Jordyn Riddick on spring break March 2014 with grandad
Crappie Action Guide Service
ANGLERS SAY GOODBYE TO A MEAN MARCH
If you plan on fishing during the month of March itís a good idea to
pack a snowmobile suit and suntan lotion; you never know which one you
might need! Such has been the case as Kentucky Lake anglers had another
week of March Madness in the form of sunshine, snow showers, cold winds
and a pleasant day or two sandwiched in there somewhere.
When will spring get here and stay for a spell? Thatís a question on the
minds of anglers this week and it appears some warmer weather is indeed
forecast for the weekend. The week started on a cold and clear note but
snow showers and gale north winds further added insult to injury on
Tuesday, keeping most boats at the dock or on the trailer.
To say that March has been brutal would be an understatement. Most
anglers will be glad to see it go and welcome April with open arms.
Surface temperatures across Kentucky Lake have been in the 49 to 53
degree range this week. Cold nights have kept the water chilled and
below average but watch for the weekend warm up to gradually improve
The weatherman promises temperatures will be in the upper 60ís and may
cross the 70-degree threshold as the weekend approaches. That will help
the attitude of both the fish and the fishermen, assuming high south
winds donít accompany the warming trend.
Lake levels have risen slightly the last few days for some unknown
reason and were forecast to be in the 355.4 range at Kentucky Dam.
Upstream in the New Johnsonville area elevation will be in the 355.1
Water color is in pretty good shape across the reservoir with a slight
stain throughout the Big Sandy and West Sandy area and also in the main
Tennessee River channel. Some bays are clearing up compared to last week
at this time with a little dingy water on shorelines where high winds
have whipped up sediments.
For most crappie fishermen it has been a sluggish start to a stubborn
spring. However, there have been some exceptions as late last week and
earlier this week some decent stringers were taken south of the power
lines in Big Sandy by an armada of boats trolling jigs.
Several boats reported limits taken while long-lining Road Runner style
jigs in depths of 15 feet but out over deeper water and around the old
Big Sandy river channel. Other techniques producing were spider-rig
style presentations and drifting or pulling multi-pole rigs.
Crappie have been scattered and suspended out over deeper areas, a
likely response to the colder weather that has kept them staging there
awaiting a warm up. For the most part fish have not been relating to
structure and riding out the inclimate weather in la-la land.
Popular colors for the army of trollers have been red/chartreuse,
blue/chartreuse and some Christmas tree glitter with a chartreuse tail
just to name a few.
Crappie fishermen stalking the stakebeds in midrange depths of 8 to 12,
along with others working deep ledges on main lake drop-offs have been
less productive. The fish in these areas have been very scattered and
catch rates have been low but improving.
Watch for a rapid change to take place in the next week to ten days once
warmer surface temperatures enter the picture. Crappie will make a blitz
toward structure soon and begin to stair-step their way toward spawning
territory once surface temps climb into the mid to upper 50ís.
Based on the present conditions it appears peak spawning will not take
place for another ten days to two weeks. Cold weather has pushed the
timetable back this year. Male crappie have not shown any hormonal
changes and that darker appearance that signals the early phase of
spawning has yet to present itself.
Spawning phases begin once surface temps reach the low 60ís but peak
phases kick in once the water warms into the 62 to 66 degree range and
stays there. Right now anglers need some stability in the weather to
further our cause.
Bass showed increased interest recently when a few rare days of sun
popped out and helped warm things. Some good size fish have been taken
lately on crawfish colored crankbaits, jig and pig combos, suspending
jerk baits, and both Carolina rigged craws and Alabama rigs with shad
Fishermen have been targeting some deeper venues where humps and ledges
out in the main lake have been holding fish during the cold weather but
there was an increase in shallow activity this week. Fish were showing
signs of moving up toward shallow gravel banks, sloping points, and
A few hefty fish were taken in shallow zones this week as the fish moved
up when sunny days warmed some of the dingy water in the backs of bays
too. The midweek cold snap brought a short hiatus to the shallow bite
but watch for things to rebound quickly by this weekend and into next
Kentucky Lakeís schedule for reservoir filling kicks in April 1 each
year so TVA will begin implementation of that next week. The curve is
designed to reach the summer pool elevation of 359, which would be about
four feet above present levels, by May 1 under normal conditions.
With rising lake levels and warmer temperatures teaming up anglers will
see a transition of fishing patterns taking place beginning early next
Wave goodbye to a mean March that has worn out its welcome. Now letís
hope itís not an awful April ahead!
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.