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May 23, 2013
FULL MOON SHINES ON BEDDING BLUEGILL…LAKE LEVELS BACK TO NORMAL
For the first time this spring Kentucky Lake is resting at normal summer
pool level. Last year the reservoir never reached summer pool during
prime spring fishing and this year it’s been higher than a hawk’s nest
for quite a spell.
The fishing scene has been good this week for those bronze bombers,
better known as bull bream, who have been actively bedding for the last
three weeks but watch for action to really peak this weekend as another
full moon will coincide with the popular Memorial holiday weekend.
Bass have held up well too and numerous success stories continue to come
in from anglers tossing a variety of lures in several different
patterns. Crappie perked up too as more fish are pulling back to
midrange depths and showing an interest to hide around structure now
that changing lake stages have quit throwing them off.
Catfish are still hitting good and in the spawning phase as they prowl
around bluegill beds and move up toward rocky banks to spawn.
After a few days of thunderstorms and unruly winds, weather conditions
have settled down and it appears some good fishing days are in the
forecast. When you mix good weather with stable lake levels the
combination should produce some good fishing for a wide variety of
anglers this next week.
Lake levels are projected to be stable going into the weekend at both
Kentucky Dam and upstream in the New Johnsonville sector. TVA predicts a
normal supper pool reading of 359 at Kentucky Dam and 359.1 at New
Surface temperatures have been hanging around the 69 to 72 degree range
this week. Water color is clear throughout most of Big Sandy with a
slight stain remaining throughout the main Tennessee River and its bays
but a good overall color for fishing.
While several species are biting the leader of the pack is none other
than the territorial bull bluegill and shellcracker that have really
gone on a spring fling this week. The fish are actively fanning beds and
spawning is underway as is usually the case in late May when the fish
make another blitz during the full moon phase.
Good numbers of hefty size bluegill have been caught this week in 2 to 5
foot depths. Baits of choice have been crickets, wax worms and redworms
but some fish are aggressive enough to bite artificial grubs and larva
imitations as well.
Shellcracker seemed to reenter the picture this week with a vengeance as
more were showing up than last week in the coolers of panfishermen
working weedbeds, gravel bars and edges of buck bushes. The fish really
moved with the falling water last week and vacated the premises from
weeks earlier when high water had inundated shoreline cover.
Most of the bedding is now taking place in traditional zones that are
just slightly off the shorelines and on those gravel and mud mixed flats
with a little submerged grass mix in too.
Bass action was good this week around the outside edges of buck bushes
and weedbeds as falling lake levels pulled fish out of the thick cover.
Places that were holding good fish last week are now without water or
There is a lot of submerged eel type grass beginning to show up and fish
are relating to it quite well. Tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged claws
and worms, topwater jerk baits and fluke style choices have been
productive as have some buzzbaits.
Some of the bigger stringers are coming from secondary sandbars and
points where fish are pulling out and staging in a typical post-spawn
pattern. Popular choices have been Carolina rigged craws, lizards, and
worms along with big deep diving crankbaits and jig and pig combos.
The drop-offs protruding from main shorelines and spawning areas are
holding lots of fish in the 7 to 12 foot depths, especially if deeper
water is nearby.
With lake levels at summer pool or perhaps rising slightly in the days
ahead due to rains upstream, the shallow bite should hold up well for
quite some time. It’s that time of the year when a lot of fish will stay
shallow but backing off the banks for bigger fish is a popular pattern
Crappie improved this week as more fish were showing up in the stakebeds
and brushpiles residing in 11 to 14 foot depths. Numbers should really
improve in the weeks ahead as more fish leave the shallow shorelines to
fall back to their late spring pattern after a long scattered spell. The
extended period of high water really had fish roaming but watch for a
significant improvement now that conditions are back to normal.
Catfishermen have enjoyed another good week as their favorite fish has
really been on the prowl. Good numbers were taken around shallow bushes
and weeds this week where the fish were no doubt feeding on bluegill fry
and the other critters that feast on their eggs.
Rocky shorelines continue to attract big females that are egg laden and
looking for crevices to deposit their bounty. Nightcrawlers have been
the best bet lately but chicken livers and shad guts have worked too.
The overall fishing scene has been good this week across Kentucky Lake
and next week looks promising thanks to a nice weather forecast and
normal lake stages. From bedding bluegill to aggressive bass, seems
several different species are in the mood to tangle with anglers as the
unofficial kickoff to summer begins.
Here’s hoping you find the fish of your choice awaiting your arrival
this week. Things look pretty good so don’t let anything interfere with
your fishing plans. Time, tide and the fish wait on no man!
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.