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Steve McCadams' Fishing Report

Mixture of Weather Greets Anglers

Published on February 16, 2024

Kentucky Lake’s winter fishermen have been riding that weather roller coaster again. One day cold; next day warm. Then there’s sometimes snow. Sometimes rain.

Some days are windy while others are calm. February is a month (and so is March) with a wide variety of weather patterns.

Best not hide the overcoat and coveralls too deep in the closet just yet. Both February and March are known to deliver a little dab of winter and spring weather, which sometimes packs a punch.

This past week was a prime example, starting off with a winter chill but ending with a touch of spring. Fishermen all over the Kentucky Lake area have spring fever.

Lake levels had risen last week some two feet or so in the aftermath of heavy rains but the reservoir crested quickly and has been falling slowly. Elevation this week was around the 356.2 range. Normal winter pool is around the 354 range.

Water color remains clear. Surface temperatures had warmed to the upper 40’s but cold nights have an influence. Warmer days are in the forecast so surface temps will likely cross the 50 degree range soon.

Scores of anglers have been testing the waters whenever the wind allows them to venture out. Pretty good stringers of crappie have been taken by a few anglers too.

Some are crediting their catches to 16 to 19 foot main lake ledges while others have managed to find a few fish moving up to midrange stakebeds and brushpiles in 9 to 12 feet.

A few bank fishermen always seem to score this time of the year at places like Springville pumphouse. The discharge area adjacent to the launch ramp sometimes stirs up a lot of shad and when it does the bite is on.

Most fishermen there like to cast a slip bobber out around the discharge spot where current is flowing from the pumps out into the main lake area. Beneath their slip bobbers are usually assorted colors of jigs but some like to try a live minnow now and then.

The spot has always been a favorite for shoreline fishermen in late winter and early spring. There’s even a few fishermen who enjoy night fishing there as they toss lighted bobbers out which alert them to strikes.

Meanwhile, down around the Paris Landing sector most boaters are targeting main lake ledges. Some rely heavily on modern day sonar equipment and depend on their electronics to take them to the fish.

Deeper manmade fish attractors are holding fish at present. Vertical fishing techniques are the most popular as anglers dangle their favorite colored jig down around submerged structure on the deep sides of drop-offs. Others go to brush and stakebeds they’ve placed out in the main lake venues.

Other techniques are producing such as casting jigs out over structure. Trolling spider rigs has worked too as those slow moving bait buffets usually produce if you find the right depth range.

Late February and early March are still in the prespawn phase of fishing but by mid-March crappie begin stair stepping their way toward shallow flats and venturing toward big bays where spawning territory is nearby.

A few bass have been taken by anglers tossing crawfish and shad colored crankbaits plus some pearl and white swim baits. Carolina rigs have accounted for a few bass too as the fish like that slow moving retrieve.

Spring weather has stimulated fishing pox. The only cure is to go fishing!

Steve McCadams' Bio

Steve has been fishing professionally for over 40 years on Kentucky Lake. He is a member of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Hame and Legends of the Outdoors. Steve also guides for ducks during the season.

With his residence in Paris, Tenn., Steve's report covers Paris Landing to New Johnsonville.

Steve McCadams

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