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Steve McCadams'
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
 March 16th, 2004


    Winter has been a little stubborn to loosen its grip but spring officially arrives on Saturday, March 20.

    Surface temperatures are warming slowly on Kentucky Lake this week. On Saturday surface temps climbed up to 54 degrees in some areas. Each morning the surface temps are starting out around 51 and climbing slightly, depending on sunshine.

    Lake levels have been falling this week after climbing more than three feet above winter pool recently.

    Lake elevation is expected to be near the 354.8 range going into the weekend in the New Johnsonville area and could be slightly lower by early next week. Kentucky Dam is expected to have a reading of 354.2 by Friday. TVA has really been pulling water through the system this week in their efforts to bring the reservoir back down to winter pool, which increases storage capacity should be get more heavy rains upstream.

    Watercolor is still sporting good dingy stain in most of Big Sandy. There’s even more stain in the main Tennessee River as current is very much a factor there.

    Bass action has improved the last few days with some hefty stringers taken. Anglers are finding fish on gravel and rock banks, along roadbeds, and bridge piers. Some fish are responding to the warmer water found in shallow pockets too where wood structure is located such as logs, treetops, boathouses, etc…

    Crankbaits in the orange shaded colors, crawfish, and firetiger category are working well. Hair jigs and some jig and pork combos are also producing when fish slow along the rock bluffs. Some anglers continue to work suspending jerk baits too.

    A 7-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth was taken Friday here in the Paris Landing area by a local angler. And, a few 5-pound plus largemouth have also been taken the last few days.

    Last Friday morning, a local bass tournament with eleven boats had seven bass checked in that eclipsed the 5-pound mark!

    Some of Kentucky Lake’s largest bass are taken during the month of March each year. The prespawn fish really put on the feedbag as they’re coming out of winter and heading to spring with an appetite.

    Look for bass action to remain good in the weeks ahead.

    Crappie has improved but still has been a victim of high winds and cool temperatures. The overcoat remains standard equipment. Those northwest winds have had a bite lately as the whitecaps danced over cold water.

    Some fish have moved up into midrange structure this week. I’ve been working main lake ledges the last week or two and landing a few big crappie. However, the fish have been scattered and concentrations around good structure have been hard to find.

    I moved up to some brushpiles and stakebeds in the 8 to 12 foot zone at midweek and found a few fish there. My best results came on chartreuse jigs sporting red metal flake, purple and chartreuse, and purple and white. The fish seemed to like the jig tipped with a minnow too.

    There are still some good fish lingering on the main lake ledges in 18 to 23 foot depths but watch for them to move up this week, assuming we get some warm sunshine. Surface temperatures will likely warm and that will trigger some movement toward shallow flats and bays.

    Some fish were hitting in West Sandy and up near the New Hope area this week but anglers were finding them scattered there as well.

    TWRA creel clerk Bill Heathcott stopped by to check boats earlier this week near the mouth of Big Sandy. He had checked some 80 crappie fishermen by midday and had seen very few fish. The largest stringer he had seen between Sulphur Well Island and the mouth of Big Sandy was a mere seven.

    It was another day of high winds and a cold front so the fish were tightlipped that day for most anglers.

    TWRA boating officer Jim Napier checked me on Saturday and said he had checked some 26 boats and confirmed the slow reports from crappie anglers. He had seen one boat with seven fish and most had only three or four in the cooler.

    There have been some better stringers taken in the last few days but crappie fishing is in need of some warm sunshine and light winds. This next week should see improvement for most anglers.

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Also check out our past:
Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Steve McCadams
 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.
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