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Fall 2015

12/13/15: I decided to take advantage of a warm, sunny day, and headed over to Elkhorn VPA #1. I wasn’t sure what the fishing would be like this time of year. When I arrived, smallmouth were attacking bait on the surface. A good sign. I fished a number of lures, and tried floating a red worm, with no luck. Then I put out a shakeytail imitating a shad pecking the bottom. I got a hit, then on the next cast, I hooked a largemouth, maybe 12-13 inches. He was moving slow, fought slowly. When I got him to the bank, he flopped and threw the hook. No big deal, I would have released him anyway. It was 70 degrees and sunny; always welcomed in December.

11/28/15: I went back to Scott County Park to try to catch some trout again. This time, the conditions were calm, and the water was crystal clear. I caught a small largemouth, and no trout. A guy passing by told me about catching a limit a couple of days earlier at Lake Lusby (the other pond on the other side of the park).

11/21/15: Trout have been stocked in many FINs lakes recently. I went to Scott County Park for an hour or so this afternoon to try to catch a few. I did catch a small-ish largemouth bass, and had a couple of other hits, but the driving wind and rain made it too difficult to feel the line. Another fellow there caught five rainbows, using a worm under a popping bobber.

10/25/15: A couple of hours spent at a local lake yielded a few bluegill, but nothing to really write about. What are you fishing for this fall?

10/18/2015: Fall is here. Cold weather is starting to poke around the edges. I’ve been too busy to do anything fish-related for a while, but this is a good time of year. Bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. Let us know what you’re catching in the comments section below!

Summer 2015

9/20/15: First vacation since 2012 last week. I spent several days fishing the surf in South Carolina, catching sharks, bluefish, whiting, and some smaller bait fish. I was throwing a cast net in the surf, and looked up to see a bull shark chasing bait about 20 feet away. I figured I didn’t need finger mullet that badly.

Catfish

8/9/15: Not a great picture, but I caught this nice little 14 inch blue cat last Sunday. That’s about the speed of my fishing life recently.

7/29/15: I’ve been out a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, to a private lake near Lexington. No big stories to tell.

This coming Saturday, August 1st, I’ll be at Veteran’s Memorial WMA near Georgetown to participate in Jake’s Day, an event put on by the National Wild Turkey Foundation. There will be several fishing related activities and information booths, and the event is family-friendly. They’ve asked me to share information about the website and maybe help direct folks to a few new places to fish–I’m happy to help out. So, if you are in the area Saturday, and looking for something to do (particularly with kids), then head over to the WMA and say hello!

7/3/15: Rain, rain, rain, rain…tried to fish Friday afternoon, rained out again. Summer would be nice…

6/21/15: I fished the private lake again this afternoon. This time I came with my kayak and some bait. I managed to land two nice blue cats, 15″ each, and four other bluegill/shellcrackers.

What is interesting is what I used as bait. Digging in my garden, worms were few and far between. This is normal this time of year. What I did find were japanese beetle pupae and some japanese beetles in the soil. The pupae were cream colored and about 1/2 inch long. I hooked one at the lake, tossed it in, and five seconds later I was fighting the catfish. I hooked the next one, and again , five seconds later a nice cat hit. Later, I hooked the mature beetle, and caught a nice shellcracker. SO, if you’re digging around and find a cream-colored beetle-shaped bug pupae, they are catfish slayers, apparently. For whatever reason, I never considered using japanese beetles for bait. They invade by the thousands in the summer, here; they have a new purpose, as far as I’m concerned.

6/14/15: I fished a private lake most of the afternoon. Bright sun, very windy. A few hits, no fish. Nice to get out.

Spring 2015

6/1/2015: A question was posted about Bullock Pen–can anybody help kyoung?:

I have a Bass tournament on Bullock Pen in August and have never been on the lake before. Is there anyone out there that would give a little advise, direction or support. Thanks for the info in advance, please email to kyoung@sabinapd.com

Thanks, Admin

5/24/15: On Sunday, in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend, I headed to Elkhorn VPA on the mainstem, upstream from Peaks Mill. There must have been a hundred paddlers on this stretch in the two hours I spent–I had considered taking my kayak and using Canoe KY’s shuttle, but figured it might be kind of busy. I was right. One day this summer, when I take off a weekday from work, I’ll try that approach.

