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Steve McCadams'
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
 May 23rd, 2003


     It’s one of the biggest weekends of the year for Kentucky Lake. From fishermen to pleasure boaters, lake dwellers will be out in force to partake of the popular Memorial Day holiday.

    Kentucky Lake’s elevation has been falling all week but last week’s quick rise sent lake levels more than eight feet above normal summer pool. That flooded campgrounds, boat ramps, marinas, and just about every low-lying lake access point in the area.

    Things are improving fast and most resorts and public launch ramps will be back to normal this weekend. Some campgrounds may be soggy but picnickers won’t let it dampen their spirits. Folks are ready to get the summer season started and this weekend seems to kick off the boating and overall summer recreational season.

    From the fishing scene comes improving news for bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill anglers who are eager to see lake levels return to normal.

    TVA has been spilling water all week and lake levels have dropped from eight to ten inches each day. This weekend, TVA indicates lake stages at New Johnsonville will be 363.4 but continue falling fast each day.

    At Kentucky Dam the projection for the weekend level is somewhat lower at 362.5. However, anglers can expect quite a bit of current in the main river channel and around islands as the water passes through.

    Watercolor is stained to muddy in the main lake but the backs of creeks and large bays has cleared quickly this week. The falling lake levels have pulled the dingy water out of most of the backwater bays.

    Bass fishing has been good as many anglers are tossing lizards, jig and pork, spinnerbaits, and some floating worms. A few fish are hitting topwater too as the water clears around buck bushes and grassbeds.

    With the falling water expect a lot of bass to pull off the banks and relate to outside structure such as deeper bushes, treelaps, or willows close to deeper water.

    Look for some good stringers to be taken this week. Some anglers are still tossing Carolina rigged lizards around sloping gravel points and main lake drops where the current is a factor. This technique has worked well for many tournament anglers lately.

    Meanwhile, they’re an abundance of shoreline structure for anglers to pitch and flip so you can pretty much pick the technique of your choice and find fish this week.

     Crappie are still scattered but a few are showing up on main lake drops and in deeper stakebeds and brushpiles. Depths of 20 to 22 feet on the main lake have produced a few scattered fish.

    Some beds in the bays and on main lake flats are holding a few scattered crappie too. Depths there range from 13 to 15 feet during the high water periods.

    There’s a few crappie scattered in the shoreline bushes in shallow water. However, it’s a one-here, one-there type situation.

    Bluegill continue to stay on the spawning beds and action has been good. There’s another week or two of fast action so don’t miss out on the fun.

    The fish are bedding on deeper banks and mostly outside of the normal bush or grassbed shoreline. You can find a few around willows and buck bushes, especially if you find a gravel bottom.

    Catfish have been hitting good but the high water really scattered them. Look for some action to resume on the rock banks this week as the water recedes. Nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and cut shad have been the bait of choice lately.

    With lake levels falling fast it makes fish behave differently and move around. However, you can still find some good action and often take advantage of the current and habits of the fish.

For The Lake Barkley Report
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For Other Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports
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Steve McCadams
 is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area and host of The Outdoor Channel's television series  IN-PURSUIT. 
Gone Fishing