You needn’t put away your fishing gear when summer heat arrives; just change your tactics and hit the lakes after sundown, when the temperatures drop and the fish are more active. Kentucky’s Dale Hollow Lake covers approximately 6,000 acres and offers some of the best bronzeback night-fishing around. Southeastern Fishery District biologist Doug Stephens says, “Smallmouth bass prefer water in the 65- to 70-degree range and those temperatures will vary according to weather conditions. As a rule you’ll find the fish 10 to 15 feet below the water’s surface.” Locating key structural elements is your ticket to getting in on some hot nighttime bronzeback fishing action. Look for drastic depth changes, rocky shelves and points with deepwater access, as well as sandy or rocky bottoms. Any of these areas should hold fish. Local guide Gene Austin recommends the following lure combinations when night-fishing for smallmouths in June: a 1/8-ounce black hair jig with a black Frog Chunk, a Nip-i-diddie crankbait, a 1/4-ounce black spinnerbait with a four-inch grub (with or without a trailer) or a Carolina rig with a four-inch plastic lizard. Contact: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (800-858-1549).
Dale Hollow Lake