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April 1, 2012
SENSATIONAL SPRING FISHING LINGERS
What has been one of the best March months ever experienced here on
Kentucky Lake is about to say goodbye and anglers better tip their hat
as it walks out the door.
March is normally a month full of wind and changing weather, a scenario
that also influences lake levels. This year it was an exception with
several days of record high temperatures and light winds that delivered
fantastic fishing conditions for bass and crappie anglers.
As April enters the fishing scene anglers can only hope the weather is
half as good as it has been throughout March. In fact, later next week a
cold front is already in the long range forecast. Meanwhile, fishing
continues to hold up quite well as big number of crappie are coming in
and hefty stringers of bass are showing up as well.
Surface temperatures this week have been in the 65 to 68 degree range.
Wednesday set another record for high temperatures in the region as the
mercury climbed to 85 degrees.
Water color has been clear in most areas as TVA has been slowly lowering
lake levels all week and that has pulled any stained water out of
shallow bays and pockets. On April 1 each year TVA begins its annual
curve for reservoir filling so anglers can expect a slow rise in the
days and weeks ahead.
Presently, elevation at Kentucky Dam is 355.2 but lower upstream at New
Johnsonville where the reading was 354.8. TVAís projected curve sets May
1 as the target date for summer pool elevation of 359, depending of
course on rainfall across the region.
Crappie are showing up in big numbers and even though a lot of fish are
shy of the 10-inch minimum length limit there are still significant
numbers of fish eligible for the cooler. In fact, many boats have
reported catches of well over 100 fish per day and while several crappie
were culled, anglers were taking it all in stride and happy to see the
different year classes as the future indeed looks bright.
Popular depth ranges this week have been 7 to 12 feet but there are a
few reports of slabs coming from very shallow structure up Big Sandy and
in some areas around Paris Landing. A few boats were scoring decent
numbers around New Hope and in West Sandy at the same time successful
stories were coming from the power lines in Big Sandy and further north.
Not all the fish are shallow either as a few boats continued to land
some keeper size fish from main lake ledges in depths of 14 to 16 feet
Falling lake levels this week have likely pulled a few shallow crappie
away from gravel banks and shallow structure as some boats were catching
them while casting jigs and minnows earlier in the week. Fish appeared
to back off to slightly deeper water and midweek or occupy stumps,
stakebeds, and brushpiles that were in close proximity to deep water.
Itís that time of year when crappie are really on the move and itís not
unusual for a variety of depths and patterns to produce at the same
Just this week coolers full of crappie have come in from boats that were
slow trolling spider rigs or pulling long lines over flats and deep
channels where some crappie were suspended and staging before moving up
to spawn. At the same time anglers vertical fishing jigs and jigs tipped
with minnows were scoring big numbers while stalking manmade fish
attractors in a variety of depth ranges but favoring the 7 to 12 foot
Road Runners and various curly tail grubs have been producing for the
trolling techniques while drift boats have been using slip-bobbers armed
with tube jigs or live minnows. Popular color combos have ranged from
purple/clear sparkle to red/chartreuse, red glitter and white, and blue
As to spawning it appears a few fish have already dropped eggs and some
are now in the process as warm surface temperatures have been around now
for over two weeks. Male crappie are darkening as hormonal changes
signal spawning time but there are a few females holding out away from
shallow shorelines and flats and they will likely move up any day.
Not all fish spawn at the same time and while the popular peak occurs
here once surface temps stabilize in the 62 to 66 degree range, a few
late spawners are likely to hold eggs for another week or two.
Bass activity has held up well this week and some anglers reported
seeing bass occupying bedding areas last week but fish seemed to back
away from those areas this week. Falling lake levels may have
contributed to that to some degree but no doubt the bass are ahead of
schedule this spring as to their prespawn phases.
Some good numbers of fish were taken this week but it appeared anglers
were having trouble catching larger fish. The big females may have
already had a mood swing in some early bedding attempts as they can get
finicky. Several veteran bass anglers reported tough sledding this week
in their quest to find big fish.
Still, anglers were tying into some decent fish in shallow pockets near
spawning areas. A lot of anglers were tossing shallow running crankbaits
and swim baits in shad colors. Rocky points and gravel banks were still
producing but some fish are relating to just mud banks and pockets where
little structure exists and no doubt staging there before moving up to
fan beds nearby.
A few bass we relating to sloping points where shallow sandbars adjacent
to deep water were attractive as they moved up to feed in lowlight
conditions. Tossing Rattle Traps and Carolina rigged craws were
producing in such spots as were jig and craw combos and Alabama rigs
sporting shad colored swim baits.
April will no doubt deliver some good fishing conditions but it has
certainly been March to remember.
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.