Great day crappie fishing Daryl Newport and Danny Richard
Photo curtsey of
ANXIOUS ANGLERS EMBRACE SPRING WEATHER…RAPID CHANGE UNDERWAY
Snow and ice are long gone. Rising temperatures have replaced bone
chilling winds and spring is fast approaching. It officially arrives on
Friday of next week.
Spring like weather is already here, however, as temperatures this week
climbed into the upper 50’s and low 60’s and more warm weather is in the
forecast for next week. Anglers are anxious.
Kentucky Lake fishermen enjoyed some nice days lately on the lake as
winds have been light and southern breezes chased away what’s left of
winter. Pleasant fishing conditions have been long overdue as most of
February and the lion’s share of March have been mean but things are
With the rising temperatures have come rising lake levels. Melting snow
and heavy rains across the region earlier this week fell on an already
saturated watershed, a scenario that has seen a lot of runoff enter the
Tennessee River drainage.
TVA has done a good job lately of flushing water through Kentucky Dam as
lake levels haven’t changed too much until this week. Normal lake levels
this time of year usually have the reservoir resting around the 355
Under normal conditions TVA holds the reservoir at or near the low ebb
of winter pool until April 1. That is the starting date for TVA to begin
a slow climb toward summer pool elevation of 359, with a target date of
May 1 each year.
Lake stages have been rising the last few days in the aftermath of
flooding conditions to our south. There is a lot of current in the main
Tennessee River channel as TVA is discharging a large volume of water
and that’s likely to continue for several more days.
Projected elevation for the weekend at Kentucky Dam will be 355.5 range
but upstream in the New Johnsonville sector lake levels have swollen
above the 357 range. That shows a significant flow coming through the
Dingy water color is dominant across most of Kentucky Lake, although the
mouth of Big Sandy around the Paris Landing area is sporting a pretty
good color for fishing. Elsewhere muddy water is present along the
entire Tennessee River channel and throughout most of the bays and flats
up Big Sandy and up into West Sandy near Springville pumphouse.
Surface temperatures are in the 45 to 47 degree range, which is up a few
degrees from last week at this time. Expect stained water conditions to
remain in the backs of bays and shallow creeks for several more days.
Crappie have been sluggish in the aftermath of last week’s messy weather
and the combination of dingy water and rising lake levels but watch for
significant improvement each day as warmer weather descends with
positive effect on overall fishing scene.
Dingy water warms quicker than clear water and fish will often move up
toward shallow zones during rising lake levels, especially when it
coincides with warmer weather. Fish have been scattered the last few
days for most anglers, which is not unusual given the rising reservoir.
Some boats have been working main lake ledges and tightlining jigs and
minnows on drop-offs but fish have been a bit hard to come by in the
deeper venues. Some boats pulling jigs or spider-rigs have fared better
as they are covering a lot of water and likely finding suspended fish
that are roaming.
A few reports of shallow crappie have come in as anglers cast jigs and
minnows around shallow structure. Depths of 3 to 5 feet have produced a
few fish. And, some bank fishermen at Springville pumphouse have landed
decent numbers lately as water from the West Sandy bottom flows into the
main lake area through the pumphouse discharge.
A few crappie were also taken by bank fishermen at the Big Sandy culvert
this week. Water has been flowing through the culvert all week and that
usually attract fish to the headwaters.
The next week to ten days will see a lot of movement as crappie
transition toward their prespawn phase. Many anglers are asking what
effect this month’s cold weather will have on the timetable for
spawning? Odds are the spawn will be pushed back a bit to the
traditional early to mid-April range as there have been times in the
past when the biological clock got ahead of itself and fish began the
annual ritual in late March.
That will not happen this year as surface temps have a lot of warming up
to do but watch for rapid change in the overall fishery next week as the
weatherman indicates temps will be in the low to mid 60’s all of next
Bass action is on the rebound with some shallow fish moving up on
roadbeds, gravel points and rocky banks. Popular lure selections have
been loud colored crankbaits such as firetiger and several assorted
fluorescent shades of orange, red and chartreuse.
The backs of bays are muddy in places and bass have been moving up to
shallow feeder ditches that empty runoff into the lake. No doubt shad
and crawfish have been stirred up by the incoming runoff in places and
the muddy water calls for unusual color choices for crankbaits.
Some rip-rap shorelines have also produced bass lately. March is a month
known to give up some of the Kentucky Lake’s biggest bass as the females
really put on the feed bag as their prespawn phase draws near.
Better get ready; things are about to break loose here on the big pond!
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.