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Doug Wynn's Fishing Report

Crappie Slowly Migrating to Fall & Winter Patterns

Published on September 29, 2023

Hey from the Excel Storm Cat 230. I'm ready for summer to retreat. The calendar is ready to roll over to October and it's not supposed to be this warm.

The fishing scene is improving with the slow migration toward the fall and early winter feeding grounds. That said, we still need the surface temperatures to cool down to get the bulk of the fish off the main lake and into the bays.

I've done a couple of trips this week with happy clients to show for it. Both wanted to learn my crankbait technique. The first, a Grandfather and Grandson from Illinois, were to the point of writing Kentucky Lake off as a fishing destination.

As long time visitors, their normal tactics were not working. I got a call and happened to have an open date the next day. I think they started out skeptical but ended up believers. We found nice fish both on main lake ledges and in the bays along the channel drops. Several different species were caught. They left talking about setting their boat up like mine for their next trip back to Kentucky Lake.

My second was a learning trip to scope out my boat set-up and how I use my Humminbird electronics to locate and catch crappie and sauger. The weather was stormy with east winds, sometimes stout.

The crappie cooperated as did several other species but the sauger didn't. Some days they bite, some they don't. We ended up with a bag of fillets that made the client happy.

I've said many times, find the bait, find the fish. This time of the year that is especially true as the gamefish fatten up for winter then the rigors of the spring spawn.

This week we have caught crappie from 5 inches to 15 3/4 inches. The great spawns of recent years are now growing past the 10 inch legal size. My advice is be sure to measure those fish carefully. We were checked this week and spent some time talking to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officer about what we were seeing and catching. It is great to see them protecting this valuable resource.

The lake is down close to winter pool and some ramps are iffy at best. The gremlins don't have to be offshore to damage your gear.

One thing to watch for now is some sort of floating organic matter that resembles cotton that constantly tried to foul our lines while trolling. Fouled lines mean baits that don't run right so fish won't bite them. Check your baits and lines often.

Fishing during the week is glorious now due to the lack of recreational boat traffic. The water is still warm enough for those who chose to get wet. I'd rather not at my age.

Be careful out there! Wearing your PFDs doesn't make you a sissy. IMO it is the smart move in case of an unforeseen dunking. I use the auto/manual inflating PFDs and several times my clients have worn them all day and got out of my boat to leave with them still on, unnoticed.

One had his on as we walked into Dutch Kitchen restaurant at Lynnhurst Family Resort. I don't require clients to wear them unless they are under 12 years old. I do always offer them to clients and I wear mine any time the boat is above idle speed.

Watch out for those who won't watch out for you and help those boaters who need help. Pulling a stranded boater in might take a bit of your time but it might be you who needs a tow the next time.

There is a change in the weather coming next week and with cooler temperatures, the fishing should get even better. Get out there and enjoy it.

Welcome to our slice of heaven.

Doug Wynn's Bio

Doug Wynn has been fishing Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley for most of his life. He is the owner of Crappie Gills 'n More. Doug fishes both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley and specializes in crappie, bluegill, catfish and other panfish species.

Doug's fishing report covers Lake Barkley from Canton to Barkley Dam and Kentucky Lake from Paris Landing to Kentucky Dam.

Doug Wynn
Crappie Gills 'n More

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