Kentucky Lake’s early fall fishing took a step back this week and fell back to summer-like conditions just as October entered the picture. Instead of cool nights and chilly mornings, temperatures went the other direction for a few days.
Last week saw a few nice fall mornings to whet the appetite of fishermen yearning to get the fall fling going. There was a chill in the air with some fog that really made it feel autumn had arrived, but it was a short stay as temps this week climbed back into the mid-80s, heating things back up and resembling summer days.
Above average temperatures is not what anglers want to see in the forecast this time of year.
Surface temperatures this week reflected the change, too. Morning temps started out around 73 at the beginning of the week but by midweek had rebounded to the 79-degree range at midday. Nights haven’t been cool, either, with some humidity mixed in with the warming trend.
Also rising have been lake levels. At midweek, the reservoir crested around 357.4 after several consecutive days with a slow rise. Heavy rains a week ago really drenched the are,a but it appears TVA is pulling water at a pretty good rate and lowering the elevation on a slow but steady pace.
By this weekend, lake levels will be falling to the 357 range and even lower than that by early next week as TVA pulls the reservoir back down to its fall curve.
Water color has been dingy in the main Tennessee River channel area but a pretty good color for fishing. The Big Sandy area around Paris Landing remains relatively clear.
Crappie fishing seemed to pick up a bit the last week or so as more fish were moving up with the rising lake levels toward midrange depths of 8-13 feet. Last week’s cool spell and lower surface temps worked in favor of a little blitz that saw several fish occupying stakebeds and brushpiles in 10-12 feet at times.
A few fish were taken in shallow beds when lowlight conditions were present. The early morning and late afternoon bite improved for 8- to 10-foot depths a few days.
Jigs were producing as were live minnows for anglers vertical fishing right down in the submerged structure. Popular colors ranged from red/chartreuse to black/chartreuse and similar variations.
A few boats trolling Roadrunner style jigs out over main lake ledges in the 10- to 12-foot depth range have also landed a few keepers lately. Fish have been scattered for the trollers but they managed to find enough to keep it interesting.
Some fish were taken along the deep ledges, too, by anglers bottom bumping jig and minnow rigs but fish there were scattered in the 17- to 19-foot depth range.
Once cooler days return, crappie anglers should see improvement in shallow areas. The warmer days and bright sunny conditions seemed to curtail activity at midday as the fish backed off biting but rebounded if cloud cover returned or once late afternoon low-light conditions returned.
Bass anglers reported some improvement this week as the topwater bite turned off for a few anglers tossing jerkbaits over main lake flats and along some gravel banks as well.
Fish are chasing shad schools at times and a few anglers have keyed in on the early fall pattern, tossing Rattle Trap style baits at times when searching for the schools and opting for topwater once a few fish start busting the baitfish.
Others have been tossing buzzbaits and shad-colored crankbaits around gravel banks and shallow roadbeds and boathouses. Rising lake levels may have pushed a few shad back in pockets and bays this week so that helped the shallow bite at times.
There are still boats working the main lake ledges as though the summer pattern was still producing. Seems there’s always a few fish lingering on the ledges and this week there was ample current that likely helped that scenario.
With the steady current this week has come increased activity for catfishermen working the edge of the main river channel. Depths of 30-35 feet have produced, but a few crappie anglers working the deep ledges have tied into several around the 16- to 20-foot depth range at times.
Hopefully autumn conditions will return soon and cooler days will prevail. Maybe this Indian Summer will fade and jacket mornings will return as a chill in the air sure beats this heat and humidity we’ve been having.
HOWL WITH THE WOLVES AT LBL
Fall break is all about the wolves at the Woodlands Nature Station at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, with special kid-friendly programming planned from Monday through Oct. 14. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and up, $3 for ages 5-12 and free for ages 4 and under.
Lead naturalist John Pollpeter invites everyone to “come visit our resident endangered red wolves and join their ‘pack’ of admirers.” There will be special wolf programs offered each day, feeding times and more. Discover why these cunning canines have inspired people for generations.
Call 270-924-2299 or visit www.landbetweenthelakes.us for more information.
DEER HARVEST UPDATE
Deer hunters across most of West and Middle Tennessee have gotten off to a sluggish start since the archery season opened back on Sept. 22. Opening weekend and several days thereafter were a washout for many as heavy rains dampened the spirits of most hunters.
Since then there have been only a few decent mornings when cool conditions made it feel like fall hunting season was here. This week saw a return of summer weather and a lot of hunters are waiting for cooler days before venturing to their stands.
Here in Henry County there have been 44 deer checked in since season opened. Montgomery County leads the state with a total harvest of 90. Overall, the statewide harvest seems to be lagging compared to times past.
FLOCKTOBERFEST AT PYRAMID
Flocktoberfest, the world’s greatest hunting expo and sale, is returning to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in downtown Memphis starting today. Thousands are expected to attend the 10-day celebration, headlined by a free concert from country music star Chris Janson and special guest Lucas Hoge on Oct. 12.
Starting today and running through Oct. 14, Flocktoberfest provides guests access to dozens of free seminars and demonstrations by the top names in hunting and waterfowling, special exhibits, celebrity appearances and a variety of activities for all ages and skill levels.
Key events include the fourth annual Big Cypress National Duck Calling Championship featuring competitors from across the country; special appearances by Justin Martin from Duck Commander; the Super Retriever Series dog jumping competition and Major League Eating’s World Moon Pie Eating Championship.
The festival atmosphere also offers local food, drinks and entertainment.
“Flocktoberfest has come to signify the return of fall and, in its fourth year, is becoming a cherished Memphis tradition,” said David Hagel, general manager of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.
“It’s with great pride that we welcome families and outdoor enthusiasts back to the Pyramid for this one-of-a-kind event that brings families together and inspires everyone to enjoy time spent in the great outdoors.”