Sunday, May 30th, 2010
My first kayak trip out in seven weeks–a beautiful afternoon, but busy with the Memorial Day traffic on the lake. There were a few too many pleasure boaters, and even a few innertubes bouncing around (not permitted on Cedar Creek). Fishing was slow, and the heavy chop from boats running full throttle made it hard to focus on any given spot.
I threw my usual series of spinners and crankbaits, with no hits, no luck. To be fair, though, nobody else seemed to be catching anything either, just a nice day on the water.
About 7:30 PM, after three hours of trying lures, I decided to give up and drop some worms in the shallows, just around the bend from the old US 150 ramp where I launched. Bobber on, I fed some bait thieves for a few minutes, then decided to take the bobber off, and sink the line next to standing timber. This had yielded crappie and bluegill in the past, and once or twice had hooked a nice catfish.
I hooked up a red worm (from under my compost pile), and dropped it next to a big tree trunk. It was hit instantly, but instead of reeling in a bait-sized bluegill, line started peeling off my reel. A short fight later, I landed a nice, 19 inch (just short!), ~3.5 pound largemouth. I was at least as surprised to see him as he was to see me!
After a quick picture, I sent him on his way. With the 20 inch minimum in place at Cedar Creek, there are some nice, quality bass. I was shocked, though, that my little red worm on a small hook picked of this guy. So of course, I kept trying that method. No more bass, but several small bluegill.
A good day, after all…
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
Cedar Creek Lake, Stanford, KY
On a hot, breezy, overcast afternoon, I put my sit-on-top kayak in at the Old 150 ramp on the west side of Cedar Creek Lake. Having paddled past the ramp and standing timber, I began to throw a chartreuse roostertail around weedbeds abutting a point surrounded by cattails. Nothing but weeds. I switched to a small creek minnow–again, only weeds. A white grub on a spinner, and a black worm all produced nothing. After two hours, I paddled into standing timber, and threw a shallow fry crankbait. First cast, wham-I hooked and landed a 14 inch largemouth. There is a 20 inch minimum on Cedar Creek, so he went back in.
Wind and passing boat wakes made it difficult to focus on any given spot in the timber. I threw the shallow fry several times, finally hooking a nice one about 8 feet deep—unfortunately he wrapped the line in a tangle of limbs down deep. I lost the fish and the lure.
Another hour of casting the other crankbait I had, a very shallow “wobbler”. I had never had luck with this one before, and the day was shaping up to be a one fish show. Heading back to the ramp, I stopped at the weed beds again, with the thought that the shallow swimmer might do well there, not tangling the thick vegetation three inches below the surface. It glided over top, no problem at all. I lined up the boat with the row of cattails, and threw the lure crosswise, fishing a 60 foot length between the cattail and the weedbed. Two throws later, I hooked a scrappy 10-inch on the splash. Then I backed out of the weedbed, and began throwing across the outer edge of the bed. A few casts later, I hooked and landed a decent 12 inch bass.
Two old fellows were cat fishing from a small johnboat about 50 yards away, between me and the dock. I paddled around them, quietly, and set up again to throw across the outer edge of the bed. First cast was short—but was hit immediately. I saw the green glow of the lure in the fish’s mouth, going back and forth—then the line snapped. The green lure disappeared. Ten seconds later, the fish jumped out of the water, about eight feet away, and threw the hook. The lure was left floating on the surface.
What started off slow turned out to be a good afternoon of bass fishing on Cedar Creek Lake. This was my first trip on the deep end of the lake, and though the boat traffic is much heavier than the headwaters (especially behind the 1770 bridge), there are numerous quality fish to be found. A trophy lake designed for fishing, Cedar Creek promises high-quality bass fishing, with decent access, about an hour south of Lexington.
About the Lake
Cedar Creek Lake was impounded in 2002. There is a buffer zone around the entire perimeter of the lake, and there are no private docks. US 150 forms the dam at the northern end of the lake, lying between Stanford and Crab Orchard, KY. There are several access points, and because of the buffer zone, bank fishing can be had literally all around the lake. Highway 1770 crosses over the lake (from Stanford, right on 1770, then follow the road seven miles). Next to the bridge, there is a fishing jetty and paved parking, which offers handicapped-accessible fishing from the jetty. Adventurous types can hike the unimproved shoreline to fish spawning flats, steep drops, rock piles, standing timber, bridge pilings, and gravelly shoreline. Wear pants (lots of briars and bugs), and expect mud. Otherwise, excellent bank access opportunities for shore-fishers.
The ramp sites offer access for boats and shore fishing as well. The KDFWR site has excellent maps showing depth and GPS locations of underwater features and fish attracters. This lake was made for fishing. No jet skis or tubing, and though folks tend to crank it up in the main channel, most boaters are respectful of fishermen, and will pass with little or no wake.
Kayak/canoe tip: the headwater behind 1770 bridge is covered in submerged timber. At the far reaches, there are plenty of barely submerged logs and narrow passages between trees. However, there is a good 20-30 acres of deep fishing around the timber, and boats with props avoid the area, in general. I have no problem gliding over the submerged wood to get in where the bass boats (and definitely the pontoons) can’t or won’t go. This area is really only accessible to canoes and kayaks—enjoy a quiet place. Crappie, and some bass, along with the ubiquitous bluegill are abundant in this area.