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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
April 22, 2010


Bass on Kentucky Lake appear to be on the bed and the shellcracker and bluegill are on the threshold. Crappie are on the back side of peak spawn but the bite is still on in midrange depths.

Thatís the fishing scene this week as things are about on schedule at Kentucky Lake. Itís pretty much tradition for shellcracker and bluegill to approach shallow areas in late April and begin the early phases of spawning.

Last weekís warm weather really stimulated movement and heated up shallow water, bringing big female bass to shorelines and bluegill and shellcracker to shallow gravel bars and pockets.

Bluegill have been seen in big numbers this week staging around docks and piers. Watch for significant movement toward shallow bedding areas next week and it appears some shellcracker are already up shallow and about ready to begin spawning.

Crappie action picked up this week, despite a cool front and north winds that made it feel more like fall than spring. Several days required a heavy jacket on the lake as both the fish and the wind had a bite to it.

A few fish appear to be in the late phases of spawning but this springís clear water has influenced the depth range and location as many shallow areas that attracted fish in times past have been void of activity.

Seems more crappie have spawned in 10 to 14 foot depths this spring as the clear water allowed sunlight to penetrate to deeper structure and their needs were met far away from shorelines and shallow cover.

In my 37 years as a guide here on Kentucky Lake I canít recall seeing crappie spawn this deep. I have taken very few fish in depths less than 10 feet deep during the month of April, a scenario that is most unusual.

There was a time when dingy water was the norm here and most fish came to shallow shorelines filled with buck bushes, shallow stumps, and trees to broadcast their eggs. Fishing visible structure was a bit easier for most anglers but times have changed.

Several decent stringers were taken this week from submerged structure such as stakebeds and brushpiles in 11 to 14 foot depths. A few scattered fish occupied cover in 7 to 10 foot depths but most fish chose deeper areas in the Paris Landing area and throughout most of Big Sandy and West Sandy.

A few fish were still lingering on main lake ledges too as anglers found fish in 15 to 19 foot depths but somewhat scattered.

Up Big Sandy the shallow bite seemed to fall off this week for most anglers who were able to find shallow fish taking jigs cast under slip bobbers or around shallow stakebeds last week in 2 to 5 foot depths.

Techniques such as long-lining curly tail grubs and Road Runners continued to produce good stringers this week in depths of 12 to 15 feet in the mid section of Big Sandy. A few good stringers were taken south of the power lines around Mansard Island at midweek and also up around New Hope.

Spider rig styles have worked too as have casting jigs around some deeper stakebeds and stumps. That clear water seems to make the fish more finicky and a slow moving bait has been appealing for both suspended fish in deeper water and around shallow cover but back away from the boat.

While there have been some good catches taken this week, scores of crappie fishermen have had tough luck overall. Numbers have been off this spring compared to previous years and while limits have been hard to come by for most, there have been enough good fish taken to keep interest levels high.

Surface temps have been on a roller coaster this week as a cool spell made its presence known. Temps have rebounded dramatically the last few days but fell from 72 down to 65 earlier this week. At midweek, however, the warm up was underway and temps will likely climb to the 73 to 75 degree range in the days ahead.

Lake levels are up a few inches from last week at this time. Elevation at Kentucky Dam is expected to be at 358.6 this weekend. Upstream at New Johnsonville readings are forecast to be in the 358.4 range.

TVAís curve projects the summer pool reading of 359 by May 1 each year and the reservoir appears to be headed that way and on schedule barring any heavy rains within the next week.

Bass fishermen are reporting lots of small fish around shallow pockets and bays, a likely result of male buck bass on the prowl while the larger females turn a blind eye to most lures.

With rising lake levels slowly creeping up on shorelines watch for that dead grass and yellow flower pattern to emerge by next week. Tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms and lizards, along with imitation crawfish will produce strikes.

Itís topwater time too so the floating worms and jerk baits, along with some buzzbait choices will begin producing as well. That clear water is nice for topwater techniques this time of year!

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.
Gone Fishing