main lake flats as is usually the case in late fall.
The absence of grassbeds in the backs of big bays has also taken away a
lot of habitat where shad found refuge at times and meandered in the
lowlight conditions or during early morning and late afternoon hours.
Several boats continue to work main lake ledges with crankbaits, Texas
rigged worms, swim baits, jigs and big spinnerbaits.
The shallow bite has been off the last week or so as not many baitfish
are showing up in the shallow areas.
With the low lake levels likely to continue for quite some time, boaters
best use caution and beware. Several anglers have not heeded the advice
to follow channel markers this week and have found themselves stranded
on open water sandbars!
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.