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Roger Binkley and Chase Binkley from TN
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
"1 pole jig fishing"
LAKE HIGH AFTER HEAVY RAINS
Last weekís heavy rains brought flooding to some areas across the TVA
valley and Kentucky Lakeís elevation jumped dramatically due to all the
Some areas received in excess of four to five inches and that runoff has
been coming down the Tennessee River this past week to the extend the
reservoir rose from its low ebb of winter pool to a few inches above
summer pool---a rise of about five feet!
Elevation at midweek reflected a crest of 359.3 in the New Johnsonville
area while downstream at Kentucky Dam the elevation crested about summer
pool but began falling on Tuesday. TVA projects a steady fall for the
next week or so and will mostly likely attempt to pull the reservoir
back down to winter pool to establish more holding capacity.
It is unusual to see the reservoir at this level during the winter
months but thatís what the system was designed to do. Lower lake levels
during the fall and winter months allow more storage capacity in the
event of flooding rains like we just experienced.
Expect to see the elevation fall about 5 to 6 inches each day for the
next week or so. Water color is dingy to muddy in many areas. Surface
temps have dropped down to the 35 to 38 degree range.
Most anglers have thrown in the towel until warmer days return. That may
be a spell as colder conditions are forecast to linger with yet another
cold front descending as the New Year chases away the old one. Temps
will fall into the teens for several nights with some day not rebounding
above the freezing mark!
Once the thaw does return and warmer days enter the forecast, anglers
will be out in force as cabin fever is already taking its toll!
Jane and Tom from TN 2017
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
"1 pole jig fishing"
BITTER COLD CHANGES OUTDOOR PICTURE FOR ANGLERS/HUNTERS
Frigid temperatures have thrown a curve to the outdoor scene here in the
Kentucky Lake region and pretty much across the whole region. From
fishermen to duck hunters; seems everyone has been a victim of the
At midweek temps fell off the table, plummeting to the teens without
rebounding above the freezing mark for daytime highs. That spells ice
for waterfowlers who had just received water in lowland areas from last
weekís heavy rains.
Across the four state region shallow flooded fields and backwaters of
river bottoms and sloughs will now succumb to ice, taking those areas
out of the equation for weary waterfowlers who had hope to benefit from
recent rains and runoff.
Itís true duck hunters want cold weather to stimulate the migration and
stir up ducks that are already here, putting them up in the sky to move
around and search for food. However, there are limitations. It can get
too cold at times and once ice enters the picture itís another ballgame.
Not only is it cold now but more is on the way! The weatherman says the
New Year will arrive under another spell of bone chilling winds and cold
temps that wonít allow any thawing of shallow water areas.
Ducks will tolerate cold weather for a short spell but once shallow
feeding and roosting areas freeze and dry farm ground gets stone hard
from the cold prohibiting dry feeding in corn and other grain fields the
ducks will move out to areas with more access.
Actually, during very cold spells ducks wonít move much in their
traditional early morning feeding sprees, opting to wait until midday
when slightly warmer temps and sunshine sometimes thaw frozen ground or
pockets of water. It can get too cold for ducks and those who hunt them
When severe weather arrives it adds additional challenges of all sorts.
Outboard motors are stubborn to start. Batteries fall victim to the cold
and lose their charge. Pull ropes freeze too so manual start motors are
dead in the water at times.
Decoys lose their lifelike appearance when wearing a sheet of ice that
glares in the sun. Ducks can tell the difference too and flare easily
from such settings. Although hunters may attempt to keep the ice off or
broken out of the spread sometimes itís just an uphill battle.
Guns donít work right either. Automatics jam as they just donít cycle
right when a little moisture on the moving parts turns to ice. When itís
this cold there are a lot of one shot automatics out there!
Nothing is more humbling than having a flock of ducks finally descend
over the decoys only to have a gun malfunction. It happens to just about
everyone at some point in time.
You rise early and travel long distances. Freeze your hands putting out
the decoys and go through all the dirty work of getting ready and
reaching the blind. After a long drill you finally get thing set up and
after hours of waiting some ducks fly by in close shooting distance only
to have your gun freeze up and not shoot or just shoot one time!
Ready or not cold weather is here and it appears it will be here for the
next several days. Anglers are crying too and already suffering from
The fishing scene will fall victim to the windy conditions and frigid
temps too and keep most fishermen inside by the fire. There was a time
when some winter sauger fishermen still braved the elements and took to
the Tennessee River to fish for their favorite cold weather prey that
made spawning runs upstream.
Places like the mouth of Duck River and other locales along the river
channel would see sauger stack up in such places. The tailrace at
Pickwick was another popular venue during bitter weather as the fish
would still bite.
The last few years has seen a dramatic decline in the sauger fishery so
not many winter anglers pursue them anymore.
A few die-hard winter crappie anglers still brave the cold at times but
even the toughest ones throw in the towel when itís too cold for too
long or nasty north winds deal the cards.
And so it is that winter weather has descended with a vengeance. The
year will end on a cold note and the new one will start out the same
way. Put another log on the fire and ride it out as best you can!
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.