CRAPPIE SPAWN NEARS…KENTUCKY LAKE ANGLERS ANXIOUS
Early April traditionally signals spawning time for Kentucky Lake’s most
popular panfish. It appears the timetable is about on schedule as
crappie will likely begin the first phases of spawning next week across
With longer days of warm sunlight and surface temperatures creeping back
into the low 60’s all signs point to active spawning phases. Anglers
have been anxious to get the show on the road for several weeks now.
Seems fishermen are always hoping to speed up the biological clock once
mid-March arrives and teases everyone with a warm day here and there.
Dogwoods and redbuds have been blooming and for a lot of old timers
that’s a clear sign but sometimes unusually warm weather arrives early
and sort of tricks the trees into premature start on spring.
March faded away Thursday and not a bit too soon for most anglers who
have ridden the weather roller coaster now for several weeks. A typical
week this year has seen one warm day and light winds with the rest
somewhat unruly. High winds and fluctuating temperatures have confused
both the fish and fishermen.
Hopefully April will bring more stability. March has a reputation for
wind and it sure lived up to it this year!
Not only are surface temperatures climbing but so have lake levels this
week. Just last week everyone was talking about how low the lake had
gotten once TVA pulled the plug and dropped the reservoir below normal
winter pool for a few days.
Lake levels began rising earlier this week even before TVA’s normal
timetable for reservoir filling arrived. Traditionally TVA begins
filling on April 1, allowing the reservoir to rise slowly throughout
April and achieve normal summer pool by May 1. Normal summer pool
elevation is 359.
Projections for the weekend indicate lake levels in the Kentucky Dam
area will be 355.9. Upstream at New Johnsonville the forecast is for
355.5 range. The current level is more than a foot above last week’s
readings at this time.
Water color is good across most of the reservoir. A slight stain is
present in the upper Big Sandy basin but still a good color for fishing
and much improved over the last week to ten days.
Surface temperatures have been on a see-saw chart the last week or so
due to cold nights and stubborn north winds that delivered chilly
weather. One day sunscreen; the next day overcoats and coveralls!
Last week surface temps jumped to the 61 degree range in the Paris
Landing area for a day or two but lost ground when a cold front stole a
few degrees and pulled readings back to the 55 to 57 degree range.
At midweek things had warmed a bit and climbed back to the 60 degree
range in the Paris Landing sector while the upper Big Sandy warmed even
more. Shallow water around the New Hope and Country Junction area had
crossed the 63 degree mark a week or so ago but didn’t stay there long
enough to jump start spawning.
Next week should open the gate and kick spawning phases into high gear
once the reservoir returns to the low to mid 60’s and stays there for
several consecutive days. Rising lake levels are likely to send more
crappie migrating back to the upper Big Sandy basin as well.
Anglers overall have battled high winds this past week and catch rates
have been somewhat below average, although the Saturday prior to Easter
and the Monday following delivered some rare sunny days accompanied by
light winds. Action improved on those days as the bite improved in
A few boats long lining and spider rigging south of the power lines in
Big Sandy landed some decent stringers last weekend and earlier this
week. Those vertical fishing jigs over stakebeds and brushpiles also saw
improvement. Depths of 8 to 12 feet were producing best but fish are
moving up each day.
Since midweek more crappie have stair-stepped their way toward spawning
areas and some are being taken in less than 5 feet in a few areas. Fish
are definitely on the move toward spawning zones.
Popular jig colors have ranged from black/chartreuse to chartreuse with
red glitter and cotton candy. As water color has cleared several anglers
have transitioned back to some dull color at times compared to a few
weeks ago when muddy water dominated.
Watch for more shallow action this week along gravel banks and shallow
stakebeds where casting jig or jig and minnows fish beneath slip bobbers
will begin to produce.
Crappie have been somewhat scattered and suspended this past week but
anglers should see a blitz toward spawning structure this week. That
biological clock is ticking!
Bass fishing has held up pretty good with the typical crankbait pattern
still producing. Those gravel banks and rocky points have been giving up
fish. In addition to shad colored variations a lot of bass anglers are
tossing big spinner baits, Alabama rigs and some jig and craw combos.
A few boats continue to stalk some main lake ledges and hope to find
some schooling fish there but most are targeting the shallow bite lately
and that should improve even more as lake levels rise and surface temps
Anglers are tipping their hat to April and waving goodbye to a mean
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.