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Steve McCadams'
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
March 23rd, 2007


   Great weather is in the forecast this weekend and spring officially arrived earlier this week. Temperatures are predicted to be in the mid to upper 70's for the next several days which should see a significant warm up in surface temps after last weekend's cool snap.

    Anglers had to battle high winds and cooler weather last weekend but after a brief hiatus it appears spring weather will work in favor of fishermen for quite a spell. Both crappie and bass anglers should see positive results as fish respond to the warming trend and head shallow with an aggressive bite.

    Crappie spawning time is rapidly approaching. If the warm weather stays around as predicted for another week, look for the fish to be somewhat ahead of schedule this year.

    Overall fishing is good for both bass and crappie at Kentucky Lake right now and it appears it will only get better this week, barring any high winds.

    Surface temperatures fell from a high of 57 last Friday to 52 by Monday morning but were rebounding each day. Expect to see temps climb into the 57 to 59 degree range by the upcoming weekend with a good possibility of some 60-degree plus water in shallows.

    Lake levels are relatively stable. Elevation at Kentucky Dam is 355.6 and up slightly form last week at this time. Upstream at New Johnsonville elevation was expected to be 355.1 in the next few days. Those readings are a few inches above the low ebb of winter pool but pretty much on track as to TVA's curve for reservoir levels during late March.

    Kentucky Lake's normal rise toward summer pool begins on April 1. At that time a gradual increase in lake elevation occurs, barring any drastic rains or floods upstream. The reservoir is slated to reach summer pool of 359 on or around May 1st each year.

    Water color remains clear in the main lake. Some stain is present in the upper ends of bays due to wind stirring up sediments on points but overall the reservoir is clear.

    In the crappie department it appears fish backed off the shallow venues over the weekend in response to the cold snap as more were taken in deeper depths earlier this week. However, earlier this week I found some fish moving back toward the 6 to 9 foot zones so fish are really on the move.

    There are still a lot of crappie lingering out on the main lake along sandbars and deeper flats. Depths of 18 to 20 feet produced fish the last few days.

    Crappie will likely move up toward the top sides of ledges and migrate over secondary flats this week as they head out toward spawning territory. Expect to see the 7 to 12 foot zone pay dividends in the next few days.

    Male crappie have shown signs of darkening pigment in just the last few days so the early phases of spawning are close at hand.

    Last week I did not see many male crappie showing hormonal changes and turning dark but the last few days has seen more and more males showing up with that purple tint, which is an indication the annual ritual is about to begin.

    Females are showing good egg sacs as bellies are bulging on many fish, although they're not quite at the point of spawning as eggs are still somewhat firm in many fish. Watch for rapid change this week as the fish will respond quickly when an extended spell of warm weather descends and sends surface temps rising into the low 60's.

    Most of the crappie are relating to structure such as brush, stumps, or manmade fish attractors. Not many crappie were holding on clean gravel banks the last few days but that too could change quickly as the males will often cruise and stage in such areas for a few days prior to spawning.

    Popular jig colors have been white/chartreuse, black/yellow, red/chartreuse, yellow with red metal flake, and some dull red/black combos with a touch of pearl mixed in. And, chartreuse/purple with sparkle also worked well.

    A few mornings I found crappie very finicky and simply removed jig skirts from leadheads and tipped with live shiner minnows to entice bites. It worked well when waters were very calm.

    Shiner minnows tipped on jigs seemed to also entice bites now and then as did adding Berkley Power bait and other scent attractants.

    Most anglers are vertical fishing deep ledges or manmade fish attractors to catch fish but calmer winds will allow drifting and spider rigged style techniques to produce this week as anglers can get back out on the open water and slow troll.

    With the clear water at hand casting jigs such as twister tail grubs, sliders or tube jigs under bobbers or just straight retrieves is another popular technique.

    Bass continue to come on strong as those gravel points, big chunk rock, roadbeds, and sloping points are giving up some hefty stringers.

    Baits of choice have been Rapala's Shad Rap and other assorted crankbaits in the shad and crawfish colors. And, several fish have been taken on suspending jerk baits such as Smithwick's Suspending Rogue and Bomber's Model A.

    It appears more smallmouth are showing up this spring than last year too. Several anglers are tossing hair jigs and other finesse baits around rock bluffs.

    One stringer taken last Saturday weighed in five smallmouth that tipped the scales at 27.05 pounds! It was taken by Hunter Garrett and Marshall Russell of McKenzie who won a Sportsman's Edge tournament and $6,000.

    Watch for increased activity around shallow structure this week as surface temps warm and bring more bass shallow where submerged grass and wood may attract fish chasing shad.

    Spring has sprung and the fishing patterns of both bass and crappie are responding to warming trends. Fish are on the move and hitting well.


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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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