Fishing was slow in the shallows, so I started moving along the steep bank. There was a tree down in the water, and underneath the sun was glowing, revealing a dozen or so smallmouth, largemouth, redeyes, bluegills, and a large gar patrolling overhead. The tree was angled away from the bank, and the fish congregated around a split in the trunk, about 10 feet from shore. I decided that dropping live bait in the center of the school would be the best bet on hooking something, since there was little if any room to work any type of lure. I hooked a redworm, and carefully swung it over to the split in the log. A slab sized long-eared sunfish took it, and fought hard. A couple more followed that on succeeding casts. Finally, I was out of bait, last worm. I tossed it back to the school, a bluegill hit, and as I started reeling, the gar grabbed the fish and started spinning, wrapping himself in the line for several seconds, he thrashed as I reeled, then the gar got loose. I landed the small bluegill, with only small tooth marks on his tail. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before…

5/10/15: I went to Robinson Dam on the Elkhorn for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon. The weather was beautiful, the water felt good. I caught several small to medium bluegill and sunfish. It was really nice to get back in the water.

5/3/15: I’ve been watching the flow of the Dix River, and it finally fell to a number I wanted to see (250 CFS or lower). What I didn’t watch was the level of Lake Herrington, which of course, is controlled at the dam. The level of the lake was at 740 feet yesterday, which is about five feet higher than it was last spring (at 735 that day, 250 CFS). The riffle I’d seen before was under 5 feet of water, and it was difficult to get to a point where the water was moving at Dix River VPA. Still, I fished a couple of hours, and caught a few small fish. The guys upstream from me were catching a steady stream of panfish, a good sized sucker, and a couple of biggish buffalo carp. They were using nightcrawlers; I had red worms from the garden. I threw half a dozen lures, but only live bait drew any hits. A very nice day, weather wise.

4/18/15: I finally found time to get out between the rain and other commitments, so I took the kayak to Wilgreen Lake to see if I could hook into the fat, shad-fed bass or the blue cats they started stocking several years ago. The short answer to that question is “no”, but it was a very nice day. There was a lot of life and activity on the surface, and I did have a couple of nice hits, and one bluegill (I wasn’t fishing for bluegill). Nice to get out again, and nice to get a boat on the water for the first time this year, as well.

3/21/15: The weather has turned nice (for the moment), so I went to Scott County Park for a couple of hours late Saturday. Using a small spinner, I landed one trout, and had a couple of hits. Nothing earth-shattering to report, but it was nice to get out after the winter ugliness.

2015

2/28/2015: Just a reminder–Kentucky hunting and fishing licenses expire TODAY–renew your license before you head out (after this white stuff disappears!)

2/16/16: Snowed in today, but I just read a release about trout stocking in Hickman Creek, in Lexington. 1,000 rainbow trout are being stocked at Belleau Woods and Veteran’s Parks this week. I’ve written about Veteran’s Park in the past–this is a great development for Lexington’s public fishing scene. This should be a very interesting fishery over the next few months, and very close for folks in Lexington. A list of other FINs stockings is also posted at the KDFWR website. Once this snow slacks off, I’ll definitely be heading back to Veterans Park for a little winter trout fishing.

2/7/15: I tried Lock 7 again for sauger–no dice. There were others there for the same reason, but nobody caught anything. On the way home, I took a detour to go take a look at Lock 6, at the end of Oregon Road near Nonesuch in Woodford County. There was a gate blocking the entrance to the area. I know that anglers are allowed downstream of a dam to fish, but I’m not too sure about gate-hopping to get there. It would be great if it could be worked out between Fish and Wildlife and the KY River Authority to create authorized access to the various dam sites, in a clear and legal way.

1/17/15: Today was the first decent weekend day of the new year, so I thought I’d try to catch some sauger on the Kentucky River. It was 55 and sunny, but I couldn’t get anything to bite. Another fellow was there also, and he said that he hadn’t had any bites yet either. I think it was February the last time I caught sauger there, so I guess I’ll wait a few weeks and try again.

Tell us about your winter trips in the comments below. I know there are others itching to get out and hit the water this year as well, and it’s nice to hear about what is working and where to focus efforts on these rare winter days like today.

Winter

12/26/2014: I returned to Scott County Park toward the end of the day. Right around sunset, the trout became active, and started hitting the chartreuse roostertail. I managed to land one decent rainbow, and fought two others.

12/20/2014: I took a quick trip over to Scott County Park to fish for trout. The water was partially frozen, but the area around the dock was liquid. I had the place to myself. I threw a chartreuse roostertail, and on the second cast, got a solid hit. Over the next hour, I got a number of hits, but no connections. On one retrieve, the lure was directly in front of me, and I saw the silver flash of a trout coming up from the bottom to hit it; he must have seen me and took off the other direction. It was about 3 PM, partly cloudy. I think I’ll try it again after Christmas, and time it to twilight. They seem to connect more frequently in the last hour of sun.

Fall 2014

11/22/14: It was a nice day, so I decided to try to catch some sauger at Lock 7 on the Kentucky River. I threw white and chartreuse grubs on heavy lead heads for a couple of hours, and got 2-3 solid strikes, but nothing connected. They should be in more of a feeding frenzy later in the winter, so I’ll head back in a month or two…

11/16/14: On a cold Sunday afternoon I went to Jacobson, White Hall, and a quick, cold visit to Lock 10 on the Kentucky River. No fish in any location, but plenty of cold wind and rain….

