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.

No comments: