Kentucky Lake’s late October fishing scene has seen cooler surface temperatures descend since last week’s cool snap, which seems to suit anglers just fine. Added to the lower surface temps have been lower lake levels, too.
Anglers have enjoyed nice weather this week as pleasant temperatures and light winds have greeted fishermen most all week. A few foggy mornings curtailed some early starts for fishermen who yielded to the low visibility and dangerous boating conditions.
Once the sun rose and melted away the fog, it was beautiful days emerging for fishermen testing the water for bass, crappie and catfish. Autumn angling was a bit late in living up to its reputation this season but once the hot summer weather finally lost its grip, conditions have been quite nice out there.
Still slow to change have been fall colors along the shorelines but that is now underway as just this week several sweet gum and hickories are beginning to fade toward a nice parade of colors. The next two weeks should be excellent for fall color displays.
Surface temperatures were starting the day out around 69 degrees and warming to 71 degrees by midday this week. Water color remains clear across Big Sandy and West Sandy. Over in the Tennessee River area around the Paris Landing sector, there is a good stain for fishing in the main channel.
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE
Lake levels dropped down to 354.4 feet a few days, then rebounded slightly to the 354.8-feet range at midweek. That’s dancing around the reservoir’s low ebb of winter pool so all boaters best use caution and observe channel markers this time of year.
I’ve been on the lake most everyday lately and observed several pontoons and high speed bass boats flirting with danger around shallow sandbars. Just because the main lake area is far from shore doesn’t mean it’s deep water.
Bass fishing has been ho-hum for anglers who have been tossing everything in their tackle box at stubborn fish this fall. Local tournaments are still producing low numbers and light weights even for some veteran anglers who know the area.
A few decent ones have been taken at times but the overall bite has been somewhat below average. However, Kentucky Lake always seems to deliver a few good fish for persistent anglers who happen to be at the right place at the right time with the right lure presentation.
With the cooler surface temps now entering the equation, the shallow bite ought to improve.
The endless gravel banks and rocky point shorelines — which should have been appealing to bass for several weeks now — should begin to produce better.
Schools of shad are likely moving up to shallow venues and with them will come more bass activity. Normally the fall bite kicks in during late September, but this year the extended spell of hot weather seemed to diminish the early morning and late afternoon topwater bite along with the shallow running crankbait pattern.
More of the larger fish have stayed deeper and that’s likely because of the warm surface temps that lingered until the recent fall type weather arrived.
Crappie anglers are catching some decent size fish as of late with several hitting the 1-1/4- to 1-1/2-pound range. A lot of anglers are still struggling to put big numbers of fish in their coolers but that has varied across the reservoir as some reports have been better than others.
SPIDER RIGGING BEING USED
A few limits of fish have been taken up Big Sandy and within West Sandy area by boaters spider rigging in depths of 4 to 8 feet. Some credit jigs to their success while others are opting to use live minnow presentations.
The multi-pole presentations offering a buffet of baits moved slowly over areas have fooled some suspended crappie into biting.
Around the Paris Landing sector, several boats have been vertical fishing both jigs and minnows over manmade fish attractors with moderate success in midrange depths of 9-12 feet.
However, the crappie in that sector have been scattered and anglers are still having to knock on a lot of doors to accumulate double digit stringers.
The bite has improved on cloudy days as the lowlight conditions seem to entice more activity from finicky crappie.
As always there are some boats attempting to work the deeper main lake ledges and stalk drop-offs.
Tightlining both jigs and minnows around 17- to 22-foot depths has produced small numbers of fish for most but there have been some keepers roaming out there too.
Boats catfishing out on the main Tennessee River channel seemed to have diminished lately despite ample current that usually works in favor of the bite. There are still some decent fish showing up out there in depths of 20-30 feet.
Fall catfishing is often overlooked as is the crappie fishing.
Now that autumn weather has finally made its presence known these next few weeks should offer good opportunities for Kentucky Lake anglers. It is indeed time for those jacket mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons so you’d best partake of this wonderful season out on the lake.
Lots of wildlife viewing opportunities await you along with the fine fall fishing. Loons are singing, huge white pelicans are winging by and bald eagles will be sharing the lake with you too.
STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.