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September 18, 2013
FALL TRANSITION UNDERWAY FOR FISH AND FISHERMEN
Say goodbye to summer. Autumn angling is about to begin.
While it seems like the seasons changed a few weeks ago when cool snaps
put a chill in the air the official arrival of fall occurs on Sunday.
Both the fish and fishermen have been slowly transcending toward the
change for a few weeks now.
For those of us who have been on the water on a daily basis these last
few weeks itís been a joyful occasion. The fishing has been good; the
crowds have disappeared; and the winds have been light. I have a long
list of reasons on why I love it out there this time of year.
Fall fishing here on Kentucky Lake is overlooked by most anglers. Itís
underrated too. Stable weather conditions are the norm and that helps
fishing patterns hold up well from week to week.
Lake levels are predictable too and thatís another feather in the cap of
autumn angling. If youíre fortunate enough to establish a pattern for
bass, crappie or catfish then odds are you can return next week and find
them in the same locale.
When compared to other seasons fall has a lot going for it. Spring is
great and certainly has the cure for cabin fever when winter woes take
their toll but cold fronts that time of the year can change things
overnight. Gale north winds dictate fishing locations or flooding rains
swell lake levels and throw a curve to spawning phases of both bass and
For me this fall gig is just fine. Iíll take it over the hot and humid
conditions of a sultry summer or the bone chilling winds of winter. I
like it better than spring too as March can be mean and April can be
Granted the best time to go fishing is whenever you can!
Now that my fall fishing sermon has touched the high spots comes this
weekís fishing report. And, Iím glad to say itís pretty much on schedule
as to lake levels and fishing patterns.
Surface temperatures fell back into the 78 to 81 degree this week and
that will help bring more shad to shallow flats and the backs of bays.
Hot on their trail will be meandering bass and crappie too.
Water color remains pretty clear across most of the reservoir with a few
areas of stain where winds whipped up shoreline sediments. Rain chances
were increasing as this report was updated and by this weekend some
dingy water could be present in the upper ends of bays from runoff.
Lake levels have been falling on a slow but gradual basis and pretty
much following TVAís drawdown curve. Projected elevation for the weekend
at Kentucky Dam will be 355.4, which is down several inches from last
week at this time. Readings will be similar at New Johnsonville this
weekend as stability enters the picture unless heavy thunderstorms enter
Crappie activity improved this week with fish moving up toward main lake
flats in pursuit of threadfin shad that were schooling. Although fish
were a bit scattered at times making several stops paid dividends as
stakebeds and brushpiles in 7 to 9 foot depths were holding fish as were
structures in 11 to 13 foot depths.
Some of the deeper ledges out on the main lake are still holding on to
decent numbers of crappie too. Depths of 15 to 19 feet were accounting
for a few bigger fish that had not moved up shallow just yet.
Itís not unusual to find crappie at several different depth ranges right
now as they have quite a comfort zone now that surface temps are cooling
and shad are on the move. In the weeks ahead watch for those shallow
zones to attract great numbers of fish, especially once surface temps
fall back to the low 70ís.
Jigs tipped with live minnows and Berkley crappie nibbles in the white
or chartreuse color have worked well this week. A few popular jig colors
have ranged from black/chartreuse to red/white.
Bass activity was slow earlier in the week when a couple days of high
skies with no cloud cover seemed to curtail activity. However, at
midweek things improved as south breezes returned with cloudy days and
that stimulated the bite.
Fish were moving up to gravel banks, roadbeds, and shallow flats where
schools of baitfish were attractive. Watching for gull feeding frenzies
can help you locate the baitfish activity too. Several bass were
schooling when shallow flats full of shad appealed.
Tossing shad variations of shallow crankbaits and swim baits were
working well as were spoons and Rooster tail style lures. A few fish
were taking jerk baits in their quest to hit topwater.
A lot of bass are still coming from submerged grassbeds in behind
islands and around island rims. Tossing Texas rigged worms, fluke style
worms and shad colored jerk baits have been effective as have
spinnerbaits and buzzbaits at times.
Watch for shallow gravel banks and points to hold some bigger fish now
that surface temps are cooling. The main lake ledges are still worthy of
consideration as big crankbaits, Carolina rigs, Alabama rigs and jig and
pig combos are still working.
Catfish action is holding up along the main river channel again this
week. Bottom bumping rigs using nightcrawlers and skipjack have produced
some nice fish this week from the 30 to 40 foot depth range. Current has
been steady this week but may subside by the weekend as TVA appears to
be headed toward stability in the days ahead barring any drastic rains.
Fall fishing will officially begin Sunday. Some fine times await angler
in the weeks ahead so hop to it before oleí man winter chases this great
season away too.
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.