During any given week, Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene will have a variety of weather. The last few weeks have had anglers watching the weekly weather forecasts pretty closely and attempting to pick a few days that were suitable.
Fishermen had yet another week with two or three decent days sandwiched between some cold and nasty conditions where chilly rains and falling temperatures curtailed activity.
This week’s outdoor scene mimicked last week as another cold front will enter the picture with the weekend approaching. Bone-chilling northeast winds are expected for a few days as another dose of uninvited winter weather will descend for bass and crappie anglers.
Despite the weather roller coaster playing games with the plans of fall fishermen, decent catches of crappie have been taken when stubborn winds allowed. Crappie fishermen are still putting points on the board as the fall bite has been holding up well when they could get out and about on the main lake areas. Although fall has a reputation of stability, as of late it has shown its ugly face at times and kept anglers on shore several days when heavy rains, high winds and falling temperatures just didn’t cooperate.
Fish have been hitting pretty good these last several weeks for anglers targeting brushpiles and stakebeds in the midrange depths of 8 to 13 feet. There have been a few reports of some fish taken in 4- to 7-feet depths but fish there have been somewhat scattered and not as abundant as slightly deeper depths.
Last week, lake levels rose a few inches in the aftermath of heavy rains and that may have pulled a few fish toward shallow zones but the reservoir began receding slowly at the start of the week.
Elevation at midweek had dropped back to 354.9 feet at Kentucky Dam after climbing up to the 355.5 range for a week or so. The reservoir is falling slowly now but rains were in the forecast on the leading edge of the cold front so odds are some fluctuation will be in the picture for the next few days.
Surface temperatures had fallen back into the upper 50s this week and will likely dip into the low 50s by this weekend if not sooner. Water color remains relatively clear across most of the reservoir.
Up Big Sandy and into West Sandy, anglers were finding fish biting a variety of colors as to jig skirts and leadheads. Some red, pink and chartreuse leadhead jigs armed with chartreuse skirt variations were working well. In the Paris Landing sector, jigs tipped with minnows were paying dividends as were jigs tipped with chartreuse or pink Berkley Power Bait crappie nibbles. Popular colors have been blue/pearl, black/chartreuse and some shad variations for those using solid body grubs. Most boats are using vertical presentations of minnows and jigs. The fish have been holding pretty tight at times around the submerged structure and anglers are having to keep the bait in the strike zone a bit longer to entice strikes from finicky fish.
WORKING THE LEDGES
Seems there’s always a few boats working the main lake ledges, too, where some deeper structure has held on to a few scattered fish relating to cover in the 16- to 18-feet depths at times, especially when lake levels have been falling.
Part of the fall fishing scene is going to battle with the annoying yellow bass and feisty bluegill that share the midrange depth zones with crappie. Expect to shake hands with quite a few of these aggressive rascals this time of year. They’re bait stealing specials. It just comes with the territory.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the cold front ,expect the bite to turn sluggish for a spell when those high skies and northeast winds descend. According to the long range forecast the fishing scene has several cold days ahead before things settle down and south winds resume their rightful place in a fall fishing forecast.
Still sluggish have been the fall bass patterns across Kentucky Lake. Some fish have been taken by anglers flipping Texas rigged craws around boat docks and piers while others are flinging shad-colored crankbaits around rocky points and gravel banks.
When calm days were present, a few fish were chasing shad on main lake flats and back in large bays. Watching for gull activity will help you locate the baitfish schools. A few white bass and yellow bass schools have been busting the surface at times and largemouth have been chasing the same baitfish buffets.
Some rip-rap banks have produced bass at times where anglers are tossing crankbaits, swim baits and suspending jerkbaits to entice strikes.
Seems the shallow stickups such as exposed crappie beds and some stumps have been stubborn to produce this week for anglers casting spinnerbaits and floating worms.
No angler likes to battle cold fronts and bone-chilling temps but that appears to be on the horizon for a few days. By next week southwest winds should regain their foothold and hopefully nice fall fishing conditions will return. Until that happens, better batten down the hatches and dress for winter out there.
STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.