"Yes, they are biting,"replies Paul Rister, western district fisheries biologist for the KDFWR. "But, the water is not up yet into the bushes. The water level is at elevation 355 and we need it up to about 357 or so for the water to get up into the bushes."
Rister recently helped conduct an exhaustive study on crappie movement in Kentucky Lake. The results of the crappie study are available on the department's website at fw.ky.gov.
The peak of shallow crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake is still a few weeks away, but that doesn’t mean an angler can’t catch them now. Crappie are now moving along channel drops and adjacent flats into the bays.
"They are moving up the channels and out onto the flats next to the channels in 8 to 10 feet of water,"Rister said. "A popular way to catch them is to spider rig and use a wind sock to drift across the channels and flats. People sink brush along those channel drops and they hold the crappie. The wind sock allows them to drift slowly."
Normally, when water temperatures climb into the high 50s and low 60s, crappie move into stake beds, button bushes and yellow mustard flowers in shallow water. "But, unless we get some more water, they won't move up to spawn,"Rister said.
Before the recent cold front with the temperature in the high 50s, anglers were catching crappie six feet deep. "The water temperature got up to 58, then that cold front hit and it fell to 51,"Rister said. "It is climbing back up to 54 and 55 degrees now. This is the main lake temperature- the water could be a couple of degrees warmer back in the embayments."
The crappie should return to shallower areas soon, if the warm weather holds. "Another cold front would knock them back down again,"Rister said. "But, that may be good until we get more water in the lake.”
For more information on fishing in Kentucky, visit fw.ky.gov on the Internet and click on the "fishing"tab.