Still challenged by the current status of the Kentucky Lake fishing scene are bass and crappie anglers who have played cat and mouse with their favorite species as of late.
Surface temperatures this week were starting the mornings out around 79 and creeping up to 81 by midday. Water color remains relatively clear across the reservoir.
Lake levels have stayed around the normal summer pool elevation mark of 359
feet this week but the TVA projects a slight rise by this weekend.
The forecast indicates lake stages will rise about a foot, reaching the 360 mark by this weekend. Kicking the week off were some cool mornings that had a touch of fall in the air.
Strong north winds whipped up whitecaps Monday. Winds switched to the northeast by Tuesday, making it tough on anglers attempting to work open water areas as the breeze dictated where and how they could fish.
No one was complaining about the cloud cover and lower humidity; it was the gale winds that irked most anglers as well as the direction from which they came.
June has a reputation for stable weather and light winds but lately the apple cart has been upset at times.
Hopefully, stability will return by this weekend if not sooner, which would allow bass anglers to venture all over the lake to open water venues and stalk main lake ledges.
Crappie fishermen are wanting light winds, too, so they can work main lake flats and dropoffs.
Although the fish have been scattered in midrange depths, a few anglers were starting to see slight improvement when they could get out and fish beds in midrange depths.
A few more crappie were transitioning out to manmade fish attractors in the open lake areas. Depths of 12-14 feet were giving up a few more fish this week compared to last week. However, it’s fair to say the fish are scattered.
Some anglers were using
live minnows while others tipped jigs with minnows or Berkley Power Bait crappie nibbles to entice sluggish fish to strike.
It’s not unusual to find a few fish quite thin as to their physiology this time of year. Most are still in the postspawn phase so each week should see improvement as to their appearance.
Some boats were seen trolling crankbaits out over main lake flats and ledges.
A few boats were also long-lining but both techniques seem to be producing low numbers of fish thus far this week.
It’s time crappie were improving around midrange and deep structure. The fish generally acclimate toward structure as surface temperatures heat up and mid-June arrives.
Bass anglers are targeting summer patterns which means putting their backs to the banks in most places. Working main lake ledges will be the norm for the next several weeks for most tournament anglers.
Tossing big Texas rigged worms, huge deep diving crankbaits, jig and craw combos and swim baits will round out the bass anglers’ arsenal. Carolina rigged worms and lizards are also in the top five for most.
Meanwhile, schools of pin minnows comprised of what appears to be shad fry, are
beginning to show up around visible weed patches on
shallow shorelines and island rims.
Blowdowns are also holding a few minnows so some bass will stay around shallow cover as these schools mature and offer forage options.
Casting spinnerbaits, topwater and Texas rigged craws and worms will produce in the days and weeks ahead.
Seems there’s always a few fish shallow this time of year, although most of the winning tournament stringers will come from deeper venues such as humps and main lake ledges.
With rising lake levels in the forecast the shallow bite might improve by this weekend.
Several catfish continue to bite in a variety of depths. A few boats are beginning to back out and fish the edge of the main river channel in places.
Crappie fishermen working midrange stakebeds and brushpiles continue to tie into several in the course of a day so the catfish are slowly moving off shore and filtering out deeper.
Mayflies were spotted on Tuesday in the Paris Landing sector. Although it wasn’t a massive hatch it was the first one seen this year. Watch for continued hatches to occur in the next few weeks.
Although anglers have struggled at times in both the bass and crappie department, catches should improve as light southwest winds return.
STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.