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Steve McCadams'
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 21st, 2006



    Good weather continues to be on the side of anglers here at Kentucky Lake this week. In fact, temperatures have been above normal and downright hot this week as a few days were without a breeze, making it feel more like mid-summer.

    Crappie continue to hit good and anglers are reaping the benefits of several good year classes of fish. Overall it has been a good spring here and the fish continue to hit in a variety of depths, even though the lion’s share have completed the spawning ritual.

    A few late spawning fish are being taken in depths of  9 to 14 feet this week, which is far away from shoreline habitat and gravel banks. A lot of male crappie are still sporting that beautiful dark, purple color and will hold on to that appearance for a few more weeks until hormonal influences allow them to fade back to a pale white color.

    Some decent stringers continue to come from anglers working the main lake ledges in depths of 20 to 25 feet. Seems a few fish have spawned out in the main lake on relatively deep flats and returned to the deep structure now that spawning phases have passed.

    In fact, this week’s top fishing tale comes from Mayer’s Grocery in Springville where a huge slab crappie was weighed in last Saturday. The trophy fish tipped the scales at 3.47 pounds and was taken by Dean Shehorn of Chillicothe, IL. The weight was verified by Pat Mayer who weighed the fish on her certified scales there.

    Each spring Mayer’s Grocery hosts a big fish contest from March 1 through May 15. Fish must be weighed there and be alive to enter the contest. Needless to say, Shehorn’s big crappie is leading the contest.

    Details of the lucky angler indicated the big fish came from 26 feet of water out on Big Sandy. He was fishing a 1/16-ounce chartreuse split tail grub. Attempts to interview Shehorn and obtain a photo of the big fish have been unsuccessful thus far but I’ve got a call in to the lucky angler from the Land of Lincoln.

    Meanwhile, surface temperatures have warmed dramatically this week due to the hot weather and were in the 74 to 78 degree range at midweek.

    Water color is quite clear throughout most of the reservoir and rising lake levels have pushed what little stain was out there back into the creeks. Clear conditions throughout most of the peak spawning time have no doubt influenced many fish to deposit eggs in deeper depths.

    Elevation is still a few inches above normal for this period in April. TVA projections are for 358.4 at Kentucky Dam this weekend and 358.2 in the New Johnsonville area.

    In clear water sunlight penetrates deeper and most of the needs of the crappie have been met out in 9 to 14 foot zones so that’s where they’ve spawned. In years past Kentucky Lake had very stained water that brought crappie up around shoreline habitat such as buck bushes and willow trees.

    This year is a prime example the biological clock has been moved up compared to yesteryear as fish spawn long before water levels inundate shoreline habitat, which means the first two weeks or so of April.

    Yet post-spawning phases have been quite good this week as a lot of fish continue to relate to structure in-between shorelines and deep, main lake venues.

    Popular techniques have been vertical fishing small hair and tube jigs in the 1/32 to 1/16 ounce size around stakebeds and brushpiles. Tipping the jig with a minnow has enhanced appeal as the fish are a bit finicky, especially on the calm days and the live minnow seems to attract more bites.

    Color choices are ranging from black and chartreuse combos to dull red, green with metal flake, and some clear sparkle, yellow and pearl, and various shades of chartreuse with red metal flake in the skirt.

    Other productive techniques have been slow trolling multi-pole rigs, long-lining jigs, and drifting both jigs and minnows under bobbers. Look for action to hold up this next week too.

    Bass fishing has been improving around shallow shoreline habitat such as weed beds and some submerged logs and crappie beds. Those popular yellow flowers in shallow pockets just off the main lake have been holding some fish, especially if you find a deeper bank.

    Higher lake levels late last week had many bass moving up in response to the full moon and warming surface temperatures. Although most of the buck bushes and willow trees were a little shy of water, some outside cover was holding bass.

    Kentucky Lake is still a few inches shy of summer pool level this week and clear water conditions have made it tough to fish extremely shallow areas on those bright, sunny days. A little cloud cover and a rainy day could see bass move up fast and get on a shallow, topwater pattern.

    Fish were hitting floating fluke-style baits and some tube jigs, along with Texas rigged worms and lizards in such colors as green-pumpkin pepper, black, and red shad, just to name a few. Popular lures have been Storm’s Baby Brush Hog and the new plastic Sweet Beaver, which has the appearance of both a jig and lizard combo.

    Spinnerbaits are working well over weedbeds too. Some anglers are still working crankbaits around deep rock banks and roadbeds, along with Carolina rigged lizards.

   A lot of bass will be bedding in the next couple of weeks so watch for those shallow weeds and bushes to produce.

    Catfish are begging to prowl shallow areas and will be moving up to rock banks and other spawning territory in the next week to ten days.

    Bluegill are showing signs of aggression too as they head to shallow, gravel banks and weedbeds. Watch for spawning phases to begin for this popular panfish by early next week, along with improvement in the shellcracker department.

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Also check out our past:
Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Steve McCadams
 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.
Gone Fishing