Kentucky Division 15 Season Opener Approaches

The Kentucky Division 15 of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, opens its season on March 16, 2013, at Kentucky Lake.

The competitors will launch at the Kentucky Dam State Park Ramp, located at 466 Marina Drive in Gilbertsville. Anglers may begin fishing at safe light. Registration begins at 4 p.m. March 15 at Kentucky Dam State Park Ramp. Anglers fishing the Boater Division may weigh in up to five bass in any combination of largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, each at least 15 inches long. Co-anglers may weigh in up to three bass.

From southeast of Paducah, Ky., to near New Johnsonville, Tenn., Kentucky Lake runs for 184 miles along the Tennessee River. Created in 1944, the largest artificial lake by surface area east of the Mississippi River spreads across 160,309 acres. It offers anglers more than 2,064 shoreline miles, more than twice as long as the California coastline.

Kentucky Lake connects to the 57,900-acre Lake Barkley through a 1.7-mile long navigation canal. Lake Barkley dates to 1964 and runs for about 134 miles along the Cumberland River between Princeton, Ky., and Dover, Tenn. Lake Barkley generally parallels Kentucky Lake and offers anglers another 1,004 shoreline miles. If flattened into a straight line, the combined shoreline from the two lakes and associated waters would stretch almost from Boston to San Francisco. The combined lakes rank 16th on the list of the Top 100 bass lakes in the United States, according to Bassmaster magazine.

Both lakes can produce good catches of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass including many largemouths in the 4- to 7-pound range. In recent years, each produced a lot of fish in the 9- to 11-pound range. With water temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s, many anglers fish the grass flats at the southern end of Kentucky Lake with jerkbaits in clown or chartreuse and orange color combinations or shad-colored crankbaits. Also fish dark jigs around flooded brush in 10 to 15 feet of water. If the water temperature drops, look for fish in 20- to 30-foot deep channels and tempt them with slow Alabama rigs.

During the March 10, 2012, BWS tournament on Kentucky Lake, Billy Schroeder of Paducah, Ky., won the Boater Division with a five-bass tournament limit weighing 22.89 pounds for a 4.58-pound average. He upped his average with a 6.64-pounder that took tournament lunker honors. Schroeder caught his fish on an Alabama rig with swimbaits attached to it. He fished in about 10 feet of water.

In the Co-Angler Division during that tournament, Jerry Wittmer of Louisville, Ky. landed a three-fish division daily limit going 18.67 pounds for an impressive back-of-the-boat average of 6.22 pounds. Wittmer capped his catch with a 6.41-pound bucketmouth that won the division big bass title. He also caught his fish with an Alabama rig worked through about 10 feet of water.

At the end of the season, one BWS angler will win the opportunity to compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. For more information on this tournament, call Evan Boutwell at 256-230-5633 or call ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see

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