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Scott McGlinchey's Fishing Report

Bass Showing Signs of Fall Transition

Published on August 5, 2020

On Kentucky and Barkley Lakes the beginning of August is the start of fall fishing. This is when the primary bait fish threadfin shad start to move shallow.

What happens is many of the small fry sized shad will migrate to the shallow flat water and they stay there. Then there is another evening migration where you will see schools of shad appear on the surface out off shore 300 yards from the main lake banks about an hour before dark.

In 30 minutes or so, they will have moved the 300 yards and be right on that main lake bank or point. On good evenings bass will be waiting for those shad to arrive and the angler can catch the bass as they are eating the shad.

The best techniques for catching the shallow fall bass are top water popper or stick bait, rattle trap, spinnerbait, crankbait, or a finesse bait. I prefer some kind of topwater. These topwater fish will bite all day, even when the sun is over head - keeping in mind some days are better than others.

Last fall the bass fishing was better than the last two fall seasons so I am hoping for a similar result this year. I have seen times when bass were actively feeding on shad and I could not get them to strike my topwater bait. I switched to a lipless crankbait to catch them.

The best shallow water to fish are shallow points or flats near the main lake, even out on the main lake flats, and any shallow water all the way to the back end of creeks and bays. On any given day you may have to move around to find where they are biting best.

Ledge fishing on many lakes continues to be good in the early fall and late summer. Here on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes I like to focus on ledges that are shallower or inside a creek mouth. Any brushpile, man made wood structure, or stump in 10 to 20 feet can hold quality sized bass.

In my last report I talked about the comeback and abundance of baitfish present in Kentucky Lake. I have seen with my eye and with electronics how the shad population has came back since 2016.

A lot of fisherman have asked about all the fry baitfish that were schooled up out off shore and I did find out that these baitfish were silverside minnows and emerald shiners.

Again I do want anglers to know that there are more shad in the lake right now than we have had since 2016. Just this morning I saw some nice balls of shad in shallower water and quality bass feeding on them. I caught some but also missed some.

I even saw some schools of white bass breaking the surface eating shad. I caught some of the whites and they were about half a pound. The white bass are starting to come back as I have seen the small ones that are merely a couple inches long feeding on shad fry all this summer and last summer.

Those small white bass I saw feeding last summer are probably the same half-pounders I caught today - just a lot bigger than last year.

August 1 marks the beginning of fall fishing and from what I have seen with baitfish booms and from the fish I caught today I think the fall fishing will be good this year!

Please check out and like my Shelldivers Guide Service Facebook Page and my updated website.

Scott McGlinchey's Bio

Owner of Shelldiver Guide Service in Dexter, Ky., Scott specializes in largemouth bass fishing on Kentucky Lake. In addition to teaching new techniques for clients, Scott also helps prepare tournament anglers. He's got 30 years of fishing experience and frequently posts photos of catches and underwater shellbeds on his Facebook page. Search for Shelldiver Guide Service on Facebook.

Scott's report covers both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

Scott McGlinchey
Shelldiver Guide Service

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