Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
September 16, 2009
FALL SEASON ON THE THRESHOLD OF SPORTSMEN
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
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
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.
For The Lake Barkley Report
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.