Benjy Kinman hasn’t taken me fishing once in the five years that I’ve worked for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Benjy, who heads our state fisheries division and is one of the best all-around anglers I’ve met, knows I can’t keep a secret. Sorry, Benjy, but I’ve learned about the best fishing opportunities in Kentucky this year and just can’t help myself.
Every year, our biologists quiz anglers, then sample lakes and rivers to get an idea of the size and number of fish there. The department compiles this information into our annual fishing forecast, available on the department’s Internet site, http://fw.ky.gov, or by calling (800) 858-1549. The forecast is invaluable for planning your fishing trips.
Now let’s get to those secrets.
Rough River Lake could arguably have the most exciting fishing of the year—for hard-fighting, hybrid striped bass. Because of a 15-inch size limit, the lake stockpiled a tremendous number of 14-inch fish last year. Those fish are now past the size limit. New liberalized regulations for this lake mean that anglers can now keep 15 hybrids, five of which can be 15 inches or longer.
No largemouth bass angler should let the year slip by without a trip to Cedar Creek Lake in Lincoln County. “Cedar Creek Lake probably offers the best place in the state to catch an 18- to 20-inch bass,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries.
This lake, built exclusively for fishing a few years back, has a 20-inch, one-fish limit. That’s a 5-pound fish. Because the lake is so new, this is the year that bass will begin crossing that 20-inch threshold.
Taylorsville Lake in Spencer County is the new hotspot for blue catfish, a tastier cousin of the channel catfish. Buynak calls the growth rate of Taylorsville blues “phenomenal.” Last year, anglers were catching 8-10-pound catfish on live and cut shad.
“In two to three years, we’ll probably have 20-pound catfish in there,” Buynak says.
A few other hot tips: the Cumberland River has twice as many 18-20-inch rainbow trout as the previous year; record numbers of walleye are present in Laurel Lake; and look for superb panfish at Beaver, Elmer, Malone, Marion County, and Kentucky lakes.
As for Benjy’s ultra-secret spot, I think I’ll just keep it to myself. Maybe I’ll finally get that fishing trip this year.
It’s time to buy your new hunting and fishing licenses. If you need your license and the stores are closed, buy one online at fw.ky.gov, or call (877) 598-2401.