FISHING SCENE WELCOMES WARM-UP
March Madness has been alive and well, making its presence known to
Kentucky Lakeís fishing scene this week as anglers have endured a wide
variety of weather. There have been some beautiful days with spring-like
weather---temps climbed to 75 degrees on Tuesday---only to have another
stubborn cold front roll in at midweek.
It appears warmer conditions are in progress as the weekend approaches
so after a short hiatus anglers are back out on the water in search of
winter crappie and bass that have shown signs of improvement lately.
Kentucky Lakeís elevation will be 355.2 at Kentucky Dam as the weekend
approaches. Upstream at New Johnsonville lake levels are slightly higher
with readings in the 355.7 range. Elevation had been falling earlier in
the week but experienced a slight surge at midweek only to return to a
gradual drop forecast by TVA.
Water color has been stained in the main Tennessee River but most of Big
Sandy and West Sandy is in good shape with some dingy water still
hanging around. The overall color in the Paris Landing sector is
sporting a good color for bass and crappie fishing.
Surface temperatures have slowly climbed this week as the runoff last
weekend from melting ice and snow delivered cold water into the
reservoir for several days. Last weekís 39 to 42 degree range finally
lost its grip and by midweek the water rose to the 47 to 49 degree
Crappie have shown increased interest this week but the overall picture
has been blurred for anglers attempting to find concentrated schools of
fish along main lake ledges. Most boats are reporting scattered crappie
around the deep sides of drop-offs where anglers have targeted the 18 to
22 foot depths.
A few fish moved up to the 12 to 14 foot range earlier in the week when
warm sunny days descended and improved the attitude of both the fish and
the fishermen. However, crappie have been reluctant to school and itís
been a few here and a few there scenario.
Both live minnows and jigs have produced with a few anglers tipping jigs
with minnows in an attempt to entice finicky fish. Most anglers are
using tightline methods in the deeper structure. Some like the double
hook bottom bumping rig while others are just fishing a single jig
around brush and stumps.
Popular colors of jig skirts have ranged from pink/chartreuse to
blue/white. When encountering dingy water a lot of anglers have been
choosing loud colored leadheads such as florescent green, red, pink and
chartreuse while experimenting with various colors of jig skirts.
Crappie have been somewhat scattered for several weeks and anglers are
seeing suspended fish show up on their sonar screens out over deeper
water. Seems a lot of fish are not relating to structure and just
roaming, which sometimes appeals to spider rig or drift fishermen
applying multipole presentations.
Once surface temperatures cross the 50 degree threshold watch for
crappie action to improve. A combination of cold fronts, very chilly
runoff entering the reservoir, and some fluctuation in lake levels have
teamed up to confuse the fish and those pursuing them.
Bass fishermen havenít had as much trouble finding fish as their crappie
cousins. Despite cold surface temperatures in shallow bays some pretty
good stringers have been taken the last two weeks.
Two of the first major tournaments required 5-fish limits weighing 20
pounds or more to win. March is a month known to produce hefty stringers
as the big egg-laden females are putting on the feed bag as spring
approaches. Their prespawn phase usually produces some of the biggest
bass of the year.
Crankbaits are king right now along the long sloping mud bars and gravel
points on Kentucky Lake. Crawfish varieties have been popular choices
with some dingy water areas requiring such choices as firetiger and
florescent red variations.
Rapalaís Shad Rap, Banditís Root Beer, Strike Kingís Red-eye shad series
have been a few popular choices for anglers working gravel banks,
rip-rap and fan casting some drop-offs in an effort to cover a lot of
Tossing some bigger deep diving crankbaits have worked too as have some
suspending jerk baits, Alabama rigs, and also some Carolina rigged
Thereís been a lot of current in the main Tennessee River channel and
TVA continues to flush a lot of water through the system. Bass anglers
have been playing the current card in a few areas too.
March is a mixed up month of weather patterns. Always has been; always
will be. Itís fair to say some pretty days are ahead with overdue
warming trends but wind and cold fronts will be in the equation too as
anglers battle March Madness Kentucky Lake style!
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.