The last couple of weeks have been kind to the winter fishing scene on Kentucky Lake. As the New Year begins on a cool note with a few rainy days scattered about the forecast, anglers can’t complain about how the year ended in terms of weather conditions.

Above average temperatures and relatively mild winds the last week to 10 days have allowed ample opportunities for winter fishermen to test the water during the holiday period.

One thing’s for sure; the last few weeks of winter weather have been much more kind to fishermen than it has waterfowlers. 

Most duck hunters have been crying in their coffee; to say it has been a slow season is an understatement.

Local fishermen were loving the warm winter weather that dominated most of December while waterfowlers were taking it on the chin this year. A lot of guys have traded in their boots, duck calls, shotguns and camouflage clothing for fishing poles and minnow buckets.

Meanwhile, it appears the New Year will start off with cooler conditions and normal temperatures for this time of year. That may put a chill in the air for a few days but hey, it’s January.

Lake levels last week had been falling slowly prior to the weekend rain and bottomed out at the low ebb elevation of 354.2 feet in the Kentucky Dam area. 

Similar readings were reported in the New Johnsonville area this weekend but watch for lake levels to begin rising in the aftermath of this past weekend’s rain.

Surface temperatures were still mild and reflecting the extended spell of warm weather we’ve been having. Readings were in the 49- to 52-degree range. Water color has been clear.

Crappie anglers have been able to land enough fish to keep them busy as of late. Although not many anglers reported limit catches they have landed decent numbers. Another bonus is that some nice size slabs have been taken too.

While a few fish were taken in midrange depths of 8 to 13 feet, the bulk of the nice stringers have been taken by anglers stalking deeper water. Deep brush piles in the 18- to 25-foot range have given up some scattered fish as anglers worked the deep structure using bottom bumping rigs or tightlining jigs and live minnows.

Some anglers reported a few fish on their stringers eclipsing the 2-pound mark.

When warm days and light winds combine, it allows anglers to move about in the main lake areas and slowly work the deep sides of dropoffs and deeper humps where winter crappie often reside.

Not all the crappie are deep, but it appears most of the bragging rights are coming from those targeting the main lake areas and deeper depths.

A few scattered reports have come in from bass fishermen but the overall bite appears to be inconsistent from the winter bass fishing arena.


STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is

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