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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
September 16, 2009


Fall officially arrives next Tuesday and with it comes a transition for both anglers and hunters across Tennessee.

Already fall fishing patterns have been in the works as bass and crappie have moved toward shallow areas as surface temps respond to cool nights. Lake levels also alter the whereabouts of fish and TVA is pretty much on schedule with its drawdown toward winter pool elevation that started in early July.

Presently, lake levels are in the 355.6 range at New Johnsonville and 356.7 at Kentucky Dam. Lake stages actually rose some earlier this week but only by a few inches. Expect a slow fall going into the weekend unless heavy rain alters the schedule.

Surface temps have been resting in the 79 to 83 degree range this week. Anglers should see a slight drop in surface temps by the weekend as light rains and cloudy days will likely have a cooling influence.

Water color is clear across most of the reservoir with a slight stain around a few river islands.

Bass action seemed to slow some last weekend and early this week, a likely result of a pesky northeast wind that had a negative influence on the bite. Several tournament anglers and a few who were just fun fishing reported sluggish activity compared to last week at this time.

Patterns have varied as have the menu of lures being used. A lot of anglers are working shallow grassbeds and visible stickups such as stumps, logs and manmade crappie beds. Lower lake levels are now exposing more grass, especially around island rims and backs of bays.

Tossing bussbaits, spinnerbaits, floating worms, and various jerk baits have been popular choices as have shallow running shad colored crankbaits. A few anglers are working weedless frogs over thick grass areas.

Still popular have been the main lake ledges where anglers are working Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms and lizards, and big deep diving crankbaits. A few fish have been seen chasing shad and casting a spoon or Rattle Trap has worked in that scenario.

Some swim baits and jig and pig combos are also working on the main lake ledges but fish there have been scattered and inconsistent.

Gravel bank patterns are slowly emerging too and working crankbaits around big chunk rock and rip-rap has produced. Once cloudy days and cooler conditions reenter the picture watch for more surface action along gravel banks as the shad feed on midge hatches in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Crappie have been hitting good on some cloudy days but shown some stubborn behavior when northeast winds and high skies were present. At midweek the cloudy days and light rain had a positive effect at times but that east wind just seems to deliver a negative impact and slows down the bite.

Action seemed to bounce back once the winds shifted back to the south and southwest. Generally speaking, fall offers light southwest breezes so those annoying east winds donít hang around but a day or so.

Depths of 9 to 14 feet have produced well. Working jigs in a vertical presentation over manmade fish attractors such as brushpiles and stakebeds has been a popular pattern.

Popular color combinations have been red/chartreuse, white/red, blue/pearl, and black/chartreuse skirts. Painted leadheads in black, red, and white have been good choices.

Tipping jigs with minnows has worked better than just a plain jig but tipping with Berkley Power Bait nibbles in the chartreuse, white, and silver glitter has stimulated bites from finicky fish.

Deep ledges out on the main lake are still holding a few crappie as well. Structure there in the 16 to 20 foot zones is holding on to a few scattered crappie, along with an occasional catfish.

Bluegill are aggressive and somewhat annoying to crappie anglers at times, as are the ever hungry yellow bass. If you just want to catch something odds are good you can get plenty of bites from bluegill if you use worms on light spinning gear and slowly drag the bottom around gravel banks, boathouses, and rock bluffs.

A lot of bigger bluegill are also holding along the deeper drop-offs this time of year and the fall bite on bluegill is often overlooked.

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Also check out our past:
Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Steve McCadams
 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