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Kentucky Lake Best Bet… Crappie

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For those that have not been down to Kentucky Lake on a guide trip with me you should give it a try. There is no telling what lake level we will be faced with on Shelbyville this spring. At the time of this writing it is 19 ft. above winter pool. They have dropped it 4 1/2 ft. since the flood but have a long ways to go and we haven’t started getting spring rains yet. Kentucky Lake came up 7 ft. but remained clear and they are catching fish now. They can drop this lake much quicker than Shelbyville.

I am guiding down there from March 20th- April 20th and still have 13 open dates for the spring and several in the fall. March 27 April 5,6,7,11,17,19 October 18-25 with more to follow once I get these booked.

We all set on the nose of the boat and tight line either a jig or plain minnow. Everyone can do this since we are not casting and with the set up in my Yar-Craft you have three pedestal seats all up on the front deck so no advantage to anyone.

We start out by fishing the deep ledges in March with my Deep Ledge Jig 1/4 oz. and our 8 ft. stout Norm’s rods. You need the shorter rods to see your jig on the front depth-finders and with the flat edge on the top of the Deep Ledge Jig you can easily see the jig on the big Lowrance electronics. These trips are a learning experience even for the hard core crappie fishermen. First you must be good on electronics which includes lake mapping. You have to be able to locate offshore creek channel bends and irregular structure. Since the lake is at winter pool you can run aground a mile from shore very easily. Go from 60 ft. in the Tennessee river to 6 inches up on one of the hundreds of flats on the lake. You have to put the puzzle together every day by reading lake current and water color and current being very important to read, something we don’t have to worry about up on Shelbyville.. Catch a fish deep and be able to repeat what you just did. Look around and you are a mile from shore in four directions. Wave at Barge Captains on there way north to hook up with the Mississippi. The big white crappie that still live 20-30 feet deep are our main focus and catching one that deep at least you have plenty of time to get the net ready.

Once the water temps hit 58 the fish will get the spawning urge and our pattern changes from deep ledge white crappie to medium depth black crappie in stake beds. For the most part we don’t fish in inches of water during the spawn like you do on a lot of other lakes. So electronics is a must side imaging and down-scan on both the front and rear really help. I can go by those stake beds and see and count how many fish are in each of them. Since they don’t have horizontal branches for them to hide in and thick brush you can really see the fish hiding in stakes especially at mid depth like 10-14 feet.

We get out the long 12 ft. BnM BGJPs. I need a limber rod so I can fish a much lighter jig and we use our 1/32 oz. Deep Ledge Jig in most situations or a plain minnow under an 1/8oz. sinker. We are still tight lining simply because the lake always has waves and this moves the corks too much. Some days we do get out the cork poles but most days we are just bouncing from stake bed to stake bed only staying about five to ten minutes at the most on each one. Now landing these fish on these wimpy poles is a circus act at best. I keep a net with a long twelve foot handle right between my legs and all I have to do is get under your fish and bring it in but believe me it is not always easy. I hear lots of I can’t get used to such a long rod but you must use them to correctly fish these stake beds since the fish spook very easy. Plus the long rods help you to re-create your depth and just how you caught the last fish.

The best thing about going down there is the size of those Kentucky Lake crappie. I see two pound fish every day and plenty of fish very close to that size. I have caught two flat-heads over 60 pounds on these guide trips with crappie rods so you never know. The people are great the food and entertainment at night is very good. We see bands straight out of Nashville. Plus the FishTale Lodge that I stay at has all the top bass fishermen from all over the country stopping in from time to time.

So if you want to get away from the winter blues and see your first taste of seventy degree temps then give me a call at 217-762-7257 or shoot me an e-mail from my website at www.LakeShelbyvilleGuide.Com.

For a more up to date daily fishing report refer to my Illinois Fish Talk Forum and feel free to join up.


Guided Fishing Trip Openings
with Steve Welch

Kentucky Lake 2016 (Weather Permitting)

March 27
April 5,6,7,11,17,19
October 18-24

Lake Shelbyville 2016 (Weather Permitting)

June 24,25,27,29,30
July 1-7,9-14,18-26
August 2-15,17-31
September 1-15,17,19-30
October 2-16
November 2-30
December 1-15

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