Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley’s current elevation is 359.0. The two lakes fluctuate from 359.0 (summer pool) to 354.0 (winter pool). They are currently at summer pool. During this time of year, the water level will fluctuate three to five inches a day depending on the generation schedule. Anyone wanting to check daily lake level elevations and generation schedules before traveling to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley can view the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) website at www.tva.com
under reservoir levels.
Surface temperatures on both lakes are in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. Largemouth bass on Lake Barkley are being caught on deep diving crankbaits, 5/8 ounce jigs, Carolina rigs, and 10 inch worms in 8 to 10 feet of water. Look for drops, humps, and bars at the mouths of the bays and be patient. An angler may catch several small bass in the 13 to 15 inch range during the course of the day. Move around and try different areas until you locate the 3 to 5 pound bass.
Largemouth bass on Kentucky Lake are being caught on drops and ledges in the mouths of the bays. The ledges in the mouths of Blood River and Jonathon creek have been producing several large fish. Main lake ledges near the dam on North Kentucky have been producing several good largemouth in the 3 to 5 pound range. Because of the water clarity, bass will be deeper than Lake Barkley and are being caught in the 15 to 20 feet range. Swim baits, ¾ ounce jigs, Texas rigged 10 inch worms, and Carolina rigs will produce several fish. Look for irregular features like rock piles, or turns and points that extend out into the channel. Secondary channels and gullies that wind across a main lake flat can produce large numbers of fish.
Smallmouth bass fishing on Kentucky Lake has been slow during the past few weeks. Because of the water clarity, smallmouth will primarily start feeding at night. Big spinnerbaits and ¾ ounce jigs cast around main lake gravel points at night can produce several fish. Smallmouth can be as shallow as 4 feet or as deep as 30 feet during this time of year.
Crappie fishing has been slow. Crappie are being caught in 10 to 15 feet of water over brush piles near river and creek channels. The majority of the crappie have completed spawning and have moved to deeper structure. Curly tail grubs and 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with minnows work extremely well. Use several rods and vary the depth of each rod until you determine which depth you receive the most strikes.
During June and July catfishing will be outstanding. It’s not uncommon to catch 40 to 50 catfish during the course of day. Concentrate your efforts around the edges of the old river and creek channels on Lake Barkley. Cutbait, bluegill, and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom work best.
If you are planning a trip to Kentucky or Barkley, now’s the time. Largemouth, bluegill, and catfish are at their best.