Fishing Reports

Home // Fishing // Reports Reports | Guides | Bait/Tackle | Species | Ramps | Bowfishing | Rules & Regs | FAQs

Steve McCadams' Fishing Report

Winter Fishing Has Ups and Downs

Published on January 13, 2021

Kentucky Lake’s winter fishing scene has had some ups and downs lately as to weather and wind. Lake levels haven’t fluctuated too much but temperatures and wind have.

This week started out cold with a few snow flurries over part of the region. Brisk north winds kept a chill in the air for several days, curtailing activity for some anglers who chose to opt out of going in favor of waiting on warmer days.

Yet here are always a few die-hard anglers out there and when the wind isn’t too bad they wrap up and brave the elements when the crappie are biting.

After a frigid start this week when temps dipped down below freezing several nights things have moderated and highs are expected to climb back into the mid to upper 50’s a day or two. That will pull a lot of anglers back out on the lake although some pretty high south winds may accompany the warmup.

Lake levels are in the 354.3 range this week at Kentucky Dam and upstream around Paris Landing. Elevation upstream around New Johnsonville was similar with readings in the 354.4 range. Water color remains clear. Surface temps were in the 38 to 42 degree range.

Crappie continue to bite for a lot of boats working the midrange depths of 9 to 13 feet. Anglers fishing jigs and minnows around manmade fish attractors such as stakebeds and brushpiles are catching decent numbers.

At the same time some fishermen are targeting deeper depths and focusing their efforts on the deep sides of main lake ledges in depths of 18 to 25 feet deep at times.

They too are picking up a few fish in the deep zones. Angler Bill Edwards of Paris Landing called last week to report a good day of fishing when he landed a nice slab crappie that tipped his scales at 3-pounds!

The hefty crappie was weighed on certified scales at his fish market so it’s a reliable weight. He was fishing in the 20 to 22 foot depth range and landed the big slab while fishing a live minnow.

The fish measured 17 1/2-inches long! Edwards said he has been fishing the lake a long time but doesn’t recall catching one this big before.

Meanwhile, a few reports have come in from winter catfishermen who found success in deep water while bumping along using nightcrawlers. Some reported finding the catfish in 50 feet of water!

Not many reports ever mention sauger anymore but one did last week as there are still a few out there. There was a time when winter fishing for sauger along the Tennessee River was very popular.

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

< Go Back