Kentucky has more than 1,200 square miles of water, so finding a good place to fish can be daunting if you have no idea where to look.
The fishing forecast, published every year by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, is a great resource. The forecast, which is based on fish population studies and interviews with anglers, tells you which lakes and rivers have the best concentrations of a variety of fish.
For example, if you’re looking for good places to catch smallmouth bass, the forecast suggests Laurel River Lake, Elkhorn Creek, Lake Cumberland, or Dale Hollow Lake. If you’re after bluegill and redear sunfish, try Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Dewey Lake, McNeely Lake, Lake Reba, or Marion County Lake.
If you’re after the three major varieties of catfish—channels, blues, and flatheads—it’s time to take a trip to Green River or the Ohio River. For both walleye and sauger, Barren River is hard to beat.
However, there’s a truism among Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employees who spend their days on the department’s fish-stocking boats: just because you can see the fish doesn’t mean you can catch them. To help anglers have a better day on the water, the forecast includes a number of tips ranging from where to find the fish to what months are best or what bait to use.
Two pages of the forecast are devoted solely to fishing tips for Kentucky and Barkley lakes and their tailwaters. These are fish factories that deserve at least one visit a year.
Turn to the forecast for your first few trips. You’ll learn, for example, that you can catch bass in the spring by fishing jigs around the yellow mustard flowers, or throwing top-water baits around weed beds in late spring through early fall.
Kentucky’s fishing forecast is free. Find it online at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Web site, www.fw.ky.gov. Copies are available by calling the department at (800) 858-1549.
Get your copy and ready those rods and reels!
HELP PREVENT the spread of unwanted exotic plants and mussels by thoroughly cleaning your boat and trailer after visiting an infected lake.
Affected areas and their exotic invaders include Carr Creek Lake (hydrilla), Clear Creek Lake (Eurasian watermilfoil), Dewey Lake (zebra mussels, hydrilla), Fishtrap Lake (zebra mussels), Paintsville Lake (hydrilla), and Pan Bowl Lake (Eurasian watermilfoil). See the Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide for more information.