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Elkhorn Creek

The two forks of central Kentucky’s Elkhorn Creek join just east of Frankfort to form one of the state’s best-known streams for floating and fishing for smallmouth bass, channel catfish and rock bass. Visitors love the Elkhorn for its beauty and its fishing. Paddlers find it perfect for canoeing and kayaking. From the Forks of Elkhorn to its end at the Kentucky River, Elkhorn Creek provides 17 miles of adventure.

 

 

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Elkhorn Creek Access Site to Site Mileages

Put In Access Site

Take Out Access Site

Total River Miles

Elkhorn Campground Access Elkhorn Creek VPA #3 5.0
Elkhorn Creek VPA #3 American Whitewater Access 2.6
American Whitewater Access T.N. Sullivan WMA 1.3
T.N. Sullivan WMA Peter W. Pfeiffer Hatchery 5.8
Peter W. Pfeiffer Hatchery Still Water Campground 3.5

Recommended River Levels for Boating/Fishing*

Elkhorn Creek near Frankfort
Rating Gauge Height in feet
Low <2.5 ft
Good 2.5-4.0 ft
High >4.0 ft
Elkhorn Creek near Frankfort
Rating Flow in cubic feet per second (cfs)
Low <100 cfs
Good 100-600 cfs
High >600 cfs
*These ratings are only recommendations. Skill and experience will dictate levels appropriate for each angler.

Resources for River Levels:

U.S. Geological Survey
(Provides real time stream flows on rivers and stream around the state)
Current Stream Levels On Elkhorn Creek

 

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Elkhorn Creek Public Access Site Descriptions

 

Elkhorn Campground Access: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

Public canoe and kayak access is available at the intersection of US 460 and North Scruggs Lane. Elkhorn Campground (located off N. Scruggs Ln.) owns this property and charges a fee to park. The launch is located adjacent to the US 460 bridge crossing. This is a popular access point and parking can be limited. Boaters take note that a low head dam is located about 0.9 miles downstream of this site. Portage is allowed on the left bank headed downstream, opposite of Jim Beam Distillery. Anglers/boaters should beware of strong currents and “boils” associated with low head dams.

 


 

Elkhorn Creek VPA #3: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This site is part of the KDFWR’s Voluntary Public Access Program which means that this area is privately owned but is open to the public; misuse of this area could result in area closure. Please follow all posted special regulations and boundary markers. This site provides excellent opportunities for bank/wade fishing and canoe/kayak access. Parking is unpaved along the road and is fairly limited.

 


 

American Whitewater Elkhorn Acres Access: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This property is owned by American Whitewater which allows the public to use this site as a boating access. Bank and wade fishing are not permitted. Be mindful of property boundaries when using this area. This property is located downstream of Knight’s Bridge (KY 1900) and is access by a gravel driveway just south of the bridge crossing. Boaters will find ample unpaved parking and changing stations at this area.

 


 

T.N. Sullivan WMA: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

T.N. Sullivan Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is owned by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Angler parking is available off KY 1262 at the property entrance. From the parking area, it is about 0.2 of a mile down to the creek along an old road bed. This site is a great area for wading and bank fishing. Anglers wishing to carry boats up the hill should be in top physical shape.

 


 

Elkhorn Creek VPA #2: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This site is part of the KDFWR’s Voluntary Public Access Program which means that this area is privately owned but is open to the public; misuse of this area could result in area closure. Please follow all posted special regulations and boundary markers. This site strictly provides access for bank and wade fishing only. Boats are not permitted to be carried in or taken out at this location. Anglers will find a gravel parking area with signs that lead them to the creek.

 


 

Elkhorn Creek VPA #1: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

This site is part of the KDFWR’s Voluntary Public Access Program which means that this area is privately owned but is open to the public; misuse of this area could result in area closure. Please follow all posted special regulations and boundary markers. This site strictly provides access for bank and wade fishing only. Boats are not permitted to be carried in or taken out at this location. Anglers will find a gravel parking area with signs that lead them to the creek.

 


  

Peter W. Pfeiffer Hatchery: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Pfeiffer Fish Hatchery, located on Indian Gap Road (KY 2919), off U.S. 127 provides an excellent area to use for put-in or take-out float trips and is an excellent area to wade fish. Angler need to take note that the hatchery is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays only, so plan accordingly if you want to use the hatchery. Picnic tables and park benches are present at this site.

 


 

Still Waters Campground Ramp: (Additional Information/Directions)

 

Still Waters is located off US 127 at the confluence of Elkhorn Creek and the Kentucky River. There is a fee associated with use of the boat ramp. Camping and canoe rentals are also available at this location.

 

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Fishing Tips

 

Smallmouth Bass
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.
Kentucky Spotted/
Largemouth Bass
Best densities are located in the lower sections of Elkhorn Creek as it nears the Kentucky River. Anglers have good luck fishing crawfish imitating soft plastic baits Texas-rigged, medium running crank baits, spinners and a variety of top water baits in areas with current breaks and woody debris. 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 (chartreuse) 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.

Fisheries Overview

 

The following length frequencies are representative of the top 4 species sampled in Elkhorn Creek.

Smallmouth Bass length frequency graph 

 

Largemouth Bass length frequency graph 

 

Kentucky Spotted Length frequency graph 

 

Rock Bass Length frequency graph 

  

 

 

 

 

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