Mar 22, 2024

3-20-24 Fishing Report

 By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (


Spring on Kentucky Lake is a special time of year in more ways than one. It signals the arrival of the annual spawning phase of the area’s most popular panfish. Crappie are on the doorstep of active spawning phases. What’s needed now is a long stretch of mild warm weather with some light winds to accommodate anglers. Once surface temperatures reach the 62-to-66-degree range crappie will spawn here on shallow flats and back in some of the larger bays, which warm a bit quicker than main lake areas.

Several nice stringers continue to be caught by anglers using a variety of techniques as the fish stair-step their way up toward spawning territory. A lot of credit is going to anglers long lining Road Runner style jigs around the 12-to-14-foot depths. A few boats are trolling crankbaits out over midrange depths in main lake areas lately too. Others are casting jigs and doing quite well while a few boats are vertical fishing jig and minnow rigs over manmade fish attractors such as stake beds and brush piles.

When spring officially arrived back on March 19th the first few days of the new season delivered frigid temps reminiscent of winter mornings. However, it didn’t take long for normal weather to rebound but then again, what’s normal for March? Fishermen have battled unruly winds lately with an occasional shower or two. That’s vintage March. Some days cold and some warm; some windy and some calm. One never knows. Yet the lake has given up some hefty stringers throughout March and the fish are on the move and moving up daily.

Surface temperatures continue to gradually climb toward the low to mid 60’s. Not there yet but headed there fast.  Male crappie have already moved up ahead of the females toward somewhat shallow areas. A clear indication the spawn is nearing are the color phases of male crappie. They’re already showing hormonal changes with their darkening purple and black appearance.

Each passing day will see more crappie move up to the 5-to-10-foot depth range, although all the fish don’t leave deeper venues at the same time. Even when the peak of spawn is underway there’s always a few fishermen dragging some out of deep water. Meanwhile, lake levels have been rising this past week. The lake rose to levels of 356.8 range in the aftermath of heavy rains across the region. That’s about two feet or so above the normal level for the third week of March.

Odds are lake levels will fall a bit these next few days. Normally from the low ebb of winter pool range of the 354 level TVA begins a slow but gradual rise of the reservoir beginning April 1 each year. The normal curve sees the lake rise to summer pool level of 359 on or around May 1 each spring. Sometimes if the lake is a bit above the low ebb in late March (like it is now) TVA will hold that water. Other times they release it in order to create more storage capacity in the event heavy rains should occur. It’s sort of a guessing game for fishermen this time of year. Most don’t like to see lake levels falling as the crappie spawn nears. Anglers prefer to see a slow gradual rise. Fishermen just don’t like drastic changes that sometimes occur overnight during early unpredictable spring weather.

Both cold fronts and heavy rains can upset the timetable. Such changes can upset the applecart of both the fish and fishermen. Fishing patterns can literally change overnight. Dramatic drops in surface temperatures in a short time result in negative mood swings of crappie on the verge of dropping their eggs. Sometimes the fish back off and put the brakes on, backing away from shallow spawning habitat and suspending out deeper as they ride out cold fronts. Other times quick rising lake levels scatter the fish, making it tough for anglers to establish a pattern as to depth and location when fish are roaming. Lots of variables. It’s all part of the spring fishing scene.

Right now, fish should continue on their path toward spawning spots. While a lot of fish have been taken lately by anglers slow trolling out over midrange depths where fish are staging, a blitz toward structure should continue to occur the next week or two. Although some anglers have taken decent numbers as they vertical fished jigs over stake beds and brush piles there are several reports coming in from anglers observing fish on their Livescope sonar units that are roaming. Those anglers have been catching decent numbers as they cast jigs toward fish, they see on their sonar units.

Meanwhile, it’s high time some bank fishermen started picking up crappie around gravel and rocky banks. Shorelines give up a lot of crappie at times when fish are searching for habitat.

Bass fishermen are reporting more fish moving up on rocky points and shallow pea gravel shorelines. They too are in prespawn phase, and some hefty females bloated with eggs have been caught recently by anglers tossing crankbaits. March is a crankbait month here as so many gravel and big chunk rock banks appeal to prespawn bass. Stickups are holding some bass too and shallow exposed crappie beds are holding bass as a few reports from anglers tossing spinnerbaits, jig and craw combos and even Texas rigged craws and lizards have produced. Patterns are changing daily as fish are on the move and surface temps warm.

