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June 12, 2013


Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has been hot for quite a spell but things really heated up this week as temps climbed into the low 90’s at midweek, giving anglers an early dose of summer fishing conditions even though it’s still officially spring.

Fishing has held up well this week despite the heat as some gentle breezes mixed with a few clouds so it hasn’t been too bad out there. And, whenever the fish are biting anglers can tolerate most anything.

Lake levels were some 18 inches to two feet above normal summer pool this week but were falling slowly as TVA attempts to pull the reservoir back down. Heavy rains last week to our north had the Mississippi River high and TVA was unable to discharge much water which caused Kentucky Lake to rise again and swell above normal.

Elevation climbed to 361 at Kentucky Dam earlier this week (normal summer pool is 359) but is expected to be 360.5 as the weekend approaches with a gradual drawdown expected for the next several days. Upstream at New Johnsonville elevation will be 360.7 this weekend.

Water color has been quite clear across most of the reservoir. Surface temperatures this week warmed into the 79 to 83 degree range.

Early summer fishing patterns are well underway for bass fishermen who are stalking the main lake ledges with big deep diving crankbaits, Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged craws, and jig and pig combos. There have been some hefty stringers taken this week and most tournaments are requiring 23 to 24 pounds to win. Not bad for a 5-fish limit this time of year.

With the high lake levels this week there have still been some shallow fish taken too as anglers are tossing spinnerbaits, topwater, and Texas rigged claws and worms around river islands where buck bushes and blowdown trees are holding some bass.

Small pin minnows or fry are beginning to school around shallow grass and buck bushes offer abundant forage for small bass. As the fry mature watch for some bigger fish to begin feeding off the schools of minnows, especially with current entering the picture and pushing the bait tight to cover around island points next week.

Current will likely improve the ledge fishing too as bass should school or relate to the down current sides of submerged structure in the days ahead.

Crappie fishing has been good this week with some coolers full taken back in the bays where the higher lake levels have provided a comfort zone. Submerged stakebeds and brushpiles in depths of 12 to 16 feet have been productive.

There have been some nice catches taken out on the main lake area too but fish there have been more scattered due to the high water keeping good numbers of crappie back in bays. Watch for those main lake flats and drop-offs to improve next week once lake levels begin to fall back toward normal summer pool, a scenario that will pull fish out of shallow venues soon.

Crappie have been hitting jigs tipped with live minnows. And, a lot of fish are hitting jigs tipped with Berkley Power Bait too. Popular colors have ranged from black/red to chartreuse/blue, red/white, and several variations of clear with glitter.

Anglers can expect the June bite to hold up well for several more weeks but watch for more fish to transition toward summer patterns as surface temps rise.

Some late bedding bluegill were still hitting this week as anglers found them off the banks and out in 5 to 7 foot depths at times. Not many fish were taken in shoreline cover as was the case a few weeks ago. The bluegill will continue to scatter and move toward deeper areas too as they roam and await some early Mayfly hatches that are fast approaching.

Catfish continued to surprise crappie anglers and put a real bend in poles this week when they slammed jigs around those midrange stakebeds. A lot of catfish are holding in the 10 to 15 foot depths. A few boats were jug fishing and catching decent numbers while baiting with nightcrawlers.

The overall fishing scene has been a good one despite higher lake levels and rising temperatures.

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