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Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 1st, 2007
SPAWN COMES EARLY FOR CRAPPIE...WARM
SPRING HAS ANNUAL RITUAL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE...;LAKE LEVELS WILL BEGIN
RISING ON TVA CURVE...BASS STILL GOOD IN SHALLOW ZONES, ROCKS, GRASS.
Daylight savings time
came early this year and so has the crappie spawn. All fishing patterns
seem to be ahead of what's considered normal time frames here on
Warm weather with
near record highs lately has advanced the biological clock for both bass
and crappie this spring.
It's ahead of schedule but crappie spawning is
underway here in the Big Sandy portion and around the Paris Landing
sector of Kentucky Lake. Surface temps are up to 68 to 70 degree range
in many areas and even warmer in the upper end of Big Sandy and portions
of West Sandy.
Last week anglers
were finding fish blitzing toward shallow zones as spawning appeared to
start in the 3 to 5 foot areas. Extremely clear water color has most
anglers dropping back and casting curly tail jigs, tube skirts, Road
Runners, and Charlie Brewer Crappie Sliders to shallow submerged
There were some
cloudy days with wind that helped anglers using vertical techniques over
submerged structure, however. Fish seemed to really load on when
1/16-ounce jigs were placed over and around beds.
Crappie fishing was very good all of last week
here and large numbers of fish were taken all across the area. Several
limits were showing up at the cleaning tables on a daily basis.
Heavy rains last
Wednesday and high winds on Saturday have teamed up to add some stain
to the shallow bays across the reservoir as runoff may work in favor of
shallow water anglers.
Some good stringers
were coming from manmade fish attractors in 7 to 11 foot depths as well.
Casting also proved to be the popular technique there as vertical
presentations were less productive due to the clear water and no wind
situation that made fish quite spooky.
numbers of fish were showing up near Mansard Island and the TVA Power
Lines where anglers were drifting, slow trolling, and spider rigging. A
lot of suspended crappie were being caught as anglers pulled jigs
through 7 to 12 foot depths out over much deeper water.
Hefty stringers of
crappie were also coming from the New Hope, Country Junction area of the
upper Big Sandy River. Crappie there were coming from structure located
in three to five foot depths.
I found fish quite aggressive last week as
Tuesday through Saturday saw fish attempting to spawn in 5 to 9 foot
depths with a lot of dark male crappie coming from 3 to 5 foot ranges.
This is one of the earliest spawns I've seen since 1985 as that year saw
warm weather also arrive early and fish spawned ahead of normal time
The fish are really
on the move as a variety of techniques are working at several different
depth zones but the rapid increase in surface temperatures really has
the fish heading toward spawning zones.
Some good stringers
were taken in the main lake where anglers were vertical fishing deep
ledges in the 18 to 24 foot last weekend. However, each passing day has
seen more fish leave the deeper venues and head shallow as things are
Warm days and light
winds have been kind to anglers and fishing has been good. Most anglers
are saying it has been one of the best March months in decades as to
overall weather and fishing conditions.
Peak spawning time
occurs when surface temps reach the 62 to 66 degree range. It appears
the crappie spawn will be a week early this year compared to the usual
The fish don't have
calendars. However, they respond to warm water, length of day, etc...and
this year's extended warm spell has lingered long enough to speed things
up ahead of schedule.
Lake levels rose
slightly late last week in the aftermath of Wednesday's heavy rain but
have stabilized. However, according to TVA's forecast elevation at
Kentucky Dam will be in the 355.7 range on Monday/Tuesday. Upstream at
New Johnsonville elevation is expected to be 355.4 the next few days.
Those readings are a few inches above the low ebb of winter pool but
close 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.
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. And, stakebeds and
brush in 4 to 8 foot zones will continue giving up fish in the early
morning and late afternoon lowlight conditions.
Male crappie have
really turned dark the last few days as their hormonal changes kicks in.
That's a sure sign the spawn is now underway.
Females are showing
good egg sacs as bellies are bulging on many fish. Many fish are
sporting mushy eggs that are ready to be deposited as the cleaning
tables are telling the day by day story.
Popular jig colors
have been white/chartreuse, purple/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 with red sparkle
also worked well.
Shiner minnows tipped
on jigs seemed to also entice bites now and then as did adding Berkley
Power bait and other scent attractants.
Bass continue to
come on strong as those gravel points, big chunk rock, roadbeds, and
sloping points are giving up some hefty stringers.
Some fish have been
taken on topwater jerk baits already as wood structure and dead grass
has given up bass on spinnerbaits as well.
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
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
Fishing is good as
both bass and crappie anglers continue to enjoy an early spring here
with good weather.
For The Lake Barkley Report
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.