First, Iíd like to apologize for not posting this sooner. It may not be of as much use to my fellow anglers as it might have been shortly after our trip. Regrettably my work schedule took me out of town on a week-long trip immediately following the fishing trip, and then again more recently on a shorter trip. Other work and life commitments have put a strain on my time as well, which have all contributed to the timing of this post. Hopefully it will still be of some use and/or enjoyment to those who were kind enough to post helpful information before the trip.
Every couple of years my brother-in-law and I will get together with a couple of other guys and do a fishing weekend. He and I are avid bass fishermen, but will also fish for other species depending on the circumstances. I currently live about 35 minutes west-southwest of Bowling Green KY. From 2003 until the end of 2012 I lived in Camden, TN on the Tennessee River, but before then was born and raised in Brookfield and lived in and around the southwest Ďburbs (my BIL still does). Weíve met at Kinkaid a couple times over the last 5 years. This report is for April 30th through May 3rd of this year, and details our third trip to Kinkaid.
My partner and I launched out of Paul Ice Ramp about 10:30am to bass fish. My brother in-law, whoís from Justice, was already on the water, but said he hadnít hooked up on anything yet.
We all fished the Paul Ice Recreational area waters first, while waiting for the fourth person in our group to show up. Winds out of the North 10-15 mph. Water temps low to mid 60ís. Water was relatively clear, but was a bit turbid with algae.
Started with what had been productive on past trips; white frog on the floating vegetation into the open water. I had also prepared spinner baits, hard topwaters like pop-R and spook junior and some square bill and lipless crankbaits. The slimey moss at Kinkaid that covers everything in less than 15 feet of water made it tough to fish baits that had to be dragged along the bottom. My boat partner went with a buzz bait when we headed shallow. Had one hit on the frog before we got to the back of the bay where my buddie got a small one in the boat on the buzzbait. Started working back out the opposite (and deeper) side of the bay and caught a 2 Ĺ pounder on a bone white full size Pop-R right next to a wood laydown; not real shallow but close to the bank. Had just a couple small blow ups, close to the bank, working the rest of the way out of the bay, but didnít hook up.
Fished the points and part way back in several of the bays, but still not catching many fish; we did get the occasional blowup on topwater, but either they werenít taking the bait aggressively enough to get a good hookset, or they were small fish.
Finally the last of our group showed up; my cousin all the way from Ohio, about 1:00 pm and we decided to head to the upper lake to see if the fishing was any better up that way. Went near the no-wake area leading to the northern part of the lake, but stopped short to try a bay just off the main lake, on the eastern side. It was pretty muddy, like chocolate milk, and couldnít see deep enough to avoid hitting standing timber or the bottom when it got shallow. Worked our way around the back of the bay and picked up two fish; both on the white frog, close to the shore close to weed cover and one next to wood.
Headed across the main lake to another bay on the west side that had a small channel leading to larger concealed bays and is one of the no wake bays. Hooked a good fish up on the pop-r next to wood, but he wrapped me around the branch and broke off; he took my pop-r with him. That had been my hot bait until then and of course the only full size bone-colored pop-R I had; donít you just hate that? Anyway, switched to a spook junior and managed to catch two smaller fish on it in short order. We kept going further back into the shallows and we got some small blow ups on top waters, but then way in the very back of the bay, and shallow, I ran a buzz bait across the end of a laydown and put a 3 lb 15 oz sow in the boat. The fish was fat with just a little case of red fin. Not sure if it was spawning, had spawned, or getting ready to. It was a chunky fish, but not fully bloated; kind of confusing. It was getting late in the day and we decided to call it. Headed back for the ramp. Totals for two boats werenít impressive; 2 keepers, 7 dinks and shorts.
Weather was slightly warmer with calmer winds and the water temperatures started in the low-mid 60ís again.
Since we had better luck toward the end of the day we decided to head north again on Friday. This time we decided to venture north of the long no-wake zone. Once we were in the no-wake zone we stopped in one or two small bays and managed a couple of bites, but didnít manage to hook up on anything. Once again the white frog, buzz bait and spook junior were the main baits in our boat. As we fished we tried other baits that might work in the slime. My partner threw shallow running square bills, Texas rigged lizard, and occasionally a lipless crank bait. I tied on a trick worm, tried a spinner bait and a fluke, but kept throwing the frog and spook.
We got to the north end of the no wake zone and decided to try the old indian mound you can read about on the Hot Spot map. Had to use my electronics to locate it, but it wasnít too hard. I threw a jig at it while my partner tried crank baits, Texas-rigged plastic, and a swim bait. I got a couple of bumps but nothing I could swing on.
We moved on to the shoreline around that area as did the other boat we were with and caught nothing. After a couple of hours, we headed back through the no wake zone and back to where we had better success the previous evening. Still a tough bite for our boat. My BIL and his partner did a little better boating a few, including a crappie on a spinner bait.
We finished Friday up by hopping from bay to bay heading south and concentrating on the bays with flooded timber as we worked our way back toward Paul Ice Rec. Area. My partner started nailing some smaller ones on a buzz bait when we got shallower than 3 feet, so I picked a buzz bait up too and managed to get one in the boat. My brother in law managed a keeper on a white spinner bait that weighed right at 3 Lbs. He caught it working the outer edge of the weeds in about 10 feet of water. That was the fish of the day, and it came just before we called it quits.
Weather was a bit warmer on Saturday, and the winds calmer; turned out to be a beautiful day to fish. Water temps still low to mid-sixties in the morning but warming up to the low seventies late in the day.
Decided to stay on the south side of the lake fishing clearer water on Saturday and fought quite a bit of boat traffic including a Muskie tournament. Donít know how their tournament went, but did see one 34Ē fish being measured by one of the boats on Sunday. We headed shallower in one of the larger coves to the east in the Paul Ice area and fished it pretty hard; nothing. Got out to about 4 or 5 feet of water and started to get some small blow-ups. Didnít hook up with a fish for a couple hours though. Tried running a spinner bait deeper, parallel to the weed line in a little deeper water after marking some fish in that zone of the water column and managed about a 14Ē fish. My partner picked up his spinner bait and in a few casts managed to boat a 3 pounder.
We worked our way toward the back of the bay until we got so shallow the weeds no longer had an edge to them. My partner caught one more on the spinner bait, but when we got back shallow he went back to the buzz bait and I to the frog. Had some blow-ups and caught a small one, but not gang busters. Decided to move out into the main lake and start working some of the other southern bays between the marina and the dam. Got to the back third of one where the weeds were scattering and picked up a couple small ones on the spook by making long casts.
Moved on to Argonne bay and tried working the spinner bait parallel to the weed edge while it was deeper; picked up one going back, but managed two more on the spook when we got back to the shallow portion of the bay; no size to them though. Caught a couple more small ones in a small cut just off the point that divides this bay into two shallow areas, and my partner nailed a small one there as well. Worked into the back and continued to get bites on the top water and picked up the occasional short fish as we went.
Doubled back toward the marina to a bay we skipped earlier and went back to the shallows almost immediately because they looked promising. Felt a little defeated when the area didnít give any fish up. Move along to the other side of the shallow area and found a couple of beds. Cast the frog towards the beds and had a huge eruption; fish on! Finally a fish with some weight to it! Worked this one through the weeds and made it to the boat; just over 4 pounds (turns out to be biggest fish of the trip). He had really eaten the frog; it was halfway down its gullet.
The day was looking a lot better all of a sudden. We fish another little bay that looks promising, but only end up with one blow-up without a hook-up. We get a call from the other guys and they are finding some fish way in the back of one of the bays in the Paul Ice Recreation Area. We headed back that way.
It takes a while to get back to where our buddies are fishing. When we arrive we get the low-down that they started catching fish about the time they got shallower than 5 feet of water. I started throwing the spook; long casts in just about any direction. Donít know what it was about this particular area at this particular time but I started hooking up on fish one right after another for about 45 minutes. It was enough to frustrate my fishing buddies a little bit. I probably caught 7 -10 fish in this same area; all were short fish; 12 Ė 15 inches long; but, boy, were they smacking the old top water hard, with authority! At one point it raised goosebumps on my arms; just to give you an idea of how fun it was to get into them. But all good things come to an end; it shut down as fast as it fired up and we were done. A nice finish to a decent day on the water.
Just my boat on the water the last day of our trip as my BIL and cousin had long drives to get home. My fishing partner and I started in the same place where we ended the evening before hoping to re-create the magic. Alas; just 1 fish and a blow up. We worked our way around the Paul Ice Recreation Area fishing bays we hadnít tried yet that weekend, just to see if we could find any likely spots. We certainly saw some good looking water and caught an isolated fish here and there, but only 5 in the boat and no keepers. We got off the water about noon and headed home.
Some general notes of interest: Be careful on this lake as it has many standing trees just below the surface making them hard to see if there is a ripple on the water. I hit these frequently during the trip and broke one of my transducers as I slid off of one while idling along.
While we have eaten at the marina restaurant in the past, we didnít on this trip. Itís a nice convenience if you want to get off the water for lunch or go for breakfast. We ate at 17th Street BBQ, which was OK and has a good beer selection, but after living in Tennessee and Kentucky for the last 12 years, was not the great BBQ they advertise. Sergioís Mexican restaurant on the other hand has some good portions at good prices; we really enjoyed it. We also went to Tomís Place in De Soto looking for a steakhouse and were surprised to find a 5 Star establishment, which was not what we had in mind. My BIL had spotted this driving by on the way in and thought we should give it a go. Now, the food was good, but my BIL paid $46 for a pork chop, a couple of us had the $36 New York Strip and we spent about $245 after the tip. Pricier than we were looking for, and we would have probably not gone there had we known; so be aware if you are in the area.
We stayed at Kinkaid Lake Sportsman Lodge, which must be owned by a fisherman. This place is about a mile from Paul Ice Recreation Area boat ramp. It is a 2 bedroom, 2 full bath comfortable cottage style prefab arrangement with a full kitchen and all the amenities important to a group of guys fishing for the weekend. Itís got everything you need and is comfortable and well kept. We have stayed there every time we have fished Kinkaid and I would recommend it. With mostly bunk beds it is not really for couples seeking romantic privacy, but you can find it on the internet and check out the details. For three nights, the four of us each pitched in $111.
My BIL sent me his pictures, but Iím not sure of any of the details for his fish other than these were all from our trip:
Tight Lines and Safe Boating;
J.R. (No longer) in Plainfield