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Finding a Place to Fish

Finding a Place to Fish 

By Lee McClellan

One of the age-old quandaries concerning fishing is finding somewhere to go and catch fish. Over the past several years, the staff of the Fisheries Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources upgraded a Kentucky angler’s ability to find productive waters by using by the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov.

With summer weather around the corner, the “Find a Place to Fish” is packed full of useful information anglers can use to plan upcoming fishing trips that will help them catch some fish.

“We are trying to provide information on our website to make it easier for anglers to find places to fish and be successful,” said Mike Hardin, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “The “Find a Place to Fish” page allows anglers to sort by county, city, waterbody, access type or even species of fish.”

Many of the waterbodies detailed in the “Find a Place to Fish” page contain important fishing information, such as the 5-foot contour maps. “When you pull these waterbodies up, many of them have the location of fish attractors, species assessments as well as the contour maps. We have the contour maps for most of our smaller state-owned lakes as well as the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lakes.”

Hardin said the large reservoirs operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have commercially available maps at tackle shops near the lakes or for sale online. Many of the large outfitters also sell these maps.

“Each entry contains driving directions to all of the ramps on that waterbody,” Hardin said. “They also contain a link to the Fishing Forecast, detailing the fishing for many species in waterbodies across the state.”

Anglers who want just to study the lake maps of the habitat structures can study the “Lakes with Fish Attractors” page, located on the “Find a Place to Fish” page. This page contains the fish habitat maps of not only the smaller, state-owned lakes, but also the location of fish attractors on larger reservoirs such as Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Barren River Lake, Cave Run Lake, Green River Lake, Nolin River Lake, Rough River Lake and Taylorsville Lake.

Planning a float trip on a stream can be daunting. The “Canoeing and Kayaking” page contains loads of information to help select a place to paddle. You can click on the “Stream Fisheries” tab for detailed information on access sites, lengths of floats and recommended floating levels for streams across Kentucky.
 
This page contains photos of each access point and a description of the access. This is invaluable information to paddlers floating a stream for the first time. This page also shows the abundance and size structure of the population of the desirable fish in the stream such as rock bass or smallmouth bass.

The “Canoeing and Kayaking” page also contains a link to the award winning Blue Water Trails​ series of articles detailing more than 30 different floats across Kentucky. These articles also contain fishing tips for the species in the waterbody as well as a printable map. 

“If you are trying to figure out a place for the coming weekend, our website has many resources to help guide you,” Hardin said. “We want people to enjoy our water resources and catch some fish.”

Tee shirt and shorts weather is coming and the boating and fishing season for many Kentuckians kicks off in earnest. Study these pages on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website and get a leg up on productive fishing trips this summer.