10/25/14: Benjy Kinman Lake recently opened to the public in Henry County. I took a trip there with the kayak this afternoon, and created a new page with the details….

An eagle's nest at Benjy Kinman Lake
An eagle’s nest at Benjy Kinman Lake

10/23/14: I took the kayak out to Robinson on the Elkhorn for a late afternoon trip. The sun was shining, and air temps of about 60° made it a nice day. Throwing a chartreuse roostertail, on about the third cast, I landed a decent largemouth. A few casts later, another; both were about 11-12 inches. I fished on, paddling up to the bend by the highway, then drifting back slowly. The roostertail produced three largemouths, a Kentucky bass, and a 10 inch smallmouth. Drifting back, I tied on a shakeytail weedless tube minnow, and slowly retrieved near structure along the creek’s edge. Soon, I hooked a nice 14-15 inch largemouth who put up a good fight. The finale was a 15-inch smallmouth, using the same retrieve–a nice fish. By that time, the sun was disappearing, and the temperature dropping, so I headed in.

The bass were obviously actively feeding–typical for this time of the year. There was a pattern to what was working for me, though. The sun was behind me, and I was casting downstream, retrieving upstream. Every fish that I caught, with both lures, came from this particular presentation. I tried other angles, the other side of the creek, etc., but didn’t even get a hit. There was definitely something about the angle of the sun that was working in my favor. I’ve noted this previously, particularly when trout fishing: more fish landed when fishing with the sun behind me. Just something to remember…

10/19/14: It was a beautiful sunny afternoon Sunday, and I decided to look for new access points to fish. Elkhorn VPA, numbers 1, 2 and 3, lie north of Frankfort toward Peakes Mill. I landed one small smallmouth, and fought and lost a couple of others at VPA # 1. The fish were very active, pounding the surface every few seconds, but I couldn’t quite figure out what they were hitting. Nevertheless, the location and conditions were beautiful; a great way to spend an afternoon. (See the new Elkhorn Mainstem page for more info).

Looking Downstream from Elkhorn VPA #2, October 2014
Looking Downstream from Elkhorn VPA #2, October 2014

I stopped at the Sportsman’s Lakes on the way home to hit the recently stocked trout, and they were extremely active. I was there about 30-40 minutes, landing two rainbows, and almost landing two more throwing a chartreuse roostertail. Using a fast retrieve, sort of bouncing it on the surface, multiple trout hit the lure instinctively. Instinctive hits aren’t very committed, unfortunately, so only about one in ten hits manages to hook the fish, and most of those came loose. The constant action was fun, though, and I’ll be putting a couple of trout in the smoker for the first time this season.

10/2/14: I went to Jacobson Park for a couple of hours. The water levels were low, but there was fair fish activity on the lake. I didn’t land anything, but I did tangle with a sizable fish for several seconds before he threw the hook. Good sized bass were jumping 50 feet offshore. The weather was warm and breezy, and made for a nice break. Maybe the rain moving through will change things up a bit…

Late Summer 2014

9/20/14: On this last Saturday of summer, I spent a couple of hours at Robinson Dam on the Elkhorn. I caught crawdads when I arrived, and used them, catching one decent largemouth and one small shellcracker. Not a lot of catching going on, but the weather was great and the water levels ideal. I was the only one there. The summer has been light on fishing for me…looking forward to cool weather fishing, with the trout and sauger.

Looking at Robinson from the parking area, Sept. 2014
Looking at Robinson from the parking area, Sept. 2014

8/29/14: I ran down to Lock 7 on the Kentucky, but found a completely overgrown path, and the water appeared to be higher than the gauge suggested. Not wanting to go sliding through the deep, snakey brush (I was wearing only shorts and tevas, not ideal), I left and headed toward Nicholasville. I  stopped at Lake Mingo, and again, the place was covered in waterfowl; too many to cast a line, really. So I took back roads and headed over to Jacobson Park. The water levels there were back to normal, and there was a fair amount of activity in the water. A light hit on the first cast, then a small bluegill after a few minutes. I got there about a half hour before dark, so it was a short fishing trip.

8/20/14: Between work, bad weather, and other commitments, it has been hard to hit the water this month. I’m hoping to get out a bit in the next week or two…share your experiences with us in the comments–I really appreciate hearing about it!

July 2014

7/26/2014: I went to a lake party at a friend’s private lake near Boston, KY. Its was hot, but I managed to catch two small largemouth and about six nice, heavy bluegill and shellcrackers in about an hour of fishing. A nice addition to a day with friends and a very stormy night.

7/20/2014: A slow day at Scott County Park. I fished there for about an hour, and I believe one person caught a bluegill. I stopped at the Elkhorn in Georgetown for a few minutes, no action there either.

