Family Fishing

Learn to Fish


If you have further questions about upcoming programs, please email or call our info center at 1-800-858-1549.​​​​​​

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Welcome to the world of fishing! You are about to join the ranks of thousands of like-minded anglers - some of the best conservationists on earth. Each of them started right where you are today... as a beginner.

Fishing in the creek 


​Check out the Loaner Fishing Pole Locations map to find Loaner Fishing Poles near you!

The Basics

We have outlined the step-by-step basics below and linked you to some great content to get you on the water, wetting a line! Additional resources are listed at the bottom of the page, including information about upcoming classes.

Current rules and regulations can be found on our current Fishing and Boating Guide.

​1) Fishing License

Before you venture out, make sure that you have your current fishing license on hand. You can get buy it at most sporting good stores, or via our online license sales.

Do I need a fishing license?

If you are over the age of 16 and not fishing on your own property, then yes.

2) Where to Go?

We are so lucky to have access to some amazing bodies of water in Kentucky. To find a place to fish close to you, use the links below:

Fishing in Neighborhoods

Fishing in the creek
Learning to Fish and Kayak is an exciting way to enjoy the great outdoors!

3) Gear

Use this equipment list to help plan and prepare for successful fishing in Kentucky.

Must Do's

  • Obtain Fishing License (or a KY Sportsmen's License) and KY Trout Permit (if you plan to keep trout)
  • Practice Casting
  • Find a FINs Lake or other waterbody to fish
  • Obtain Landowner's Permission

Rods & Reels

  • Spin cast rod with reel - best for beginners
  • Spinning rod and reel - best for light lures
  • Baitcasting rod and reel - best for heavy lures

Safety & Other Gear

  • Lifejacket
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Wade boots for stream fishing
  • Rain Suit
  • Knife/Pliers/Multi-tool
  • Tackle box or bag/Fishing Vest
  • Sunscreen
  • Filet Knife
  • Insect Repellent
  • Water Bottle
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell Phone/Camera
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Compass/Maps/GPS

Related Links

Our Publications and Posters

Lures and Tackles by Species

White Bass


  • 5/0 Circle Hooks
  • Chicken livers, nightcrawlers or commercial stink bait
  • ½-ounce egg sinkers

Need Help to ID Fish? Check out Our Fishing page.

White Bass

Bluegill, Crappie, and Trout

  • Size #6 or Size #8 Aberdeen hooks, Size #4 bait holder hooks
  • Bobbers
  • Small sinkers
  • Red worms, wax worm or meal worms
  • 1-inch yellow curly-tailed grubs
  • Live minnows
  • 2 ½-inch curly tailed grubs in white, chartreuse and lime-green
  • 1/16-ounce leadheads
  • In-line spinners/Rooster Tails
  • Small suspending jerkbaits
  • Small crankbaits
White Bass

Large and Smallmouth Bass

  • Soft plastic ribbon-tailed worms, stick baits or lizards
  • Shad-colored (grey, pearl and blue) medium-running crankbaits
  • White buzzbait topwater lure
  • ½-ounce black and blue jig with matching crawfish trailer
White Bass

White Bass

  • White or chartreuse curly-tailed grubs, 1/8-ounce leadheads
  • White, silver, grey, chartreuse or pink in-line spinners
  • Small chugger style pearl-colored topwater lure
  • Small silver casting spoon

4) Skills

Practice makes perfect so get out and give it a try! Below are some videos that may help improve your fishing skills:

Knot Tying:

How to Tie Improved Clinch Knot


How to Remove Line Twist



How to Cast a Spinning Rod


Flipping and Pitching



How To Reel In A Fish


How to Land a Fish



How to Set the Hook


5) Catching Your First Fish

Make it "O-FISH-al" and tag us in your harvest pics with #FishKY!

Fish Certificate

6) Cleaning

You caught the fish, taken pictures... only one more thing to do before you can eat it.

How to Fillet a Fish - Freshwater


Hook and Cook

Hook and Cook is an educational class geared towards adults ages 16+ on the basics of fishing, meat preparation, and cooking. Most of these workshops are at FINS lakes where the department stocks fish several times a year. In this class you will learn everything from tying a proper fishing knot to preparing fish for cooking and storage, along with other useful skills for an enjoyable day on the water. We teach you the basic skills necessary to harvest your own fish and where to find a fishing hole near you!

For updates and future classes, please check out the Hook and Cook page​!



Are you a new angler looking to filet and cook your fish for the first time? We are host a webinar series for you! In this three-part series, you will learn where to fish, how to catch panfish, and how to cook it!

Ep. 1 - Where to Fish
(Watch )
Ep. 2 - Pan Fishing
(Watch )
Ep. 3 - Cooking 101
(Watch )

Kayak Fishing!

Kayak fishing 101 is an informative class for adults 16+ that covers basic fishing, basic kayak skills/ safety and how to put the two sets of skills together. This usually consist of a two or three part class that includes a kayak fishing trip. We do provide the equipment necessary for these classes so don't let that stop you from joining in on the fun!



Join the department as we host a series on getting started in Kayak fishing. In this three-part series, you'll learn all the basics including: boat selection, planning a safe float trip, and how to fish from a kayak effectively.

Ep. 1 - Choosing the Right Kayak and Boater Safety
(Watch )
Ep. 2 - How to Plan a Kayak Float Trip
(Watch )
Ep. 3 - Fishing from a Kayak
(Watch )​


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