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July 12, 2012



 Long overdue rains, cooler days and overcast skies entered the fishing scene this week for Kentucky Lake anglers who got a reprieve from the three-digit temperatures that showed up for an unwelcome visit the previous two weeks.

Conditions improved the last few days in the aftermath of thunderstorms the last four days (and nights) that drenched some areas, bringing high winds as part of the package. Temps the last few days have been in the upper 80’s to low 90’s, which is down 10 to 15 degrees from some record highs set over the last week to ten days.

While localized thunderstorms dropped several inches of rain in spots, the overall region is still thirsty and lake levels have only risen a few short inches. TVA projections for the weekend will see readings of 357.6 at Kentucky Dam while the New Johnsonville sector is expected to have elevation in the 357.5 range.

Water color remains clear. Lake levels are up slightly from last week at this time but still well below average yet the rains did add fresh water to the river system that was much in need of a fresh drink.

Surface temperatures cooled slightly from last week’s 90-plus readings and have been in the 86 to 88 degree range the last few days. A couple of cloudy mornings also had fog that help filter the sunlight until midday, making it nice for summer anglers for a change.

From the bass fishing arena comes continued success stories by anglers working aquatic vegetation. Grassbeds continue to increase in acreage and are growing around island rims and shallow flats, providing an abundance of cover for both baitfish and bass that are relating to the submerged structure.

Spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms, fluke style jerkbaits, and assorted surface lures ranging from chuggers to buzzbaits have produced around the milfoil grass. A few anglers are tossing weedless frogs and rats over visible carpets of grass while others are falling back and working submerged grass fragments growing on deeper points or flats adjacent to deeper water with shallow crankbaits, worms, and spinnerbaits.

There are abundant schools of minnows using the parameters of some grassbeds but it’s a trial and error approach as the bait moves in and out, influenced by wind and some current in places. Find the shad and you’ll encounter the bass that are hot on their trail.

Main lake ledges are always worthy of consideration this time of year and the drop-offs continue to produce for anglers working them big Texas rigged worms in the 10 to 11 inch length range. Carolina rigged worms and lizards are producing too as are jig and craw combos.

Depths of 18 to 25 feet are still holding on to bass but there’s plenty of fish relating to the top sides of the sandbars in places and also near the drop-off itself, especially if you find some structure. At times the bass are moving to feed and chasing shad on the top sides of ledges only to fall back at times and hang out near some humps or ledges until a feeding spree stimulates them.

Tossing big deep diving crankbaits is still on the summer menu as well. So, you can find a variety of patterns still working for a variety of depths and lure choices. The scenario is vintage Kentucky Lake summer bass fishing.

Crappie activity seemed to rebound some this week courtesy of the cooler conditions and cloud cover. Fish were not quite as sluggish as the last two weeks when exceptionally hot weather had an adverse effect.

Increased numbers of fish showed up from some deeper stakebeds and brushpiles located in 14 to 18 foot depths. And, some deeper spots in the main lake were producing a few more fish this week as structure in the 18 to 25 foot depth zone was holding crappie.

Live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows were working best but tipping jigs with Berkley crappie nibbles was also appealing at times.

Some bluegill were biting in deeper depths as those deep crappie confines were holding several. Catfish were still relating to midrange depths too and hiding out in deep crappie cover.

There has been a slight amount of current at times along the main river and that should help the catfish bite along those submerged creek channels that empty into the main river channel in that 25 to 35 foot depth range.

The fishing scene has been much more pleasant this week thanks to a break from the hot and dry conditions that had dominated far too long.

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