Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 23rd, 2004
WEATHER WORN ANGLERS CHALLENGE ELEMENTS
Fishermen along Kentucky Lake would like to battle the bass,
crappie, catfish, and bluegill. However, most have been battling the
wind and weather.
Gale winds, mixed with some heavy rain, have given anglers yet
another hurdle during a spring that has been unkind. Several days this
week winds have been in the 15 to 20 mile per hour range and that puts
whitecaps all over the lake and eliminates a lot of fishing territory.
Bass fishing has held up pretty good while crappie fishing has been
somewhat below average for most of the reservoir. Catch rates per hour
have been down compared to years past.
This past week many visitors to the area were heading home early,
disappointed by the lack of fish and abundance of wind and rain.
The persistent cold fronts have tampered with crappie spawning
phases. There has not been a major movement by the fish toward spawning
structure, as many have remained suspended at various depths throughout
Big Sandy and West Sandy.
Yet there are always a few people who find fish. In fact, a few
trollers and drift-style crappie fishermen continue to find fish playing
their game. Thatís because these type anglers cover a lot of water and
find a scattered fish now and then.
There have been some nice crappie taken behind the levee in West
Sandy this week. Many fishermen have attempted to dodge the wind by
working the visible cover behind Springville pumphouse as there is a lot
of water still in the wildlife management area.
TVA is presently pumping water out of the bottom in an attempt to
dewater the area for waterfowl management and planting but heavy rains
have seen a lot of runoff.
Bank fishermen might find fish at the discharge area there at the
pumphouse too. Normally, a lot of shad are present there when pumps are
running so crappie and catfish anglers take note!
And, thereís even been some night fishing taking place by crappie
anglers, a technique or style growing in popularity here due to the
clear lake conditions. Clear water makes fish go deeper during the day
and take on a finicky behavior pattern. They are light sensitive so
thatís a factor in their whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Lake levels continue to rise and have been
somewhat ahead of the TVA curve this week for reservoir filling. Thereís
been a lot of rain this week throughout the TVA valley so look for lake
levels to continue to rise.
Lake levels going into the weekend will be in the 358.8 range at
Kentucky Dam, which is only a few inches shy of the summer pool mark of
359. The lake isnít supposed to reach summer pool elevation until May 1
according to TVAís curve but heavy rains may see that change.
Upstream at New Johnsonville Steam Plant the elevation is expected
to be in the 358.2 range this weekend but will continue to rise.
Surface temperatures are in the 63 to 65 degree range. Watercolor
remains clear throughout most of the reservoir.
Crappie have been taken this week in the 8 to 12 foot zones by
anglers vertical fishing jigs over manmade fish attractors. Yet fish
there have been scattered. It appears there are a few late spawners
around the structure but the bulk of the fish have already spawned and
Some success stories continue from the power lines and upper Big
Sandy as anglers troll spider rigs or drift over main lake flats where
fish are suspended in 8 to 12 foot depths over 15 feet of water.
Baits such as Road Runner jigs, tube and twister tail grubs, and
live minnows are producing. Popular colors have been pearl, chartreuse
with glitter, and some clear with sparkle.
A few dark male crappie are still lingering in the shallow submerged
structure and taking live minnows and jigs. Yet the fish have been
finicky in their bite, taking baits reluctantly with light strikes.
Look for crappie to remain scattered throughout next week as the
post-spawn phases take their toll on the fish. By early to mid May fish
will likely improve and return to a more structure-oriented pattern.
Bass fishing is holding up well and the rising lake levels have
inundated shoreline habitat such as dead grass beds, logs, stakebeds,
and other visible structure. Some fish are still relating to gravel
banks, points, and roadbeds or rip rap levees.
Look for bass action to improve this week around buck bushes and
other shoreline cover where fresh water will offer spawning bass new
A variety of lures are producing bass right now. Popular choices are
floating worms and jerk baits such as the topwater chuggers like Stormís
Chugg-Bug, Bagleyís Bango lure, and Rebelís Pop-R, just to name a few.
Some fish are taking spinnerbaits in the chartreuse and blue-skirted
versions. And, Texas rigged worms and lizards in the red shad, green
pumpkin-pepper, and cotton candy are working too.
Carolina rigged worms and lizards are begging to appeal too as
anglers work sloping points where bass are staging in preparation for
short trips toward pockets for spawning.
Anglers are still tossing crankbaits in the crawfish and Tennessee
Shad colors around rock points and gravel banks.
A few hefty smallmouth continue to show up in the creel of
tournament anglers who are working finesse baits along the steep banks
of bays on the east side of the lake. Water is very clear there with a
lot of rock, a combo that appeals most to the bronzebacks.
Watch for bass action to improve even more next week as topwater
presentations, along with pitching jigs, lizards, and worms around
visible buck bushes and willow trees becomes the pattern.
Bluegill and shellcracker have entered the picture this week. Action
is improving in this department as many bank fishermen are finding
success by fishing crickets and worms in shallow grass and bays.
The shellcracker, biologically listed as the red ear sunfish,
usually goes on bed before the bluegill and that appears to be happening
now. The clear water may have moved the timetable up somewhat too.
Now is the time to dust off the light tackle and give the aggressive
panfish a try. The weeks ahead will be prime time for both bluegill and
shellcracker so stop by your local bait and tackle shop and stock up on
wax worms, redworms, and crickets.
Some sauger are showing up on gravel points already. And, catfish
will soon begin their annual migration toward rocky banks in search of
Watch for catfish action to turn on in the next two weeks around
shoreline rock and bluffs.
While crappie are on the backside of their unusual spawning phases
this spring, other species are doing well.
For The Lake Barkley Report
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.