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September 22, 2011
Fall fishing officially starts today. According to the calendar the
seasons have now traded places and autumn angling is alive and well
thanks to some nice weather lately that has worked in favor of
Light winds and mild temperatures have been the norm this week after
some heavy rains drenched a thirsty region last weekend and actually
delivered some runoff into Kentucky Lake and swelled lake levels a bit.
While the reservoir has been somewhat above normal elevation for over a
week now it is falling slowly after a brief surge from thunderstorms the
dropped a lot of water to our south.
Lake levels are projected to be 357.2 at both Kentucky Dam and New
Johnsonville as the weekend approaches. The level is still more than a
foot above normal for this time of year and TVA will continue to pull
water this next week in an attempt to get the reservoir back down to its
winter drawdown curve.
Surface temps this week have remained in the 75 degree range and have
not fluctuated much. Water color is clear in the main lake area of Big
Sandy with a little stain present in the main Tennessee River channel
area. Once cooler nights return surface temps will drop slowly.
Fall crappie have been hitting pretty good this week as light winds and
cloudy days have delivered nice fishing conditions, allowing anglers to
work open water areas of their choice. Good numbers of fish are being
caught and itís not unusual to land a lot of crappie just shy of the
10-inch legal length limit this time of year.
That two and a half year class is pretty strong and it takes crappie
about three years to cross over the 10-inch mark here. Thus, anglers are
finding a lot of fish in that 9 Ĺ to 9 ĺ -inch range but there are
indeed several eclipsing the magic mark with a few slabs mixed in at
times that keep the fishing trip interesting.
A lot of fish are residing in that 9 to 13 foot depth range. Stakebeds
and brushpiles in that depth zone are attracting a lot of crappie but
some anglers are finding a few lingering around drop-offs in 15 to 17
foot depths too.
Iíve had several days where the boat landed big numbers of fish and
while weíve been culling several it has been a pretty good start to the
fish fishing season. There are enough keepers to make it well worth the
trips and each day a few dandy size fish have been taken, not to mention
some hefty catfish at times sharing the crappie beds with hungry
bluegill as well.
Popular jig colors have been chartreuse variations and while tipping
jigs with minnows has worked at times, the fish have shown a preference
for Berkley Power Bait crappie nibbles.
Crappie should hold up well in the upcoming weeks so donít let this good
fall season pass you by.
Bass continue to have a sluggish attitude toward anglers as diminished
weights have been coming in for weekend tournament anglers and weekday
fishermen just cranking and churning for fun.
A few small fish are schooling around the shallow sides of drop-offs out
on the main lake and busting shad on the surface at times.
Several boats are still banging away at summer patterns and fishing main
lake ledges with big crankbaits and Carolina rigs. However, the larger
fish are quite scattered as anglers are having trouble putting together
a pattern most days.
Shad colored crankbaits are producing a few fish as anglers work gravel
banks and sloping points. Chrome and blue Rattle Trap style lures are
working too as are a few suspending jerk baits.
Some success has come from anglers working shallow roadbeds and rip-rap
Catfish action seem to improve this week along the main river channel as
current has been present and will continue into next week as TVA pulls
water through Kentucky Dam.
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.