Mar 20, 2024

Let's Go Fishing

Kentucky Lake 3/14/24 

By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (


Time to turn the page. Spring officially arrive Tuesday despite chilly temps that sort of want to hang around. Best not trade in the coveralls on a screen door just yet; March is still in charge. Sometimes she’s an unpredictable month; known for her Ides that blow the treetops sideways with a howl while also blowing the cap off your head.

Fishermen can’t complain much as the last few weeks have delivered a dose of early spring weather. Trees are screaming spring with all their budding displays and until the last few days it has been short sleeve shirt temps. It’s fair to say the weather roller coaster has a few more thrills left. Sometimes even early April can deliver surprises.

Kentucky Lake’s late winter and early spring fishing scene has been mostly kind to bass and crappie anglers. For weeks now fishermen have been out in force, often picking their days and soaking up warm sunny conditions when tolerable winds allowed pleasant outings. Crappie fishermen are logging some nice stringers and they already had a nice start before spring arrived on the calendar.

Surface temps this week have climbed to the 57-degree range. Actually, there was a day or two when readings were higher than that back in shallow bays. A couple of recent cool snaps sort of put the brakes on the rapid warm up that was underway. Lake levels are up slightly from last week and were dancing around the 354.8 range at Kentucky Dam this week. Watercolor remains clear across the reservoir.

TVA’s curve for reservoir management has Kentucky Lake staying at the low ebb of winter pool—around the 354-elevation range---until April 1 when filling begins. The curve allows the reservoir to slowly rise to summer pool elevation of 359 on or around May 1 each year. All the lake level predictions are always subject to heavy rainfall so there are several variables in the equation each spring. Right now, things are pretty much on schedule.

Most of the nice stringers of crappie are coming from midrange depths of 9 to 13 feet but there are other depths giving up fish too. As surface temps warm more movement takes place as both crappie and bass are on the threshold of migrating toward spawning spots.

Once surface temps warm into the 62-to-66-degree range active spawning phases for crappie kick in. Some bass are known to start around that range too of not earlier. Smallmouth have a reputation of spawning sooner than largemouth. Bottom line is Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene, while still in prespawn phases, is about to kick into high gear.

Each spring male crappie move into shallow areas somewhat ahead of the females and while on the magic march their pigmentation begins to turn darker. Due to hormonal changes male crappie take on that beautiful purple or dark shade as active spawning phase arrives, which for us on Kentucky Lake has traditionally been the first two weeks of April. Weather conditions can alter the timetable.

In times past I’ve seen active spawning phases for bass and crappie kick in the last week of March. That’s somewhat unusual but an extended spell of warm weather delivers rising surface temperatures which accelerate the biological clock. Then there are times when fish have moved up shallow and right on the doorstep of spawning only to have drastic cold fronts descend and upset the apple cart. Fishermen really grit their teeth when that happens, often threatening to take the weather forecasters off their Christmas list! 

Both overnight cold fronts and flooding conditions greatly alter the fishing scene when they show up uninvited to the party. Rapidly rising lake stages tend to scatter fish, making it tough for anglers to establish a pattern. Cold fronts are detrimental too. Quick changes in surface temperatures confuse spawning crappie. Often times egg laden females will back off the banks away from spawning habitat and suspend, opting to ride things out instead of dropping their eggs under adverse conditions. Stability of weather accompanied by a slow or gradual rise in lake levels has proven to be the best combination for spawning and fishing here on the big pond.

Meanwhile, dandy stringers are being taken as fish continue to move up and stage in midrange depths. Once surface temps reach the spawning range of 62 to 66 degree the fish will make a blitz toward spawning structure. Just how shallow crappie and bass venture toward shorelines has a lot to do watercolor (turbidity) too. Dingy or stained water seems to warm a bit faster, and it lures the fish to shallower depths for spawning.

A few old timers on Kentucky Lake recall fond memories of fishing the buck bushes and other shoreline habitat when muddy waters brought the fish right up on the shorelines to spawn. Dingy water filtered out sunlight, so the fish headed to shallow areas to find their comfort zones. While some of that still occurs at times here, the lion’s share of crappie nowadays choose to spawn out away from shorelines in the 5 to 10-foot depth range. Manmade fish attractors such as stake beds and brush piles or natural stump fields can fulfill most of that need.

