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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
March 17, 2010

Spring officially arrives on Saturday and the change in season will coincide with a welcomed warm spell that will likely stimulate movement toward shallow water for bass and crappie.

Earlier this week a cool spell chilled the fishing scene but watch for action to rebound quickly this week as fish respond to rising surface temps.

Crappie are in their prespawn phase and waiting to stair-step their way toward spawning areas.

Surface temps earlier this week were resting around the 50 degree range but will likely creep up to the mid 50's by this weekend. Water color is in good shape across most of the area with a slight stain in the mouth of Big Sandy and a bit more dingy color up Big Sandy and into West Sandy.

Lake levels have risen slightly the last few days but TVA is predicting a slow fall going into the weekend.. Presently, readings at Kentucky Dam are in the 354.9 range. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation was expected to be 355.1. Those readings are up a few inches from last week at this time.

Kentucky Lake's elevation will remain near the low ebb of winter pool until April 1st at which time TVA begins its annual curve for reservoir filling. At this time a slow rise will begin until May 1st, which is the target day for summer pool elevation of 359 feet above sea level.

The elevation curve, however, is subject to rainfall. Just how much fluctuation depends both on rainfall here in the TVA valley and what happens as to flooding scenarios on both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers since the Tennessee River flows north.

Meanwhile, the crappie bite has improved with some good size fish coming from deep ledges in Big Sandy. Depths of 18 to 22 feet have been popular this week and the fish are hefty. Their bulk appearance shows there's a good shad population and the fish are putting on the feed bag in preparation for spawning.

Techniques ranging from drifting to slow trolling and vertical fishing both double-hook bottom bumping rigs and jigs over manmade structure have produced. Generally speaking, more fish are relating to the deeper areas at this time.

Live minnows have worked well but some anglers are tipping jigs with minnows. Those fishing just jigs are crediting such color combos as red/chartreuse, brown/orange, and some blue/pearl just to name a few.

Activity has improved at the mouth of Big Sandy and in the Paris Landing area since last week. And, anglers are still finding fish in West Sandy and throughout the Britton Ford and Springville pumphouse sector as well. A lot of true black crappie are being caught.

Several crappie were taken in the 8 to 10 foot depth range earlier this week. Some spots that were void of fish last week were beginning to harbor crappie around submerged structure.

Areas between Sulphur Well Island and the power lines in Big Sandy have been producing fish this week. A lot of boats entered the Swamp Creek and Elkhorn basin this week as those areas opened up to access within the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.

Big bass are already showing up as some heavy stringers have been taken the last few weeks. One recent tournament had a 9-pound plus largemouth taken. Winning stringers with a five-fish limit are requiring at least a 5-pound average if not more!

Popular techniques have been Carolina rigged lizards worked slowly on gravel points that slope into deeper water. Some of the larger fish have been hanging off the banks and anglers are backing off several boat links and fishing deeper.

Crankbaits in the shad and crawfish colors are producing too with a lot of smaller fish up on the gravel banks and points. Rattle traps have worked too as have some suspending jerk baits.

A few fish have taken jig and pig combos and Texas rigged crawfish imitations. Although the spinnerbait and topwater bite has yet to materialize, that will change soon as surface temps climb and fish head shallow and become more active.

Wind has been a factor a few days but that's to be expected in March. After pesky north winds earlier this week it appears a south to southwest breeze will enter the picture for the next few days, delivering a welcomed warm up.

Spring officially arrives Saturday. Both the fish and the fishermen are about to break loose as fishing fever spreads.

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.
Gone Fishing