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Launched on Lake Barkley out of Devil’s Elbow Recreational Area Ramp about 9:30 am on April 10, 2016. 2nd day after cold front, air temps started in mid 40’s and got to low 60’s, windy conditions (10-12 early, getting to 18 mph sustained with gusting winds out of the south late in the day), overcast skies with light occasional rain showers.Water temp 55-56°F in the morning, getting up to low 60’s in the afternoon.Water conditions; from semi-stained to semi-muddy depending on creek or river area being fished, 18” below summer pool.Fished with Jacob; a buddy from work.

Started right across the bay (the south shore) from the ramp with a plan to fish primary and secondary creek points, channel bends and deeper shorelines near the mouth of the bays; looking for bass moving into the creeks and or staging to spawn. I started out with a lipless crank bait (Red Eye Shad Green Tomato), a junebug 8” lizard on a texas rig, a white/chartreuse spinner bait, and a green pumpkin jig w/a rage craw trailer tied on and on the deck ready to fish. I was throwing the lipless and my partner was throwing a shallow running shad imitation and a shaky head.It didn’t take long for my non-boater to pick up our first keeper on a shaky head w/green pumpkin worm; nice chunk about 15.5” & estimated 2.25 Lbs.It came off a chunk rock point with the boat in 15’ of water and the fish in 5-6’.Fished out to the mouth of the creek without any other fish and headed south.

Pulled into Donaldson Creek and started on the main river point on the north shore line; wind was out of the south and blowing into the bays on this side. Fished the point and back into the first bay.Switched over to a spinner bait when the water got shallower than 8 ft.Threw at mustard flowers, docks and wood cover where we saw it.Picked up a 3lb 2oz. keeper on the spinner bait off a submerged log in 2’ of water just outside of some mustard flowers.Picked up another keeper; 2lb 13oz. just 30 feet further along from a lay down next to a dock in 2-3’ of water on the same spinnerbait. Picked up a short fish on the spinner bait on the way out of the bay in about 6’ of water; might have been on submerged cover I couldn’t see but it halfway back to the boat in open water.Continued working back into Donaldson throwing crankbaits & shaky head around the second deep point and as we started into the shallow portion of the second bay hooked another fish on the spinner bait; it fell off when I tried to yank it into the boat; should’ve lipped it instead.Looked like it would keep, but would have had to bump it to be sure.There was another boat already fishing the shallow area of this bay, so we moved across and worked back out to, and around, the next deep point.Instead of fishing the long deep shoreline to the next bay we idled over it and fished into the bay.The third bay didn’t produce for us so we cranked up the boat and headed to the some of the western bays further south.

Stopped at the mouth of Fords Creek and worked back into the bay from the south main point. Had some taps on plastic in the first bay, which was loaded with wood, but no fish hooked. Once we got back on the southern deep shoreline we started getting back into some action.Lost a good fish (4-5lbs?) that hit the junebug lizard and wrapped my line up in a wood pile. Caught a 3 lb. 15 oz. fish on the jig with the boat in 17’ of water, estimate the fish hit in about 8’ about halfway back to the boat. Worked back into the next bay, but nothing looking that great all the way back, so we cut across and worked two small cuts on the way out catching a short fish on the spinnerbait in 3-4’ feet of water with the boat in 8’.Fished on around the next deep point and decided to hit the next bay.About this time (1-2 pm) the weather had taken a turn from heavy overcast and occasional spritzes of rain to some sun light trying to break through and higher winds.Air temps warmed up and water surface temperatures were now around 60.

Pryor Bay was the next stop and with the winds really strong out of the south we decided to take to the south shoreline of the right (west) branch of the bay. Worked the shoreline with cranks, plastics and spinnerbaits catching one dink on the lipless crankbait.Did get a couple bites on the shaky head but broke off on the hookset and a swing-and-a-miss.

Had about a 7 mile run back to where we started from and the water got so rough the last mile and a half, I had to slow down and ride the waves like a surfer. Pulled back into the bay and fished the southern shore about halfway back into the bay without a sniff.Got the boat on the trailer about 6:30 pm.Total fish: 4 keepers around 12 pounds, 8 boated, 5 additional bites w/no fish.

General comments:
We found fish both shallow and along deeper banks leading into the bays and biting a variety of baits. The fish we caught seemed to be good quality with far less buck bass than I would have expected.Generally the fish we boated were pretty chunky, but I didn’t notice worn tails. We did see some beds, but the water wasn’t clear enough to sight fish or really see if there were sows on them; just happened to run across a couple.I’d say the lake is progressing toward the spawn and it’s the right time to be on the water, especially with the weather predicted to be sunny and warmer for the next 10 days!

J.R. (no longer) in Plainfield


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