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David and Hal from AR April 2017
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
CRAPPIE SPAWN RESUMESÖWACKY WEATHER WEEK ALTERS TIMETABLE
Kentucky Lakeís crappie spawning phases will resume later this weekend
and kick into high gear by early next week as warm weather is in the
Temps are predicted to stay in the upper 70ís to low 80ís beginning
Sunday and last several consecutive days, delivering an extended warm
spell that will trigger active spawning of Kentucky Lake crappie. The
fish and the fishermen have been a bit confused this week.
Although the areaís most popular panfish had the stage set to begin
early spawning phases as April rolled around, two nasty cold fronts and
several days of gale force winds curtailed activity and delayed the
timetable. It seems a dose of March weather slipped in the door and that
roller coaster roared on here in the first week of April as anglers had
a potpourri of weather patterns to deal with.
Cold northeast winds seemed to cool surface temps a few days just as the
water reached the 66 degree range. Crappie prefer stability of a 62 to
66 degree range for prime spawning phases but it takes more than just
one warm day to jump start the annual ritual.
With a good forecast on the horizon it appears next week should see
crappie make a blitz to shallow structure. Surface temps have fluctuated
this week, influence by cold winds and chilly nights. There were a
couple of nice warm sunny days and fishing responded favorably but the
bulk of the week had anglers donning overcoats and dodging nasty winds
that whipped up whitecaps.
Dogwoods are blooming, a clear indicator in the minds of many that
crappie are spawning. Some years that may be true but surface
temperature and stable weather patterns are two key indicators as to the
Several male crappie have transition toward shallow gravel banks this
week, another indicator the spawn is close at hand. A few bank fishermen
were landing crappie as they cast jigs beneath slip-bobbers around rocky
banks and structure in two feet of water.
Elsewhere across the Paris Landing sector decent stringers were taken in
the 4 to 9 foot depth range the last few days by anglers vertical
fishing jigs over stakebeds and brushpiles. A lot of crappie are
beginning to stage in the midrange depth zone before moving up early
next week when the warm spell gets here and stays here.
Other techniques producing have been long lining Road Runner style jigs
in the main lake areas where some boats found decent numbers still
lingering in deep water. Cold fronts earlier this week pulled a few
crappie back to deep venues where they are staging until that surface
Slow trolling jig and minnow rigs in a spider rig type presentation has
worked too as have crankbaits pulled across midrange depths on open lake
A few days when rare calm winds were present saw several fish taken in
the New Hope sector up Big Sandy. Dandy stringers were caught in 6 foot
depths. Similar results came for portions of West Sandy as well.
Popular jig colors have ranged from white/chartreuse to firecracker
glitter/chartreuse to blue/chartreuse just to name a few. Anglers are
experimenting with jig head colors too and often tipping with Berkley
Power Bait to entice strikes.
Fish should really take on a structure oriented mood this coming week
whereas the last week had seen several still suspended near main lake
river channel areas due to the cold snaps.
The back of Swamp Creek has yielded some decent catches lately as have
portion of Eagle Creek and Cypress here in the Paris Landing vicinity.
Itís that time when fish migrate back into large bays or work their way
on top of main lake flats searching for structure in which to drop their
Water color is relatively clear across the reservoir, which means
crappie can easily spawn out away from the banks and find their needs
met in 4 to 10 foot depths. Surface temps this week had started out the
mornings in 62 to 63 degree ranges and climbed to 66 by midday but cold
fronts stopped the progress when temps did some backsliding at midweek.
Lake levels have been relative stable this week and hanging around the
355.6 range at Kentucky Dam and a bit lower upstream at New Johnsonville
where reading were 355.5. TVAís curve for reservoir filling began April
1 so anglers can expect a slow but gradual rise in lake levels to occur
this next week.
A few 2-pound plus slab crappie have been taken this week as a lot of
those big females are bulging with eggs. Although a few fish may have
attempted to spawn earlier this week, it appears the bulk of the
population is right on the threshold and awaiting next weekís warmup.
Itís that time of year when anglers are trying many different depths and
techniques. At times about all of them produce too!
When fish are on the move and making that transition from deep main lake
venues to midrange flats via creek channel and secondary ditches itís
not unusual to hear about many different techniques fished in many
different depths. Thatís happening now.
With warming weather entering the picture anglers should have a good
week coming up. Donít let this prime time pass you by!
Bass anglers have also had to fight the wind and weather lately. Despite
last weekendís cold front a few dandy stringers were taken by tournament
anglers in the American Bass Association tournament out of Paris
Landing. A hefty stringer of 29 pounds plus won the event last Saturday!
And, it took over 25 pound to make the top 4 or 5 spots.
Most of the big stringers came from crankbaits worked on gravel banks to
jig and pig or jig and craw combos worked around shallow stumps.
A lot of fish will blitz back to shallow water this next week as surface
temps rebound. Lake levels are not quite high enough to inundate shallow
grasslines or outside bushes just yet but fish will stage on points near
feeder creeks or flats just waiting to move up.
Best be ready for battle. Looks like this next week could really see
things break loose and it appears the weatherman will be in a better
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.