LAKE LEVELS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE…CRAPPIE SCATTERED...BASS MOVING UP
Lake levels are ahead of schedule and will reach summer pool elevation
this weekend, which is more than a week ahead of schedule.
Anglers have been attempting to follow fish that are on the move and
scattered due to the rising lake levels. Both bass and crappie anglers
are adjusting their approach in an attempt to find roaming fish that
have thrown them a curve to some degree.
Surface temps responded to the warm weather this week and climbed into
the 68 to 72 degree range. Water color has cleared across most of the
Lake levels will be 359 this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream in the
New Johnsonville sector the elevation will be in the 358.7 range.
TVA says it is releasing minimum flows out of Kentucky Dam at this time
in order to conserve water as it has been a dry spring in the upper
portions of the watershed.
Rising lake levels this week have contributed to scattered crappie
patterns for most anglers. Spawning phases have been underway but it has
not been a typical spring as a lot of shallow areas that normally
attract fish have been unproductive.
The last few days more crappie have moved up the Big Sandy and anglers
were catching some in the 4 to 7 foot depth range above New Hope and the
Country Junction sector. West Sandy had a few fish moving up as well.
However, overall catches continue to be below Kentucky Lake standards.
In the Paris Landing sector crappie have been stubborn to move toward
shallow venues. A few big fish have been taken this week in 11 to 13
foot depths. Some slabs eclipsing the two pound mark have been taken
from deep depths and the lion’s share of big females had not spawned at
A trophy slab crappie taken by guide Shane Kendall at midweek tipped the
scales at 3.1 pounds at Buchanan Boat Dock. The fish was caught in a
13-foot stake bed. Meanwhile, just why more male crappie haven’t moved
up to shorelines and very shallow flats is somewhat of mystery as the
fish have not followed traditional routes and deviated from normal
Rising lake levels often cause fish to scattered and no doubt some
crappie that usually stage in the power lines area of Big Sandy have
moved up to the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy areas in the last few
days. Still, anglers in those areas are not catching big numbers as the
crappie saga continues.
The absence of boats in the mouth of Big Sandy and up around the power
lines near Mansard Island are telling the story. Normally an armada of
crappie boats are drifting and trolling across the main lake flats but
that has not been the case this year.
Long lining style fishermen had a day or two of success at midweek but
it was a short honeymoon. Some were pulling Road Runner style jigs over
11 to 13 foot depths and finding a few while most other style anglers
were recording mediocre results.
Boats vertical fishing jigs over stakebeds have landed some big fish at
times but numbers have been down as to the overall catch rate. The story
seems to be a lot of little fish and a few big fish at times but not
many midrange size fish to fill the cooler. No doubt numbers of midrange
keeper size fish are down all across the reservoir.
More fish should move up this weekend and occupy structure in 4 to 7
foot depths but with the clear water now dominating some fish may
deposit their eggs around deeper structure this spring.
Those anglers casting jigs around shorelines have not fared well. Yet
they are not alone in their dilemma this spring as all across the board
times have been tough. Most agree the crappie numbers are just not out
there and those mid-size fish classes are weak.
Bass fishermen should see more fish moving up to shoreline grass and
shallow bushes this weekend and early next week. Those abundant yellow
flowers are attracting lots of bass already. Even river islands are
holding some bass and more females are moving up and searching for
No doubt some bass will be bedding in the days ahead. The bays and
pockets off the main lake should really appeal to fish looking for
Tossing various topwater jerk baits, Texas rigged craws and worms,
spinnerbaits and buzzbaits should produce in the weeks ahead.
With the warming surface temps will also come shellcracker and bluegill
activity in the near future. Shellcreacker often begin their early
bedding phases in late April if warm weather holds on.
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.