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June 22, 2012


Summer bass and crappie action has been holding up well for Kentucky Lake anglers despite some warm days and high winds this week. Overall the fishing scene continues to hold up as nice catches are coming in.

Itís a bit unusual for anglers to have to battle high winds this time of year but for some strange reason white caps have influenced the fishing scene several days lately and dictated the location for both bass and crappie anglers attempting to fish open water areas.

While practically all of us want a light breeze this time of year, the wind seems to have been a bit much at times. Still, anglers have managed to overcome the hurdle and landed pretty good stringers of summer crappie and hefty bass.

Kentucky Lakeís elevation had another week of below average readings but thatís been the case for a lot of TVA reservoirs this spring. The lack of rainfall will make history this year as the big pond will not achieve summer pool readings and the annual drawdown normally begins in early July anyway.

Lake levels are projected to be 357.6 this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville the elevation will be in the 357.4 range. Normal summer pool is 359.

Lake levels remain quite clear across the entire reservoir and very little current has been present in the main river channel lately.

Surface temperatures this week were in the 81 to 84 degree range, which is up a few degrees from last week at this time.

Crappie have been hitting pretty good since midweek after a slight slowdown last weekend and earlier this week, a mood swing that might have been influenced by mayfly larva that sometimes brings an abundant buffet benefitting the fish but challenging the fishermen.

Some good size crappie were hanging out in the 12 to 14 foot depth range as stakebeds and brushpiles were producing but fish were sluggish to bite at times. Strikes have been light and even some of the larger fish have been finicky at times.

Fish are holding pretty tight to structure and it has required a methodical approach. Watching the line and rod tip have been necessary to detect illusive bites and at times it has been a feeling contest with the jig and snags.

Tipping 1/16 to 1/8-ounce jigs with minnows or Berkley crappie nibbles has paid dividends, however, and numbers of fish improved at midweek. Some deeper ledges also producing fish as the deep sides of the drop-offs with 16 to 18 feet of water are holding fish where structure is located.

Bass anglers continue to focus on deep water venues for the larger stringers but the grassbeds are producing lots of fish too.

While some of the larger stringers are coming from 18 to 25 foot depths at times, the clear water has really stimulated the advancement of aquatic vegetation such as pondweek and Eurasian watermilfoil. Most of the island rims and flats south of Paris Landing are seeing grassbeds increase in size on a weekly basis.

Anglers are finding good numbers of bass relating to the mats of grass which is loaded with baitfish. Tossing spinnerbaits, assorted surface lures, and Texas rigged worms have worked well. Ripping a Rattle Trap in a chrome color variation has worked too.

While a lot of fish are relating to the abundance of grassbeds the winning tournament stringers are mostly coming from boaters working jig and craw combos, big Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms, and hopping spoons along the deeper sides of the ledges. Some swim baits have worked along the deep venues too.

Main lake ledges are producing but some of the better fish are relating to the edge of the main river channel itself at times. No doubt the low lake levels combined with the clear water scenario are influencing the deeper summer pattern this year.

In times past anglers could find schools of pin minnows around shallow bushes, treelaps, and shallow visible water willow style grass along shorelines this time of year but low lake stages have altered the location of late spring and early summer bass this year along Kentucky Lake.

Big deep diving crankbaits are still part of the summer arsenal too but with bass holding off in deeper depths lately even the most deep diving baits just wonít get down there where the fish are. No doubt the fish will move up on top to feet at times, especially if some cloud cover enters the picture but overall itís been deeper than usual for several weeks running.

A few scattered mayfly hatches have dotted the shorelines at times but bluegill have held out away from shore for the most part and are now relating to deep structure in 6 to 12 feet. Some pretty good ones were taken this week by anglers dragging wax worms, crickets, and redworms around deeper crappie beds where the fish seem to have found a comfort zone.

Catfish were still holding in midrange depths too and some nice ones were taken by crappie anglers working live minnows or jigs at times. There hasnít been much current in the main river so that summer catfish pattern along the main river channel has yet to develop.

Although some warm days are part of the fishing scene lately, it really hasnít been too bad out there in the early morning hours. And, when the fish are biting the heat seems tolerable.

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