Jun 28, 2024

Fishing Report 6/27/24

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


Remember back in the spring when cold north winds chilled to the bone? Anglers across the board were whining about unruly conditions pushed by nasty north winds and rain that dictated where and how folks could fish. Those that wished for warmer days may have wished too hard! A heat index lately has reached the three-digit mark at times and that has altered the Kentucky Lake fishing scene for the majority of summer fishermen. Even the die-hard anglers have been complaining about the hot and humid temps. Numbers of anglers on the lake has diminished because of excessive summer heat.

Despite the unruly temps there are still a few dedicated fishermen hitting the lake after an early morning wake-up call. It’s not all bad the first few hours as light breezes sometimes team up with a little cloud cover helping make the morning fishing trips tolerable.

Recreational boaters and anglers on Kentucky Lake’s will begin to notice the reservoir’s annual drawdown kicking in on July 1. Each year Tennessee Valley Authority implements its start toward winter drawdown once July arrives. It’s a long slow decline in lake levels that will see the reservoir’s elevation fall from the 359-summer pool level to a low ebb of winter pool, which is around an elevation of 354, by late October or early November. The drawdown is done so TVA can create more storage capacity within the reservoir as winter rains occur.

It’s all part of a complex system but generally speaking management of a sometimes-wild Tennessee River has served us well here in the valley and a byproduct of navigation, flood control and hydro power has been a recreational wonderland.

This week’s fishing scene has seen stable lake levels holding at normal summer pool of 359. That’s about to see a slow decline. Hot weather continues to dictate the summer fishing scene for practically all anglers. Surface temperatures this week have risen to the 87-to-89-degree range. A few scattered reports from the upper Big Sandy basin already reported some 90-degree water a few days.

Watercolor remains clear despite a few thunderstorms that drenched some portions of the area. Those pop-up dark clouds this time of year command respect and attention from everyone on the lake. Mayfly hatches continue to be the bright spot for some anglers who love to cast ultralight tackle in the midst of a feeding frenzy. Bluegill, bass, yellow bass all sorts of sunfish and more seem to benefit from nature’s buffet.

Tossing a Rooster Tail spinner will introduce you to a wide variety of species, but bluegill and bass love the little feather tail spinners. Tossing a cricket and slip bobber beneath the mayfly hatches will produce too. In the old days the art of using a flyrod and popping bug was the norm. That style of fishing is rarely seen on the lake these days, but it still works if you know how to perform the magical casting technique. Nothing quite like it as fish rise from placid waters, tearing a hole in the surface as they compete for falling flies. Some say it’s one of fishing’s finest hours.

From the catfish category comes a sluggish report as a lack of current lately has not worked in favor of anglers stalking the main Tennessee River channel area. Without the current the fish just don’t exhibit much interest. Their feeding habits diminish along with their attitude. Watch for that to improve once TVA resumes pulling more water through Kentucky Dam. The discharge rate lately has only been around the 18,000 cubic feet per second.

Bass fishing has been sluggish as well. Several boats are out searching main lake ledges in hopes of finding some schooling activity, but the bite has been very challenging. Anglers have been tossing everything in their summer arsenal---ranging from big deep diving crankbaits to Texas rigged worms and Carolina rigs---but the bass have not shown a lot of interest. That too will change once moving water returns to the picture.

There are still some nice schools of pin minnows holding around island rim weed beds and hovering in blow downs or boat docks and piers. The pin minnows are holding tight to cover and shade and there always seems to be a few bass right there with them. Tossing a spinnerbait or various topwater baits will produce strikes.

Summer crappie are still biting for those working deep brush piles and stake beds in the 18-to-20-foot depths. Some fish have been taken in the 12-to-15-foot depth range as well. Live minnows or jigs tipped with minnows are producing.

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