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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
March 24, 2010


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 time.

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 range.

Water color is clear in most of the reservoir with a slight stain up Big Sandy.

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 tube jigs.

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 style baits.

Many areas that were too shallow to fish a week ago will now be holding bass.

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