Jun 24, 2024

Fishing Report

 June Crappie Bite Holds Up; Catfish/Bass on Main Lake Ledges

 By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (stevemc@charter.net)

Report for June 20, 2024

Decent stringers of crappie continue to show up in the coolers of June anglers who know how to stalk the main lake ledges and deeper brushpiles and stakebeds.

Despite the heat fishing has held up pretty good for those rising early and hitting the lake before a midday sun becomes a game changer. “Get up and get going” is the motto among the ranks of summer fishermen who know the early morning hours offer the best opportunity, especially when some cloud cover teams up with a light southern breeze.

The first official day of summer arrived last Thursday but summer weather has been on the scene for several weeks for Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene.

Lake levels remain stable and holding around the summer pool levels of 359. TVA is discharging around 23,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) through Kentucky Dam which means a slow current is present in the main Tennessee River channel area most days.

Water color remains clear. Surface temperatures have warmed to the 83 to 85 degree range.

June has long been a month that’s overlooked by crappie anglers here as the fish bite good once they begin to relate to midrange depth structure. Finding submerged structure in the 9 to 15 foot depth range will produce crappie.

Some deeper venues have given up fish too such as the deep side of a main lake ledge in the 16 to 20 foot depth range. Locating structure is the key, especially if baitfish activity is present.

Lately most anglers are relying on a jig tipped with a minnow or in many cases fishing a minnow only. There are some casting jigs around the deeper structure and having success with that technique as well.

Others are using a vertical presentation of a double hook bottom bumping rig, moving along slowly while closely monitoring their sonar screen looking for structure and baitfish.

The double hook rig allows anglers to feel the structure while closely watching their line and rod tip for light strikes from finicky summer crappie.

Tying into a catfish or hefty largemouth bass is all part of the thrill too as summer fishing out on the main lake ledges can produce a wide variety of species. Annoying yellow bass often school out there with some larger white bass as well.

Seems there’s always some activity once you establish the right depth range. A slow flow out on the Tennessee River channel has produced a decent catfish bite at times. Current is the key as without it the balls of baitfish just don’t move around much feeding on the plankton that moving water stimulates.

Depths of 35 to 45 feet have held catfish lately and some even deeper at times.

Baits such as chicken liver, nightcrawlers, big minnows, cutbait from small bluegill or shad plus a variety of commercial stink bait concoctions have worked well for summer catfishermen, Moving along slowly with the current while observing your sonar screen watching for schools of shad is the ticket.

Bass fishermen are concentrating most of their efforts on main lake ledges these days. Tossing big crankbaits or perhaps hopping a jig and craw or working a Texas rigged worm has produced a few nice stringers lately. Some opt for tossing Carolina rigged worms or swim bait presentations.

Still producing are some shallow treelaps along main lake shorelines or river island rims where schools of pin minnows are hiding in the cover. Seems there’s always some bass activity along the shallow weeds and treelaps or blowdowns once pin minnows are located.

Best bets are tossing a white or chartreuse/blue skirted spinnerbait with a gold willow leaf blade.

As summer progresses wise are the anglers who hit the lake early and get several hours of fishing in before a midday sun and stagnant wind takes over and calls the shots.

Summer fishing can be quite good. Put your catch on ice instead of a hot livewell.

Just realize your limitations and adjust your schedule. Keep plenty of cold water accessible and be liberal with the sunscreen applications.

Jun 10, 2024

FerrySTOC 15 Over

The 15th annual FerrySTOC event was held at the Paris Landing KOA Campground May 16th - 19th 2024.  There was a good mixture of motorcyclist tenters and cabiners, and we had about 23 attendees, even though there was decent rain almost each day.  The KOA prepared and served, and the Paris Landing Tourism League supplied, a hearty breakfast one morning, a nice make your own potato bar (modeled after Prater's Taters method) dinner, and a pie & ice cream desert already over the three days.  They were definitely appreciative getting all this, and the meals keep them coming back to the Paris Landing area for 15 years now, and the last 5 times at the KOA, for sure. 😊 

These gentlemen come from several states away, and one as close as Nashville, and are very appreciative of everything that the League, and the KOA, does for them.

The KOA, while a being a tiresome weekend, definitely appreciates hosting this event to attract this group back to the area year after year, so they can spend their tourism dollars on some local restaurants, gas stations, etc. We always encourage them to do exactly that upon check in during registration.

We also implemented an early rebooking for them so they can sign up for next year, and we have approximately 10 of them already signed up for 2025 FerrySTOC!

Marc & Starr Peterson
Paris Landing KOA

Monthly Meeting

The monthly meeting of the Paris Landing Tourism League (PLTL) will be held Tuesday, June 11th, at 6 pm at the Senior Center inside the Paris Landing Emergency Complex.

Hope to see you there!

Jun 9, 2024

Fishing Report 6-6-24

 By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (stevemc@charter.net)


Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene had returned to normal in terms of lake levels and overall weather patterns this week. It has been a wild ride the previous two or three weeks. Presently, the reservoir is back to near normal summer pool level. Readings were showing an elevation of 359.2 at Kentucky Dam as this report was updated. Surface temps have warmed to the 79 to 81 degree range. Water color is clearing in backwater bays but still dingy in the main Tennessee River channel.

Mayfly hatches were underway this week as massive swarms of flies could be seen along river islands and main lake shorelines. Several mayflies were also showing up in the upper end of Big Sandy. That can stimulate the bite for both bass and bluegill around shallow weed beds, low overhanging trees and around steep banks.