In future articles I’ll talk more about specifics and how the reservoir has changed over the years. Meanwhile, already producing are a variety of techniques as fish continue to stair-step their way toward spawning zones. This week success stories have come in from boats long lining Road Runners and twister tail grubs out over main lake ledges and flat in 10-to-14-foot depths.

Those slow-moving spider rig style presentations are producing too. Anglers experiment with color combinations and push a buffet of baits out over suspended crappie staging in la-la land filling coolers in the process. Vertical presentations of tube and hair jigs always work great as anglers locate structure on their sophisticated sonar units and cherry pick the fish relating tight to cover.

Not to be forgotten are the light tackle guys who sometimes back off and cast jigs or minnows toward shallow venues or out over submerged structure. They too scored hefty stringers at times. Kentucky Lake has always offered a variety of depths and patterns that pay dividends at the same time. That’s one of the many reasons we’ve got a great fishing lake!!!

Mar 19, 2024

Fishing Is Fine!


🌊Ky Lake🌊 is giving all it has for 2024
Crappie season!!!🎣 Betty Cummings, who obviously taught these guys well, is showing out this 🌻spring🌻!! Pack up your fishing poles and 🌞Come play with us!!! 🌞 #kylake #crappiefishing

Mar 17, 2024

New PLTL Member

 Please welcome!

Myers Landing Rv Resort
411 Buchanan Resort Rd., Springville, TN 38256
731-642-7442, Email:
Campground, Full Site Hookups, Motel, Pool, Playground, Laundry Mat
Fun for the whole family!

It Was A Beautiful Day

Photo by Shannon Mcfarlin

"The Canada geese were having a meeting at Paris Landing today. I think they were wanting to tell me to go away (and take my little dog with me, as I heard in a movie once)."

Mar 12, 2024

Blast From The Past


"Do you remember Lakeview Grocery and Cafe at Paris Landing? On their postcard, they advertised "boats, motors, guides, groceries, restaurant, gas, oil, novelties, all kinds of bait."

Mar 11, 2024

PLTL Monthly Meeting

The monthly meeting of the Paris Landing Tourism League (PLTL) will be held Tuesday, March 12th, at 6 pm at the Senior Center inside the Paris Landing Emergency Complex.

Hope to see you there!

Mar 6, 2024

The Latest Fishing Report

Here’s the latest fishing report for Kentucky Lake around the Paris Landing area:

  • Weather and Conditions:

    • Unseasonably warm weather has been prevalent, with temperatures climbing near record highs. Some days, the mercury even reached 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite unusual for this time of year.
    • Normal daytime highs typically hover around 52 degrees Fahrenheit in late February.
    • Surface water temperatures are dancing around the 52-degree range, and the water color remains clear.
    • Lake levels have been gradually falling, with the reservoir down to create more storage capacity in case of heavy rains or storms.
  • Crappie Fishing:

    • Anglers targeting the 12 to 15-foot depth range have been successful. Submerged structures in this depth zone are yielding decent stringers of crappie.
    • Some anglers are finding fish in shallower depths as well, ranging from 8 to 11 feet.
    • Techniques that are paying off include:
      • Spider rig presentation: Using multi-pole buffets of jigs trolled slowly over main lake flats and ledges.
      • Casting jigs over brushpiles and stakebeds in midrange depths.
      • Vertical presentations of jigs and live minnow rigs over main lake structure.
      • A few fish have been taken on the deep sides of main lake ledges in the 17 to 20-foot depth range.
  • Spring Arrival:

    • Anglers are buzzing about the arrival of spring, even though it officially begins on March 19th this year.
    • Signs point to an early spring: crappie biting, flowers blooming, and birds whistling.
    • However, wise anglers know that March can be unpredictable, with temperature swings and gusty winds.

Remember to keep your gear handy, including sunscreen, overcoat, gloves, raingear, and coveralls. And while an early spring is exciting, always be prepared for surprises! 🎣🌸

For more detailed reports, you can also check out Steve McCadams’ Fishing Report covering Kentucky Lake from Paris Landing to New Johnsonville. Steve McCadams is a professional guide and outdoor writer from Paris, Tennessee, and his insights are valuable for local anglers1.