KY Horse Park (Rolex Lake), Lexington, KY

The Kentucky Horse Park is a sprawling complex of buildings, lakes, paddocks and equestrian venues.

Rolex Lake at the Kentucky Horse Park
Rolex Lake at the Kentucky Horse Park

In 2016, one of the lakes on the property was deemed a FINS lake. Rolex Lake is a 5+acre lake adjacent to the Rolex event grandstand. To get there, go in the main entrance, then drive toward the back and to the left. You’ll see the stadium-like lights that light the grandstand area.

It is a nice lake, with a paved trail going around the perimeter. Depending on the time of year, hours and fees to access the park vary. The sign at the entrance indicated that it is $5 to enter and park on the property, but that seems to be waived between November and March. Check the KY Horse Park website for details.

I visited on December 26, 2016. This is about a month after 2500 rainbow trout were stocked there. My goal was to catch trout for the smoker–something I do every year between Christmas and New Years.

There were 3-4 other people there when I arrived. One fellow on the other side of the lake appeared to be catching trout every five minutes, throwing them back. Others showed frustration about catching nothing at all. Two older men were camped out beside the fountain in the middle of the lake. Always follow the lead of the grizzled older men and women; this is something I have definitely learned over the years. They almost always are the ones quietly catching fish left and right.

Rolex Lake
Rolex Lake

I started out with a rainbow spinner. Got a hit after 20 minutes. Switched to a chartreuse roostertail, nothing. Finally, I tried a japanese beetle grub on a very small hook. I finally caught a bluegill (technically a hybrid sunfish, decent size.)

After 2 hours, I had one bluegill, no trout. I moved closer to the fountain, and switched to a little red worm from my garden at home. Instantly, another bluegill. Threw it again, caught a trout. Over the next hour, I caught two more trout and probably 15 bluegill. I released all the bluegill, and kept the trout for the smoker (and subsequently had smoked trout for dinner).

The two older fellows stopped to talk to me for a minute, and mentioned that they were fishing for crappie. They were catching them pretty non-stop; not big, but plentiful.

The opening up of fishing at the Horse Park is a wonderful thing–there is so little public fishing in Fayette County. This is a pretty nice lake, and quite accessible. There is pavement, parking, and fair population of fish. Be aware that there is a picnic pavilion near the entrance to the lake, with restrooms, but those restrooms are not always open (not open the day I was there).

Motor boats aren't required for great fishing!