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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
September 25, 2009

From this week’s fishing scene on Kentucky Lake come reports of changing lake levels in the aftermath of heavy rains both here and further south across the TVA valley.

Yet TVA has really been spilling water through Kentucky Dam this week and created additional storage capacity that has absorbed a lot of the runoff from areas to our south that experienced flooding.

Lake levels are up a few inches from last week at this time but crested at midweek and are now falling. Presently, the elevation at Kentucky Dam is 356.1. Upstream at New Johnsonville elevation is higher at 356.5 and reflects the amount of water flushing through the reservoir.

Water color is clear in most of Big Sandy with a slight stain along the Tennessee River channel and flats. There is a lot of current present in the main channel this week as TVA has opened several gates at Kentucky Dam.

Surface temps reflect the warm and muggy weather we’ve had throughout the region this week. The high humidity has spawned some thunderstorms across the region but most have dodged the Paris Landing area.

Presently, surface temps are hanging around the 78 to 82 degree range. There have not been many cool nights and although fall officially arrived on Tuesday it has felt more like summer this week.

A cool spell is in the forecast, however, and anglers should get a reprieve from the heat and humidity by late this weekend. Next week should feel more like fall so keep the jacket handy.

Crappie have been fair this week but somewhat scattered and finicky as to their attitude. Several fish are in the 11 to 14 foot depth range. Not many fish have been taken in shallower water lately, which is likely a reflection of the hot and humid conditions that have kept surface temps around the 80 degree range.

Some boats were working deeper ledges on the main lake and finding a few fish in the 15 to 18 foot depth range yet fish were scattered there as well and anglers had to cover a lot of water as finding a concentration of fish was quite challenging.

Jigs tipped with Berkley Power Bait crappie nibbles in the white, chartreuse, and sliver or gold sparkle were enticing more bites that live minnows.

I found deeper stakebeds and brushpiles paying the most dividends while vertical fishing small leadhead jigs in the 1/16 to 1/32-ounce size. It seems the smaller jigs appealed best to the sluggish crappie.

Popular colors have ranged from white/orange to red/chartreuse, black/chartreuse and some green leadheads with clear sparkle skirts.

Bass action has been fair and a lot of shad are up on the surface and roaming in schools. A few bass were surfacing in schools at times around shallow flats and mixing with some white bass in hot pursuit of shallow shad.

A few fish were hitting topwater in the early morning and late afternoon around gravel banks but that pattern has been inconsistent as have gravel points and roadbeds where anglers are picking up an occasional fish on shad colored crankbaits.

Tossing rattle traps around the schooling fish has worked well as have some swim baits.

Shallow grassbeds around island rims and further south around Lick Creek and Bass Bay have given up some fish this week as tossing a spinnerbait and buzzbait produced. Some floating worms and weedless frogs have also been popular around the grass.

Watch for an improvement in the shallow bite by nearly next week courtesy of the cool spell as fish will likely be more active, especially in shallow areas.

Current will work in favor of anglers working the ledges along the Tennessee River areas and around bridge piers, rap-rap levees, and edges of main river islands as the bait fish will likely be pushed by the flowing water.

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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.
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