JUNE FISHING OFF TO HOT START
Seemed like summer already arrived here on the Kentucky Lake scene as
hot and humid days kicked the week off for anglers in the wake of the
Memorial Holiday period.
Surface temperatures really jumped this week in response to the warm
spell and occupied the 79 to 82 degree range. Despite some midweek
thunderstorms water color remains clear across most of the reservoir.
Lake levels this week were falling slowly after rising late last week
and climbing several inches above normal summer pool. Once the reservoir
crested last weekend it began a slow descent and is projected to be in
the 359.3 range this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New
Johnsonville elevation will be in the 359.1 range.
Early summer patterns are slowly emerging for bass anglers who are
concentrating on ledges and midrange depths as the fish transition
toward main lake drop-offs as surface temps climb. That’s doesn’t mean
all the bass have left shallow weedbeds and island rims or blowdowns
where pin minnows will soon attract them.
The shallow bite will hold up for several small fish that chase the
abundant schools of shad fry growing by the day. A little current this
week has put the minnows around island points and treelaps which helps
shallow style fishermen find activity as they toss spinnerbaits, Texas
rigged worms and assorted topwater lures.
With the warmer surface temps most of the heavy stringers will continue
to come from main lake ledges as the bigger fish back off the banks and
find their early summer hideouts on sandbars in the 10 to 15 foot zones.
It’s that time of year when the big crankbaits shine on Kentucky Lake,
allowing anglers to cover a lot of water as they search for schooling
fish or just a few big bites during tournament time. Jig and craw combos
along with the huge Texas rigged worms have a time and place too as do
swim baits and some Alabama and Caroline rigs.
Crappie have shown improvement each passing day too and are now relating
to deep stakebeds in the 12 to 15 foot depth range. Some fish have been
taken in the early morning hours around 9 to 11 foot structure. Several
small fish are still biting but you can find a few good ones mixed in,
although numbers of keeper size fish have been scattered.
Some days the bites are light, requiring anglers to methodically work
deeper structure with a keen eye on the rod’s tip while watching the
line at all times for feather light strikes. Even a decent size slab
will exhibit a lethargic attitude at times.
Watch for the crappie bite to keep improving with the best days
occurring when cloud cover and some light wind coincide. June is
traditionally a decent month for crappie and often overlooked and
underrated by most anglers.
Jigs tipped with minnows are paying off but tipping with Berkley power
bait is producing too. It’s not unusual to make several stops before
finding a keeper or two but that next stop might be the one!
Bluegill and shellcracker bedding phases seemed to back off a bit the
last week or so yet decent numbers are still being caught. Seems the
bigger bull bream and shellcracker have been a bit tentative as to
fanning beds or protecting those craters with the attitude they
possessed a couple of weeks earlier.
Odds are the fish are on the back side of their peak spawning phases but
traditionally make a late run at it during the first week to ten days of
June. So, you can still get in on the fun before the males scatter and
disperse out away from the shorelines.
A few good shellcracker were taken this week but most anglers report
them to be quite scattered while those bluegill are still showing signs
of bedding out away from the banks in depths of 5 to 7 feet in places.
Dragging a cricket along the bottom has produced strikes but the ole’
slip bobber or pegged style float still pretty hard to beat for
detecting light strikes and producing thrills once it disappears.
Catfish are still biting on a regular basis for anglers working shallow
gravel banks and rocky bluffs. Several catfish are still sporting eggs
so some of the late spawning females are roaming the shallows and
looking for a place to drop eggs, which is a pretty good scenario for
bluegill fishermen who continue to test their tackle once a nice
surprise catfish surges toward deeper water and makes the reel’s drag
The weatherman indicates a little cooler weather will arrive by the
weekend, escorted by an afternoon thunderstorm now and then. Those
afternoon dark clouds are just part of the picture so keep the raingear
handy and pay close attention to those mushrooming thunderheads in the
Once that distant thunder starts it’s best to heed the warning and get
closer to the marina or boat ramp before a squall gets you. That “just
one more fish” or “one more cast” mentality will get you in trouble at
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.