Time to dig out the sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and jackets. A bit overdue, but autumn weather has finally arrived, putting a chill in the air pushed by light north breezes.
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has been yearning for a change and finally it has arrived. Temperatures are expected to sleep around the 60-degree mark at night and rise only to the upper 70s for a day or two before creeping back to the low 80s by the weekend or early next week.
That will lower surface temperatures by this weekend and help the disposition of both fish and fishermen. Surface temps this week have lingered in the 77- to 79-degree range. Watch for a decline into the low 70s by early next week if not sooner.
Lake levels have been uncharacteristic for fall with some fluctuation as of late. Last week, the reservoir rose several inches but quickly receded, falling several inches each day as TVA pulled it back to the normal curve of annual drawdown only to see heavy rains enter the region for several consecutive days.
Some areas have recorded 7 to 8 inches of rain earlier this week and that sent a lot of runoff into the Tennessee River. At midweek, lake levels began to rise and were forecast to be up slightly to an elevation of 356.4 this weekend at Kentucky Dam.
The slight rise in lake levels should work in favor of shallow water crappie anglers searching bays or flats in depths of 4 to 8 feet in the days ahead. Rising water usually pushes bait fish up toward backs of big bays or out in flats, pulling the crappie with them.
Although heavy rains earlier this week had most anglers staying ashore, activity should increase with the arrival of nice cool days that will lure boaters out of hiding. It appears the weatherman is on the side of anglers these next several days.
Some crappie have been taken in the 8- to 13-feet depth range lately but most anglers continue to report tough times as to catching big numbers of keeper size fish. Up Big Sandy and in West Sandy, dingy water was entering the picture but water color was good around the power lines and Paris Landing sector.
Watch for the fall bite to improve these next few days in the midrange depths as anglers stalk stakebeds and brushpiles with jigs and jigs tipped with minnows. Some boats will be casting jigs as well over manmade fish attractors while other techniques of trolling Road Runners and crankbaits over main lake ledges might fare well too.
Bass fishing continues to lag behind its traditional fall bite. Several buddy tournaments up and down the reservoir are reporting lighter stringers compared to times past. A few good fish are being taken but most anglers report catching low numbers of smaller fish.
Some reports credited a few good bites from both largemouth and smallmouth recently while using topwater along gravel banks. From buzzbaits to jerk baits, the topwater bite has been rewarding at times but not a lot of numbers have been taken.
Watch for an increase in activity this upcoming week along gravel banks and around exposed crappie beds as bass transition toward shallow venues. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits should produce around boat docks, piers, road beds and the abundant gravel banks.
Watch for shad working main lake flats, too, as the gulls will help you find the baitfish if any schooling activity has taken place.
Catfishing benefited from the current lately along the Tennessee River. When TVA was pulling water the bite improved for anglers bottom bumping nightcrawlers and chicken livers around the 30- to 35-feet depth range.
The catfish bite should resume this weekend and well into next week once TVA begins pulling water and lowering the reservoir in the aftermath of this week’s heavy rains.
Hopefully the cool spell now underway will stimulate activity for what has been a sluggish start to fall fishing on Kentucky Lake. Seems activity always improves once a cooling trend kickstarts the fall fishing scene.
MONARCHS, BEES, POLLINATORS
The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge invites you and your family to attend an event from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the refuge visitor center located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville, as they celebrate important pollinators. The day will feature speakers and activities that focus on Monarchs and other butterflies, bees and insect pollinators.
Partner organizations assisting with the day include the Friends of the Refuge, Quail Forever and the Kentucky Lake Beekeepers Association.
For additional information, call the refuge office at 642-2091.
FINAL FLIGHT CALLING CONTESTS
Final Flight Outfitters in Union City will be hosting the 2018 Waterfowlers Gathering Saturday at their store location on the Old Martin Highway 22 just east of Union City. There will be a duck calling contest, games, food and fun for the entire community.
Here is the duck calling contest lineup that will be offered: U.S. Open Regional (first place, $1,000), Tennessee State Open Contest, Grand American Youth Contest, Grand American Regional Contest (first place, $100) and Grand American Head-to-Head Contest (first place, $1,000).
For more information, you can call Final Flight Outfitters at 731-885-5056 or visit their website at www.finalflight.net.
MEPPS STILL BUYING SQUIRREL TAILS
Mepps Lure Company continues to ask hunters to save their squirrel tails. The tails are used for their hand-tied, dressed hooks of their world-famous, fish-catching lures. They’ve been recycling squirrel tails for more than a half-century.
“Squirrels are good eating and we can reuse their tails for making the world’s number one lure,” explained Mepps communications director Josh Schwartz. “Consider harvesting squirrels for the 2018 hunting season.”
Mepps buys fox, black, grey and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for tails, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.
Schwartz reminded everyone, “We do not advocate harvesting of squirrels solely for their tails.”
For details on the Squirrel Tail Program, either visit www.mepps.com/squirrels or call 1-800-713-3474.
OF DOVE SEASON ENDS
Tennessee’s first segment of its three-segment dove season ends today. The second segment returns on Oct. 13 and runs through Nov. 4.
Today — First segment of dove season ends.
Today-Saturday — C and O Marine Bass Tournament, Paris Landing State Park.
Saturday — Friends of NRA banquet, Paris Civic Center, 1510 E. Wood St., Paris.
Saturday — Monarchs, Bees and Pollinators event, Visitor Center, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.
Saturday — Waterfowlers gathering/calling contests, Final Flight Outfitters, Union City.