An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
The following columns provide information on some of the better sites to fish for each species. For a more complete list of water bodies where each species can be found
click here and then select the species that you are interested in under “Search for water bodies for species”.
By Lee McClellan
Water temperatures are in the mid-50s and falling in Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow and Laurel River Lake. Once water temperatures drop below 50 degrees for extended periods, threadfin shad begin to suffer from the cold water.
By Lee McClellan
Sauger are starting to hover just above bottom downstream of dams, waiting for a stunned shad to tumble into their orbit. Anglers started catching sauger below dams on the Ohio River recently, with some catching fish in excess of 15 inches long.
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Kentuckians are going to have some time off over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Spending some time outdoors is a good way to refresh the spirit and get some exercise during a time when many of us gain a few pounds.
The recent Indian summer weather and record highs earlier this week are but a fleeting thing. It will soon be cold as Thanksgiving is just around the corner, followed by winter. Water temperatures at Kentucky’s world-class smallmouth reservoirs: Lake Cumberland, Laurel River Lake and Dale Hollow Lake are in the low 60s, and the reservoir smallmouth fishing season is upon us.
Many anglers think the first cool winds of early fall spur largemouth bass to move from their deep summer haunts and shove their noses practically on the bank. They fish too shallow too early and wind up frustrated. Those bright, glistening days of early fall that send people to the lake by the droves are actually some of the toughest days of the year to catch largemouth bass.
By Kevin Kelly
Anglers treasure the fall months in Kentucky. The shortening periods of daylight and the cooler, drier air bring welcome relief from summer and bring on the fall colors. It’s during this time of transition that some of the best fishing of the year can be had.
By Lee McClellan
The dramatically cooler nights of the last few weeks are a blessing for anglers. These longer, colder nights pull the residual heat from the water, signaling to game fish that it is time to fatten up on the fall harvest of baitfish born earlier in the year.
They were not even recognized as a distinctive fish species until 1927. People for many years believed these fish only existed in Kentucky. In 1956, the Kentucky legislature designated this species the “Kentucky bass” and made them the official state fish. Many anglers, especially in the south-central portion of the United States, still call the spotted bass a Kentucky bass.
Anglers become conditioned to expect high water on lakes in spring and stable conditions in summer before the fall drawdowns to winter pool.
This past spring and early summer was just like the one before it. It rained and rained until mid-summer, then it didn’t rain much at all. Streams ran low and hot during most of August.
Consistency is a trait all anglers love in a body of water. Most Kentucky lakes and rivers go through seasonal temperature swings that make fishing tough during the hottest and coldest months of the year.
Some lures on the market have stood the test of time, catching fish decade after decade. The Dardevle spoon, the Jitterbug and the Hula Popper along with in-line spinners, the Panther Martin and the Rooster Tail, still catch fish today like they did when swing music topped the charts.
Winter is a season of nesting for many Kentuckians. Hot cocoa and a book by the fireplace is more appealing than getting outside in the wet and cold. However, for those who enjoy solitude and having lakes completely to themselves, winter is the best time to get outside and fish. Contrary to the stubborn beliefs of many anglers, fish bite all winter long.
Bass angler’s hearts sank all over the upper South when the venerable Uncle Josh Company announced in early 2016 that they would no longer produce pork rind jig trailers. Hogs go to slaughter younger than they used to and the company struggled to find pork rind old and tough enough to withstand the rigors of fishing.
Kentucky offers some of the finest deer hunting found anywhere, and the modern gun deer season stands as one of the most anticipated opportunities each year.
A car, truck or sport utility vehicle with a couple of kayaks on the roof with fishing poles visible through the back window is an increasingly common sight on Kentucky highways.
Reservoir smallmouth anglers are a weird lot. They dangle tiny little hair jigs under bobbers in air so cold ice forms in the guides of their rods. They think the best late fall fishing days feature leaden, low skies, light rain and highs in the 40s.
The orange tint in the tops of mature trees portend what is coming our way. Cool nights with crisp, gorgeous days signal some of the best days of the year in Kentucky, and also the beginning of the fall reservoir fishing season for largemouth bass.
The angler’s whoop traveled fast and loud over the water from the back of Buck Creek on Cave Run Lake. Bringing a trophy muskellunge to the boat after a spirited fight uncorks raw emotions and provides a unique sense of satisfaction. In this instance, the 45-inch torpedo of a fish was a new personal best and the fourth muskellunge the angler had caught on this cool, calm, overcast Friday in mid-September.
They were not even recognized as a distinctive fish species until 1927. People for many years believed these fish only existed in Kentucky.
Note to Muskie Anglers: When using Live Bait, please Use a Quick-strike Rig to reduce catch-and-release muskie mortality.
The basic rig construction consists of a 24-inch length of uncoated bronze stranded wire, 20 to 50 lb. test, a heavy duty rear treble hook, and a smaller front treble or optional single front hook. The front hook should contain shrinkable tubing around the shank so it will slide on the wire making it adjustable. A strong black swivel should be attached on the opposite end of the whole rig. An optional small spinner blade should be added in front of the front hook making it legal for use in states where a multiple hook rig is illegal. The whole thing can be assembled by using either crimp-on sleeves or twisting the wire to make a good connection. You can easily make your own rigs or they can be purchased from most Musky tackle outlets.
Information courtesy Musky America at Musky.com. For more information see: