Lower Barren River

Lower Barren River flows 81 miles from the Barren River Lake Tailwater downstream to its confluence with the Green River near Woodbury, KY., winding its way though Allen and Warren counties and the city of Bowling Green. There are two dams that anglers and boater should be aware of: The State Street Bridge Dam located downstream of Weldon Pete Park and Lock and Dam 1, upstream of Greencastle/Barren River VPA Ramp.; This section of the river provides anglers with a wide variety of opportunities due to the abundance of boating access sites and the diversity of sport fish that inhabit these waters.

 

 

 
  

 


Barren River Access Site to Site Mileages

Put In Access Site

Take Out Access Site

Total River Miles

Barren River Lake Tailwater Hwy 101 VPA Access 13.3
Hwy 101 VPA Access Martinsville Ford/Claypool Ramp 3.9
Martinsville Ford/Claypool Ramp Potter/Combs Ramp 24.0
State Street Bridge Access Beech Bend Park 3.1
Beech Bend Park James R. Hines Boat Landing Ramp 4.6
James R. Hines Boat Landing Ramp Lonnie White Ramp 6.7
Greencastle VPA Ramp Riverside Ramp 14.8

 


 

 



Recommended River Levels for Boating/Fishing*

Barren River Gauge near Finney, KY
Rating Gauge Height in Feet (ft)
Low <78.0 ft
Good 78.0-78.5 ft
High >78.5 ft
Barren River Gauge at Bowling Green, KY
Rating Flow in cubic feet per second (cfs)
Low <350 cfs
Good 350-700 cfs
High >700 cfs

*These ratings are only recommendations. Skill and experience will dictate levels appropriate for each angler.

 

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Resources for River Levels:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Lake/River Reports
(Provides daily dam discharges and forecasted release schedules)


Daily Lake Report
3 Day Lake Release Forecast

 

 

U.S. Geological Survey
(Provides real time stream flows on rivers and stream around the state)
Current Stream Levels near Finney, KY

Current Stream Levels at Bowling Green, KY

 

 


Barren River Public Access Site Descriptions

 

Barren River Lake Tailwater: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

A paved parking lot (with security lights) and a single lane concrete ramp suitable for small john boats, canoes and kayaks is located at the campground for public use. There is also paved parking with security lights at the immediate tailwater discharge for bank anglers. Bank fishing access is available from directly below the dam downstream to ramp. This area has the following amenities: campground, picnic shelters, charcoal grills, playground, basketball and volleyball courts and restroom facilities. This is also the starting point of the Barren River Blue Water Trail.

 


 

Hwy 101- Barren River VPA #3: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This site is located directly below KY 101 bridge in Allen County. There is a gravel drive at the end of the guardrail on the southwest corner of the bridge that will lead to the river access. This site is suitable for bank fishing or launching small john boats, canoes and kayaks. Parking is available for up to 10 vehicles. There are no amenities at this location. Patrons should follow all posted signs. This area is privately owned but open to the public, misuse of this area could result in area closure.

 


 

Martinsville Ford/Claypool Ramp: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This gravel ford crossing provides anglers an opportunity to fish from the bank or launch canoes, kayaks and small john boats. There is plenty of parking along the ford crossing, please follow all posted signs as the ford is surrounded by private property. There are no other amenities at this location. Boaters should expect a variety of shallow shoals and deep rocky pools. The confluence of Bay Fork is located 0.2 mile upstream of this site.

 


 

Weldon Pete Park (Potter-Combs Ramp): (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This concrete ramp is located in Weldon Pete Park and is suitable for all boats. This section of the river is pooled up and deeper because a dam that is located 0.6 miles downstream of the ramp. The confluence of Drakes Creek is located 5.25 miles upstream. There is bank fishing access available within the park boundaries. Furthermore, this park provides visitors with a large gravel parking lot, paved walking trails, picnic tables and a children’s playground.

 


 

State Street Bridge Access: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

A gravel ramp and bank fishing access is located below the pedestrian bridge on the opposite side of the river of Riverview Park. This site is suitable for small john boats, canoes and kayaks. Boater should use caution if boating upstream toward the dam. Please follow all posted signs and do not block the driveway to the river.

