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Steve McCadams' Fishing Report

Lake Levels Fluctuate; Honeymoon with Warm Weather May End

Published on January 15, 2020

From the winter fishing scene on Kentucky Lake comes the roller coaster ride now underway with lake levels. The last week to ten days has seen the reservoir fall below winter pool for a few days---it got down to 353.3 for a short period---only to begin a slow but gradual rise which is still in progress.

At present, TVA was projecting a rise to 358.1 for the weekend but the reservoir could rise higher than that as both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers have been flooded out lately, which diminishes discharge rates.

Surface temperatures this week have been in the 52 degree range. Water color has been clear for the most part.

Despite the changes in lake levels crappie anglers have managed to score some decent stringers, most of which were caught last week and the first part of this week. Rising lake levels now underway could scatter fish as that’s usually the case but anglers can also expect some crappie to move up to shallow to midrange depths as they follow their forage base.

Shad usually move up when lake levels rise fast, bringing the crappie with them.

Catches lately were reportedly taken from some midrange structure in the 9 to 14 foot depth ranges while a few boats were still targeting deeper drop-offs in the main lake around the 20 to 25 foot depth range.

Most boats are using both jigs and minnows in their presentations plus tipping jigs with Berkley Power Bait at times.

Winter anglers have been lucky overall as weather and temperatures have worked in their favor. Temps have ranged from 10 to 15 degrees above normal at times, which has suited anglers just fine but disappointed a lot of winter waterfowlers who have suffered during the high water and warm temperatures this fall and winter.

Meanwhile, a cold front is in the forecast and will arrive by Sunday, setting the stage for a cold week ahead. The return of winter weather will curtail fishing activity for a few days as anglers have gotten spoiled these last few weeks.

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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