WILL SPRING FINALLY GET HERE AND STAY HERE? ANGLERS HOPE SO.
Was that fall or spring that arrived back in late March? Kentucky Lake
anglers have been a bit confused lately. Northeast winds and below
average temperatures pestered fishermen again this week.
March was mean. April, at times, has been awful. Maybe, just maybe, May
will be mellow.
It appears good weather is on the threshold as warm conditions are
forecast to arrive this weekend, paving the way for better fishing.
Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid 70ís the next few days
and reach the low 80ís next week.
Stability has not been in the cards lately as a drastic drawdown in lake
levels this week, coupled with high winds and low temps kept most
fishermen off balance. The fish have been confused too!
TVA really pulled the plug this week, dropping lake levels by some six
inches on several consecutive days after last weekís surge. The
reservoir is back down to normal summer pool now and projected to sleep
there for a spell.
Elevation will be 359.3 at Kentucky Dam this weekend and 359.2 upstream
at New Johnsonville. Normal summer pool is 359.
Surface temperatures have reflected the unusual weather with below
normal readings all week. Readings at midweek were 65 to 67 but will
likely rebound this weekend by several degrees, crossing the 70 degree
threshold on Saturday. Water color has been a bit stained at the mouth
of Big Sandy but clear elsewhere.
Bluegill and shellcracker activity has been sluggish to get started as
early spawning phases usually kick in during the last week of April.
That has not been the case this year. Both species are in a better mood
when surface temps climb into the 72 to 74 degree range.
Watch for a jumpstart this weekend and real improvement by early next
week as warmer weather takes command. The biological clock has been off
a bit. The powerful panfish have not been fanning beds but that is about
Crappie have been scattered and finicky this week, which is not
surprising given the unusual weather and lake level changes. And, they
typically have a mood swing once post spawn time rolls around so it has
been tough sledding out there lately and a pretty challenging one all
spring for most folks.
After spawning the fish often display a stressed mood for a few weeks
but should improve slowly as May advances. Right now they arenít
relating very well to structure and kind of roaming or suspended.
There are more than a few fishermen who feel the crappie population is
in trouble and suffering from diminished numbers. Others experienced
short periods of activity earlier this spring up Big Sandy but since
that brief honeymoon the overall picture has been somewhat blurred.
Bass fishermen had a unique week as well. Patterns really changed during
the rapid rise last week as fish blitzed toward shoreline buck bushes,
willow trees and grassbeds for a few days. Once TVA opened the gates and
started spilling water the rapid decent pulled bass back outside
Spinnerbaits and Texas rigged worms and lizards had been producing as
were jig and craw combos and some topwater. However, the cool snap and
falling water curtailed some of the shallow activity the last few days.
Several boats are banging away at sloping points and some ledges with
Carolina rigs, big crankbaits and rattle trap style lures. No doubt a
few fish have pulled back and staged in deeper depths since last week at
this time. Still, small feeder creeks in pockets were still appealing to
fish that were ready to move up and begin spawning.
Shallow weeds and bushes could see bass return now that lake levels have
stabilized and surface temps are on the rebound.
Catfish were taken last week in big numbers around shallow shoreline
cover when the lake was rising. They too have pulled back since lake
stages receded. Watch for a sprint toward rocky banks and shallow venues
next week as their spawning phases are about to accelerate.
Soon bluegill anglers with their light tackle will be tying into hefty
catfish on the prowl, searching out spawning spots and feeding on
bluegill eggs and newly hatched fry.
If the weather forecast holds true it may well seem more like summer
than spring by early next week. It could finally be time to say goodbye
to the overcoat, sweater and long sleeve shirt!
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.