7/13/14: Jacobson Park was pretty dry on Sunday. Water levels are down about two feet, and that is pretty significant for a shallow lake. There was a beach that more or less surrounded the lake. I didn’t see any signs of anyone catching anything (I sure didn’t), but I did see plenty of baitfish in the shallows, occasionally dodging some kind of predator. Tough time to fish Jacobson, but hopefully a bit of a draw-down will improve habitat in the future.

7/3/14: I took a day off work and headed to Robinson Dam. A few others were thinking the same thing, but it was not crowded. I fished in and around the spillway with a brown/orange tail grub, catching several rock bass and sunfish. I switched to a chartreuse roostertail, with similar results. After about an hour, I decided to put my kayak in above Robinson. Throwing the roostertail, I hooked a couple of small sunfish, but nothing substantial. It was overcast, in the 70s, and there was a breeze, a nice change from the recent stifling weather. No big fish stories to tell, just a nice couple of hours off…

June 2014

6/23/14: I thought I’d try Dix River VPA in low flow conditions. When I got there, the long field had not been mowed this year, and was six feet deep in thick growth. I really couldn’t access much more than the front (impounded) portion, which must have been raised to summer pool. The path upstream to the riffles was fully overgrown, and in some pretty snakey country. Wearing shorts and water sandals, I decided wading through heavy brush was not a good idea. I fished what I could access, with no luck. A couple appeared, wearing boots and long pants, having come from the riffles. They said they caught several small-sized largemouths and some bluegill. Later, a kayaker with a rod came down stream, and took out directly in front of the entrance (the banks are steep, so I was surprised to see someone put in or take out there.) He reported similar results to the couple. If you’re planning to head to the Dix on foot, wear boots and pants, and watch for snakes. The riffles seem to produce in hot summer, as well.

6/15/14: Robinson Dam on the Elkhorn was hopping, and crowded today. Lots of smaller fish biting, though. I managed to catch four rock bass–two smaller, and two in the 1+ lb. range, using a brown grub with an orange tail, fished slowly across the bottom. The weather is hot (86 degrees), but the water felt great.

6/8/14: I took the kayak down to Cedar Creek Lake for a few hours yesterday. The weather was nice and the water was warm. Fish were active, and the water was crystal clear. I could see at least 6-8 feet, revealing structures and features I had never seen before there.

I caught 20-30 small to medium sized bluegill, mostly on big fat garden worms I found under a pile of rotting hay at my in-laws small farm. I fished the bottom in and near weed beds with a carolina-rigged shakey-tail, nothing. I switched to a Yo-Zuri Pin’s minnow, and using a fast, jerking retrieve, managed a strike and short fight with a decent largemouth. He jumped and threw the lure, so I didn’t have a chance to land the fish. I guesstimate about 15-16 inches, 2-3 pounds.

It was a nice day on the water, and I kept a few of the bigger male bluegill and a decent redear sunfish. They’ll make a nice lunch today.

Spring 2014

5/25/14: After trying to go to Robinson on the Elkhorn (every parking spot taken), I headed over to Scott County Park. I caught three decent bluegill in an hour, then stopped at Oser in Georgetown, also packed. I caught two small sunfish there. No great stories; LOTS of folks fishing this weekend. Tell us your fishing stories from the weekend in the comments section!

5/4/14: I scoped out a couple of spots on the main stem of the Elkhorn in Franklin County. Read about it on the new T. N. Sullivan WMA page.

4/26/14: Spent a couple of hours on the Elkhorn, launching from Great Crossings. I caught a couple of sunfish, nothing exciting. I did nearly run face-first unto this guy:Copperhead on the Elkhorn

I was drifting along, fishing next to a fallen tree, and just happened to look up to see this bad boy at eye-level, about three feet in front of me. Just a little reminder to pay attention; I can’t count the number of times I’m drifting along, and just run into overhanging branches. Luckily, I didn’t kiss this one on the lips…

4/13/14: I checked out Dix River VPA on the Lake Herrington headwaters in Boyle County today. I didn’t find the white bass run. but I did find some other fishing action and a beautiful location. Read about it in the new Dix River VPA page!

4/12/14: It sure is a beautiful weekend. I’m going to try to get out–let us know where you are fishing, and what is biting!

3/15/14: I fished the Salt River in the Taylorsville Lake WMA this afternoon. I had read that the white bass were making their spring run, so I thought I’d check it out. I didn’t see (or catch) any fish at all, but the location is intriguing, and not too far away. I put together a Salt River page to explain…

3/8/14: It is a little premature, but I’m tired of winter. Welcome Spring!

I went to Scott County Park to try for trout, stocked last week (1000 in each lake there). I couldn’t get the trout to bite, but I did catch one bluegill. Anyway, it was nice to get out.