Upper Barren River begins in southcentral Monroe County just west of Gamaliel and flows west-northwest passing by the small communities of Fountain Run and Holland before entering into Barren River Lake. Upper Barren River is fairly remote and flows through an area that is predominantly surrounded by agricultural land. Unfortunately, this section of the Barren River only contains a limited number of public access points. However, this portion of the river is comprised of abundant riffle/run habitat, narrow, braided channels and shallow pools that help support fishable populations of striped bass, channel catfish, white bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill and rock bass.
Recommended River Levels for Boating/Fishing*
24hr average inflow into Barren River Lake|
||Flow in cubic feet per second (cfs)|
*These ratings are only recommendations. Skill and experience will dictate levels appropriate for each angler.
Upper Barren River Public Access Site Descriptions
Deep Ford: (Additional Information/Directions)
Deep Ford crosses upper Barren River nine miles southeast of Fountain Run, KY. To access this site, head east out of Fountain Run on KY-100/Fountain Run Rd for 5 miles, take a right onto state highway 678 for just over a mile and lastly take a left onto Deep Ford road which will take you to the ford crossing. Parking is limited at the ford depending on water levels and bank availability. This site provides good access for small john boats, canoes, and kayaks. Bank fishing is limited to area directly around the ford due to adjacent private property. No amenities exist at this site. Please do not block the ford and respect private property.
Coruth Ford: (Additional Information/Directions)
Coruth Ford Road crosses upper Barren River just three and a half miles south of Fountain Run, KY. To access this ford, head south out of Fountain Run, KY on KY-100W/ Fountain Run road for 1.5 miles, then turn left onto Dunnsford road for 1.3 miles and lastly turn right on Coruth Ford road until you reach the river. Limited parking is available at the ford crossing depending on water levels and along the roadside. This site provides good access for small john boats, canoes, and kayaks. Bank fishing is limited to area directly around the ford due to adjacent private property. No amenities exist at this site. Please do not block the ford and respect private property.
Holland Bridge Ramp: (Additional Information/Directions)
This single lane, concrete ramp is located one and a half miles east of Holland, KY directly below the Holland Road Bridge and six miles west of Fountain Run, KY on KY-100 W/Holland Rd. A large, gravel parking area is available at the ramp site. However, there are no other amenities available at this site. This site is suitable for john boats, canoes, and kayaks. Bank and wading fishing is available at this site, although it is limited to the area surrounding the ramp and directly below Holland Road Bridge.
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- Striped Bass
- Striped bass can be found in large abundances in upper Barren River during the spring spawning season. A majority of these fish will hold in holes that are 10-15 ft deep. Also, concentrate on rocky areas such as bluff walls, rocky banks and cliffs. If a fish is caught there are likely others nearby, so continue working a steady pattern of casts across the same area. Tackle to use includes crank baits, swim baits or jerk baits during the spawn. If a boil is spotted, try using top water lures that are casted into the boil. If fish are deep try using large jigs tipped tube jigs and soft plastics that mimic baitfish.
- Yellow Bass
- During the spring and fall in upper Barren River target areas with substrates made up of rock gravel or sand most commonly shallow rocky shorelines or shallow rock reefs. During summer and winter months target areas with deeper holes of water with a mucky/muddy bottom substrate. Tackle to use is fairly simple such as a small leadhead jig 1/16th to as small as 1/64th oz dressed with a tube or curly tail grub. Other lures to use include: inline spinners, jigging spoons and lures resembling small worms and insects. Fish baits such as night crawlers and small minnows also work extremely well.
- Channel Catfish
- Target deeper pools and tight bends in the river with log jams and slow to moderate current. Fish baits like chicken livers, worms, cut bait, and stink baits suspended or on the bottom. Best luck would be around dusk and dawn or low light conditions when catfish are more active.
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- White Bass
- Try fishing anything that flashes silver in the water or resembles a shad or other baitfish. You can target this species just about anywhere in a stream. However, early in the year target eddies, debris buildups, riprap and other associated areas that deflect current. Other lures to use include an 1/8th ounce leadhead with a 3 inch white or chartreuse colored curly-tailed grub, white, grey, pink or chartreuse in-line spinners, small silver casting spoons and tiny shad-colored crankbaits.
The following length frequencies are representative of the top 4 species sampled in Upper_Barren River.
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