Not many old techniques such as using a fly rod and popping bug are seen out there anymore but tossing ultralight spinning tackle with slip-bobbers and boats armed with wax worms or crickets is deadly. So is casting a small Rooster Tail around the shorelines where flies are present. Anglers can tie into a lot of different species during the peak of a mayfly hatch. Look for big hatches to continue for another month or more. Several bluegill were still lingering around some late bedding areas where anglers were tying into decent numbers in 3 feet of water or less.

Catfish are still hanging around some shallow shorelines too as bluegill fishermen continue to hook into them on a regular basis. The shallow bushes and weeds are full of small shad fry that have hatched out the last week or two so there is an abundance of forage that lures them to shallow structure. At the same time the bite has resumed somewhat for boaters moving out and working the main river channel areas. Watch for the bite to hold up for several more weeks as the summer catfish bite is dependent on some current out there to stir up the schools of shad. Baits of choice are nightcrawlers, big minnows, cut bait, chicken livers and a host of commercial baits that work well too.

Post spawn crappie hare biting pretty good as they fall back to mid-range depths of 9 to 15 feet. June can be a good month to find and catch crappie. The fish resume their affinity for structure so brush piles and stake beds are holding them. Both live minnows and various jig color combinations are producing.

Bass fishermen are finding pretty good action around shallow weeds and buck bushes, not to mention blown down trees that are attracting big schools of pin minnows. Quite a few schools of pin (shad fry) minnows are gathering around any shoreline cover or island rims and that draws the bass. Find the schooling minnows and you’ll find the bass. Casting gold willow leaf spinner baits, Texas rigged worms and assorted topwater is working well.

Kentucky Lake’s ledge bite has improved as anglers tossing big deep diving crank baits are back out there pounding away, covering a lot of water in an attempt to locate some schooling fish. Big Texas rigged worms in the green pumpkin pepper, black/blue and red shad color variations are a few popular color choices. Carolina rigged worms plus swim baits and hopping a jig and craw combo have paid dividends as well.

With the return of normal lake levels and weather patterns comes a good early summer fishing pattern with much more predictability on the whereabouts of all species.

Jun 5, 2024

Lunch & Learn at Cavitt Place

 The Tennessee State Museum comes to Cavitt Place for a Lunch & Learn on the First Peoples of Tennessee, with Senior Curator of Archeology Debbie Shaw.

May 31, 2024

Fishing Report

 By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (stevemc@charter.net)


May’s saga with changing lake levels continues. Elevation across the reservoir jumped almost three feet recently---TVA had initially projected a crest of 362.9 at Kentucky Dam last Wednesday but on Thursday revised it and the reservoir was falling ---in the aftermath of severe storms that dumped heavy rains across an already wet TVA valley. Normal summer pool level is 359 so the lake is high but crested at midweek and is now falling fast. TVA was pulling more than 90,000 cubic feet per second through Kentucky Dam on Thursday.

Water color is muddy to dingy in many areas but not too bad to fish in most of the larger bays. It will begin to clear quickly as declining lake levels will pull most of the muddy and dingy water out of bays off the flats. Clearing is already underway, but the main Tennessee River channel will likely remain dingy for a few more days.

Surface temperatures are in the 76 to 79 degree range and will rise in the days ahead.

Rising lake levels stimulated the catfish bite as they moved up to shallow areas following the water that inundates new feeding opportunities. Backwater bays and pockets saw a lot of fish taken around shallow shoreline structure and rocky bank areas. Some boats were scoring good stringers while jug fishing the backwater bays.

Since the decent has already started watch for a lot of current in the main Tennessee River channel for the next several days, which should stimulate the catfish bite out there on the channel banks. When TVA begins pushing a lot of water through Kentucky Dam in an effort to pull the reservoir back down to normal summer pool the catfish bite will really turn on.

Bottom bumping presentations along the main river bank should produce excellent catfishing opportunities. From night crawlers to big minnows and all sorts of commercial concoctions, look for the catfish to be in high gear as long as the current keeps flowing. Some catfish were taken back in bays and pockets and along rocky banks in relatively shallow water too where feeder creeks brought runoff info the main lake.

A few bluegill are still biting and several boats continue to target them by casting crickets, wax worms and red wigglers. Many were relating to bushes and grassbeds this week.

A few mayfly hatches are beginning to show up along Kentucky Lake shorelines. Watch for some massive hatches these next few weeks along river islands and main lake shorelines.

Post spawn crappie will regain their footing now that high waters are receding. Depths of 11 to 15 feet had been producing with some fish even deeper on main lake ledges at times. June can be a good month for crappie and the bite will likely resume by next week.

Bass fishermen were beginning to back off the banks and fish the ledge bite before high water entered the picture but watch for that pattern to resume next week once the lake falls back to summer pool levels. However, there are a lot of schools of small shad fry showing up along river islands and back in bays where the pin minnows gang up around structure such as buck bushes, logs, treelaps and grassbeds.

It’s a great time to toss a spinnerbait, buzzbait, shallow running crankbaits and a Texas rigged worm around shallow structure once schools of baitfish are located. There’s always a few bass chasing shallow bait fish. At the same time the main lake ledge bite will improve for those tossing big crankbaits, Texas rigged worms, jig and pig, Carolina rigs and swimbaits.

It has been a strange late spring fishing pattern as anglers tried to outguess the fish during drastically changing lake levels. Anglers have to be asking themselves if stability will every return to the fishing scene? It will indeed if the storms and floods ever stop interfering.