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Reeling In The Big Ones

The one fish I remember most in all my years of fishing was a 20-inch smallmouth bass caught from a stream narrow enough to throw a rock across.

I knew it was somewhere in a quarter-mile stretch of the creek—our fisheries biologists had tipped me that they’d seen it while doing surveys—but it took the right bait and fishing hard several times a week for three weeks before I finally caught it.

To catch big fish, it helps to know where to find them. That’s why so many anglers eagerly await the state’s annual fishing forecast. The forecast is available online at, or you can call (800) 858-1549 to ask for a free copy.

To discover what’s swimming under the surface, employees of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources survey for fish by applying electricity to the water from wires dangling from a boat. This just stuns the fish, and does not harm them.

Based on this “electro-fishing” and other surveys, department biologists get a good idea of fish populations in lakes, rivers, and creeks. They next compile this information into the annual forecast.

The forecast, however, offers more than just insight into fish populations. Inside, you’ll discover all kinds of helpful hints to make your fishing more productive. For example, the state’s premier fishing lakes—Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley—have their own section on fishing tips.

Look through the forecast to discover good fishing close to home.

At Carr Creek Lake in Knott County, biologists report large numbers of walleye in the 15- to 26-inch range, with some reaching 30 inches. Pike County’s Fishtrap Lake is a sleeper for hybrid striped bass, with good numbers of fish up to 10 pounds.

At Green River Lake in Taylor and Adair counties, biologists noted good numbers of largemouth bass 18 inches and longer. Laurel River Lake in Laurel and Whitley counties received an excellent rating for smallmouth bass, including the potential for 5-pound fish. Blue catfish make for some wonderful eating, and Taylorsville Lake is a hotspot for medium-sized fish up to 30 inches.

Remember the new license year begins March 1. Good luck and good fishing this year.


Want to attract more birds and wildlife to your yard but don’t know how? Enter the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Backyard Makeover raffle. The winner will receive $10,000 worth of professional landscaping, utilizing native plants. Proceeds will benefit Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Salato Wildlife Education Center. Visit for more information. Donations are tax-deductible.

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