Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
September 22nd, 2006
LAKEíS AUTUMN ANGLING
(GREAT ACTION AWAITS YOU)
Jacket mornings and shirtsleeve afternoons are two of the many
things I like about this time of year. How Ďbout you?
Do you like fighting fish but not crowds? How about nice weather
and calm winds?
Thatís just a few of the amenities of fall fishing here on Kentucky
Fall fishing is often underrated and overlooked here. Hefty
stringers of crappie are taken after Labor Day and the largemouth and
smallmouth take on an attitude once the water cools down too.
Like many reservoirs throughout the TVA system, Kentucky Lake has an
annual drawdown where lower lake levels change the appearance of
shoreline and main lake habitat.
Although some reservoirs in the eastern portion of the TVA valley
will had revised drawdown schedules, Kentucky Lake has not changed. A
variation of five feet separates the summer pool (359) level from winter
pool (354) elevation.
Drawdown begins around July 1 and reaches it low ebb in November or
early December. Anglers during the fall months of September and October
are fishing just past midpoint of drawdown so itís a gradual change
without fear of drastic alterations.
Generally speaking, fall fishing is a time of stability here.
Anglers donít worry about the drastic changes of cold fronts and gale
winds. The slow decline in lake levels allows fishing patterns to hold
up well from week to week.
Predictability is another attribute for anglers who find a pattern
one weekend and return the next, finding the fish awaiting their arrival
at similar spots and depths.
Crappie anglers find shallow action improving once surface
temperatures cool and just this week action has improved. Shad roam the
main lake flats and big bays like Nomads lost in the desert.
Popular depth ranges are 9 to 12 feet for many areas of Kentucky
Lake when it comes to locating the bulk of crappie but deeper ledges and
drop-offs are not to be overlooked. Itís not unusual to some fish in
both depth zones at times, especially in early fall.
Once surface temperatures cool expect to see significant movement to
shallow structure such as natural stump rows and other submerged cover
such as manmade fish attractors. Brush piles and stakebeds are the bread
and butter of fall fishing.
Crappie move back into some of the same hideouts used during spring
spawning. Although the fish are not approaching the structure for
spawning, they still have the urge to seek refuge and relate to places
where they can hide and ambush their prey.
Three popular techniques produce here during fall. Perhaps the most
popular being the vertical presentation of tube skirted and hair jigs.
The other two producers are casting light twister tail or swimming grubs
and the every popular double-hook, tightline bottom-bumping rig, used
primarily in deep water.
And, the slow trolling style of multipole presentations deserves
honorable mention. Spider rig offerings have their time and place too.
The buffet of baits moved slowly around submerged structure appeals to
suspended crappie or those who cannot resist a slow, moving morsel that
invades their space.
During the warm weeks of early fall crappie may still display a
sluggish attitude so expect finicky strikes from moody fish. Once a cool
front arrives with a little cloud cover the fish quickly changes gears,
taking on a more aggressive mode with a competitive nature.
While some hotspots will give up double-digit numbers, the norm is
to catch a few in a spot and move on to the next structure. That may be
a short move up the ledge or just a few yards to another clump of stumps
but anchoring the boat in one spot all day in hopes of finding unlimited
schools is unusual.
Both black and white crappie are taken here in large numbers.
Although white crappie still dominate the population, numbers of black
crappie have increased here, due largely to clearer waters than those of
Bass action heats up just as the water cools too. The increased
activity coincides with peaks in the fall crappie action, as both seem
to perk up once shad movement occurs.
Early fall bassing can be a Mecca for topwater enthusiast. Gravel
banks produce fast action in the early morning and late afternoon.
Thanks to daily hatches of small insects known as midges, the shad hit
the buffet line twice a day and put on a feeding frenzy.
A light breeze sets the table and sloping gravel banks come alive
with a sliver sparkle flashing parade. The tiny baitfish jump just
enough to catch the microscopic bugs and the eruption of hefty
largemouth or smallmouth commands you to cast their direction.
Popular choices are chrome and sliver colored lures that mimic the
mirror flash of shad in a rising or setting sun. The lowlight conditions
stimulate the topwater bite.
Some of the more popular selections range from Rebelís Pop-R with a
tinsel tail to the Storm Chub Bug or Heddon Zara Spook. Buzzbaits have a
time and place too as do soft plastic jerk baits such as Flukes or
Yet fall bassing here come in many forms. The magnitude of the
reservoir lends itself to a variety of patterns and presentations. Slow
rolling a spinnerbait around a submerged stump or exposed crappie bed
will often test your tackle.
No tackle box is complete here without Tennessee Shad colored
crankbaits and chrome finished Rattle Traps. Shorelines offer abundant
gravel but rock points, roadbeds, rip-rap levees and bridge piers are
the ticket sometimes and crankbaits help cover an abundance of water in
a short period of time.
Some grassbeds exposed themselves at low water levels in early fall
too. Weedless lures twitched slowly will often draw out even the most
It seems thereís always a few smallmouth lurking on the deep
sandbars near the main river that like a finesse bait fished on their
terms. At the same time a shallow water bass angler can tie into a drag
tearing largemouth up shallow is spots where you have to trim up the
outboard just to get there with the trolling motor.
Thatís the beauty and diversity of Kentucky Lake. Several different
patterns for the same fish working at the same time. Carolina rigged
lizards fish on clean sloping banks produce a strike while some other
guy finds Ďem holding on stumps on main lake flats.
So wave goodbye to the hot and humid conditions of summer as you
fish the transition time of fall on one of the stateís most prolific
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.