 


 

Beech Bend Park: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

There are two concrete ramps and plenty of bank fishing areas located off the campground. NOTE: The boat ramps and bank fishing areas are only available to registered campers. This would be a great place for the entire family since it offers not only fishing and boating access to Barren River, but there is an amusement/water park and speedway at this location.

 


 

James R. Hines Boat Landing Park: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

Located just outside the Bowling Green city limits, this park has a single lane concrete ramp and bank fishing areas which provides anglers and boaters access to the Barren River. This ramp and section of the river is suitable for all size boats. This area has paved parking, security lights and picnic tables.

 


 

Lonnie White Ramp at Thomas Landing: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This section of Barren River is pooled from the influence of Lock and Dam 1 located near Greencastle, KY. There is a single lane concrete ramp that is suitable for all boats. A gravel parking lot provides plenty of parking. There is an area adjacent to the ramp that is suitable for bank anglers. Please respect the boundary marks and take notice that this park closes at dusk.

 


 

Greencastle Ramp/Barren River VPA Access: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

A single lane concrete ramp and bank fishing are available at this site. Bank fishing is permitted upstream of the ramp, however bank fishing is difficult when the water is high. This ramp is suitable for small boats on trailers, john boats, canoes and kayaks. There is plenty of gravel parking at the top of the ramp for boaters and anglers. This site provides boaters access to the tailwater of Lock and Dam 1. Travelling downstream boaters should expect shallow shoals and long pools. Patrons should follow all post signs. This area is privately owned but open to the public, misuse of this area could result in area closure.

 


 

Riverside Ramp: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

A single lane concrete ramp is located at the confluence of the Barren River with the Green River. This ramp is suitable for all size boats. This ramp is located on the west bank of the Barren River directly across the Barren River from the Woodbury Ramp. An unpaved gravel parking areas is located at the top of the ramp. Bank fishing is limited to the concrete ramp due to steep muddy banks. Boaters should use caution, Lock and Dam 4 is located directly downstream and is breached. No other amenities exist at this site.

 


 

Woodbury Ramp: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

A single lane concrete ramp is located at the confluence of the Barren River with the Green River. This ramp is suitable for all size boats. This ramp is located on the east bank of the Barren River directly across the Barren River from the Riverview Ramp. An unpaved gravel parking areas is located at the top of the ramp. Bank fishing is limited to the concrete ramp due to steep muddy banks. Boaters should use caution, Lock and Dam 4 is located directly downstream and is breached. No other amenities exist at this site.

 

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Fishing Tips

 

Smallmouth Bass
Best fishing is in the areas of the river that are not impounded. Anglers report good success targeting areas directly above and below gravel shoals and targeting rocky banks with current. Try fishing ¼ oz spinner baits and crawfish imitating crank baits. Texas-rigged 3 inch craws and 3 ½ inch tube jigs work well for a slower presentation. When the bite gets tough don’t overlook a 3 inch white or motor-oil colored curly-tailed grub. Trophy smallmouth bass (>20 inches) are present.
Kentucky Spotted/
Largemouth Bass
Focus fishing effort around the mouth of creeks, rocky banks and bank slides with woody debris. Anglers have good luck fishing crawfish imitating soft plastic baits Texas-rigged, medium running crank baits, spinners and a variety of top water baits. Match bait colors to the water conditions: natural patterns work best in clearer water (white, watermelon seed), while in muddier conditions use dark (black) or very bright (charteuse) colored baits that produce vibration.
Rock Bass
Target chunk rock banks with woody debris and log jams in the slow, shallow pools. Try fishing small inline spinner baits, 2 inch crawfish crank baits or 2 inch black grubs over the rocks. Rock bass can also be taken on live bait fished near or on the bottom. Try fishing minnows, red worms and small crayfish. There is a good potential for catching trophy (>10 inches) fish in the Barren River.
Bluegill
Focus on and around woody debris in areas that are pooled with little current. Try fishing a variety of live baits (worms, wax worms, crickets, etc.) under a bobber/cork or small tube jigs and curly-tailed grubs.

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Fisheries Overview

 

The following length frequencies are representative of the top 5 species sampled in the Lower Barren River.

smallmouth bass length frequency graph 

Kentucky Spotted Bass length frequency graph 

Largemouth Bass Length frequency graph 

Rock Bass Length frequency graph 

Bluegill Length frequency graph 

  

 

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