Murray, KY – Hear tips for hot weather fishing in our lakes, considering fish biology and habitat, with the FLW Outdoors Fishing Report.
Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Outdoors Weekly Fishing Report.
From the reports I'm getting, fishing isn't so great now, though I don't know if it's because there's just not that many people going fishing, or because the fish really aren't biting as aggressively.
The surface temperature in Kentucky Lake is ranging from the low to mid 80s now; that's hot, which means that bass have moved out into deeper water that meets the needs of their metabolism. Of course, bass don't really pay a lot of attention to hot or cold water, because they're cold-blooded and their body temperature is regulated by the water around them. But their metabolism governs how they digest food and use dissolved oxygen in the water and generally get along. And for everything to be working properly, bass need water temperatures somewhere in the 70s.
What is more important than water temperature is where their food is, which in these parts is usually threadfin or gizzard shad. Those guys feed on algae and plankton blooms, which are governed by water temperature and light penetration. This time of year, shad are out in the middle of the lake in water from a foot to 10 feet deep where the water is around the mid 70s. Because that's where their meals are, bass are suspending along the river ledges now in about 20 feet of water, and only moving to feed or take advantage of optimum current. Big plastic worms and creature baits such as the zoom ol' monster and brush hog, Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged are your best bet. Football jigs also are accounting for some fair catches, though we're talking about four or five fish a day now, instead of the dozens that guys were catching in a day's fishing a few weeks ago. Deep-diving crankbaits also are producing some fish, but you've really got to work for them. As for crappies; not much doing there except on the deep ledges with small crankbaits or minnows. Only scattered catches of catfish, bluegills and redears are coming in, mainly by soaking worms on the bottom along points and deep banks. The exception for bluegills is when random willow flies hatches get cranked up back in the coves. These always generate a really good popping bug bite, but you can also catch bluegills on worms and crickets.
If you're on the lake and trying to cool off a bit between stops, keep an eye out for white bass. Anglers report schooling whites are starting to bust fingerling shad on the surface, so have a spinning outfit rigged with a mepps or rooster tail spinner handy. Remember, if you do get close to a jump, shut your big motor down immediately and drift into the fish. If you don't, the shad will leave the surface and take the bass with them.
I wish I had more good things to say about the fishing, but it is what it is. If you're going out in this triple-digit heat, be sure to cover up properly and drink plenty of water while you're out there. Every once in a while, stop fishing and go boat riding. It's like instant air conditioning.
That's it for now. Until next time, this is Scott Ellison of FLW Outdoors signing off.