Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
March 24, 2010
CRAPPIE IN PRESPAWN PHASE AS LAKE LEVELS RISE...BASS HEAD SHALLOW
Both lake levels and surface temps have been rising this week after last
weekend’s cool snap slipped in the door, bringing a short hiatus to
spring conditions. Earlier this week warm weather returned and delivered
nice fishing conditions as calm winds greeted anglers and daily temps
climbed to the upper 60’s.
Thunderstorms threatened for a day or so but the weather pattern is
typical March as changes are the norm this time of year.
In the aftermath of last week’s rains both here and to our north,
Kentucky Lake is rising daily and well above TVA’s normal curve for this
time of year.
The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to our north have experienced a lot of
runoff lately and that is also contributing to rising lake stages here.
Lake levels have been rising a few inches each day and TVA projects a
reading of 357.7 by this weekend at New Johnsonville. Kentucky Dam is
expected to be in the 357.8 range. Those readings are more than three
feet above winter pool and some two feet higher than last week at this
Surface temps were on a roller coaster this week and rebounded to the 55
to 57 degree range at midweek in the Paris Landing area. Up Big Sandy
surface temps were even warmer and dancing around the 56 to 58 degree
Water color is clear in most of the reservoir with a slight stain up Big
Crappie action has improved dramatically in the upper portion of Big
Sandy around New Hope Landing and toward Country Junction this week.
Rising lake levels and warmer surface temps stimulated movement of fish
to that area as they stage in preparation for spawning.
Good catches were reported the last few days with most boats slow
trolling jigs and minnows in a spider rig technique or drifting and
pulling long lines with Road Runners, twister tail grubs or hollow body
Paris angler Doug Muench reported a slab crappie caught Wednesday at New
Hope that tipped the scales at 3.05 pounds! Muench landed a limit as did
Jim Perry of Buchanan while slow trolling multipole rigs.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources boating officer Jim Napier reported
checking some 80 boats on Tuesday throughout Big Sandy and success
stories were few. Napier said the most fish he had seen were a few boats
topping out at 15 crappie.
On Wednesday the bite improved and he checked some 70 boats with several
reporting catches of 20 or more. However, it’s fair to say the overall
crappie bite thus far in the region has been off somewhat compared to
times past yet anglers know things can change quickly this time of year.
Down around Sulphur Well Island, Swamp Creek, and the power lines near
Mansard Island fish were also moving toward shallow areas. Catches there
were fair but not as consistent as the upper Big Sandy. Even West Sandy
was slower than the upper Big Sandy basin.
Down around the Paris Landing sector fish were still scattered with some
improvement coming from deep ledges where submerged structure in the 18
to 24 foot zone was giving up a few fish. Anglers were using bottom
bumping rigs with both jigs and minnows to entice finicky crappie.
Some boats were attempting to vertical fish jigs over manmade stakebeds
and brush piles but fish were reluctant and scattered in the 8 to 12
foot areas. Seems the fish are headed toward midrange cover but just not
there yet in the Paris Landing area whereas up Big Sandy the 8 to 12
foot zones were paying dividends.
No doubt fish are on the move and a few days of warm weather and some
sunshine will see a blitz toward shallow structure. In fact, on some
days the shallow bite will improve from morning to afternoon.
Popular jig colors have been red/yellow, orange/brown, red/chartreuse,
and some blue/chartreuse just to name a few.
Bass action has held up well this week and the rising lake levels are
also influencing largemouth to move up toward shallow flats where warmer
water in luring shad. The gravel banks, roadbeds, rip-rap and sloping
rock points are still holding fish.
Shallow running crankbaits such as Strike King, Rapala, and Bandit
brands have been popular choices in black/chartreuse, Tennessee shad,
blue/chrome, and crawfish variations.
Suspending jerk baits are still working too as are deep running
crankbaits off gravel banks. Some anglers are still tossing Carolina
rigged lizards and some jig and pig combos.
Watch for the spinnerbait bite to improve this week as additional
shallow habitat is inundated with rising water. Some dead grass along
shorelines could also be appealing areas to such lures as floating fluke
Many areas that were too shallow to fish a week ago will now be holding
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.