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First-rate fishing

Cast a line in Kentucky this spring

Some of the best fishing of the year arrives with the warming winds of March. It’s the time of year when we finally turn the corner on winter. Like us, fish become more active as the temperature rises.

March offers multiple opportunities for anglers just itching to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. Maybe that’s why the new fishing license year begins at the first of the month.

March is a good time to explore the shorelines around farm ponds or small lakes for largemouth bass. Ponds and shallow lakes warm up much faster than the big, deep reservoirs found throughout the state. It’s this warmer water that jolts fish into activity.

This is the month when you could catch the biggest largemouth bass of your life. That is because the largest female bass come to the shallows early in the year to prepare for spawning. They’re hungry before they drop their eggs—and could just attack that innocent floating lure twitching on the surface just inches away.

Crappie anglers fishing Kentucky and Barkley lakes are discovering they no longer have to wait until the April spawning of white crappie to dunk a few minnows and catch some fish. The rise in both lakes of black crappie, which migrate to the shoreline sooner than white crappie, means fishing opportunities abound a month earlier. Casting small jigs or curly-tailed jigs along gravel banks is an effective way to hit your daily limit of 20 crappie.

March is also a good month to catch what I consider the tastiest fish to swim in Kentucky’s waters: the walleye. Look for concentrations in the tailwaters of the state’s major rivers, including the Ohio, the lower portion of the Kentucky, plus the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Bouncing small minnows along the bottom while you’re drifting in a boat can be an effective technique. Don’t be surprised if you run across some real bruisers below Lake Cumberland.

If you want to fish smaller water for saugeye, a fast-growing hybrid of sauger and walleye, make the drive to Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County. Biologists are reporting fat saugeye up to 25 inches in the lake.

Learn more about fishing opportunities in Kentucky with the 2018 Fishing Forecast, a publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Spring is just about here. Time to get fishing.


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