HOT DAYS Ė HOT ACTION
C. W. PASS
Thatís right. Itís been hot and the fishing is sizzling. Not everywhere, but below the dams where power is generated, fishing has been great. The cool waters coming out of the bottom of the dams are highly oxygenated and offer an abundance of chow for Mr. Bass to munch on. Itís one of the few places where you can get away from the recreational boaters found on the lakes and catch a mess of fish in the blistering heat.
Fortunately, the TVA has blessed this country with so many power generating lakes. You can have your pick from the waters below Kentucky or Barkley Lake to Pickwick Lake and thatís just to name a few. And Missouri has some great places, too, like below Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks. Plus the action is not limited to boaters, as many of the areas below the dams offer opportunities for fishing from the bank.
Now, the best thing about fishing below dams is that bass are predictable. Typically, youíll find them positioned near current breaks. This can be in the form of a dike, a log, a rock, or anything that will break the current and create an eddy Ė a place where baitfish are washed into and a place for the bass to escape the current. This is true of largemouth, though smallmouth like a bit more current, but they still hold around breaks, too. Big boulders and barge tie-offs are one of their favorite haunts.
As far as lures, the bass will eat just about anything you throw at them, but youíll need an ample supply of whatever lures you throw, as most of the areas below dams are covered with riprap which is unforgiving. Some of my favorite lures are lightly weighted senkos, three-eighth ounce finesse jigs with single tail grubs, three-sixteenth ounce
Yet even with the best lures, presentation is everything and boat positioning in the current is critical. Most of the time, you want to head into the current and cast upstream and bring your lure downstream, but sometimes this is not possible. You may not have a strong enough trolling motor, your batteries are losing juice from battling the current, or the water is too swift, so a controlled drift with the current is a good alternative. This is where a sixteenth ounce weighted senko comes into play. It floats down far enough in the water column, yet doesnít hang up very often. Itís a great lure when the water is rocking.
Lastly, be careful. The water below dams can be quite calm when they are not generating power, but when the horn sounds, the water can be a torrent. But that sound is like a chuck wagon to the fish and youíll find they are on their feed bag when the water is rolling. Even the locking of a barge can turn the fish on. Itís all about the current, so fish the breaks and enjoy some of the best summer action of the year.
And for those of you who have not fished recently below the dam at Kentucky Lake; thereís a new ramp which can handle any type of boat.
Sponsored by The Fishin Hole at Leisure Time & Southern Illinois Custom Crankbaits.