Lake Mingo, Nicholasville, KY
by John Kirkland
Update August 22, 2011
I fished Mingo briefly this afternoon. I caught one small bluegill, but didn’t put much effort into fishing. Really, my goal was to see what the renovated lake looks like. It appears to be almost twice the size it used to be, and perhaps 4-5 feet deeper. Gone are the deep weed banks, for the time being. I look forward to hearing more about success at Mingo (see comment section for some good updates from other anglers).
Urban fishing is typically a trade of quality for convenience. Lake Mingo, which really is just a pond, is located in the middle of Nicholasville, two blocks east of Main Street on Lake Street. The lake is about two acres in total, surrounded by path, most of which is paved. Mingo Park is a wide open, grassy city park with picnic shelters and paved walking trails. There is a parking lot adjacent to the water.
The pond is fed by urban runoff, and, at least when I fished it, was almost completely filled to the surface with algae and weeds. There were a few openings that allowed for casting—and I did catch some bluegill and a catfish. The fishing there is not great. What is interesting, though, is that each spring the KY Fish and Wildlife Department stocks 8” Rainbow Trout and catfish. With wide open areas surrounding the water, this would be an ideal spot to learn fly casting, with actual trout at the other end of the line (a rarity in Central Kentucky).
I did see some nice 12-14 inch largemouth bass tending their beds at the waters edge when I went a couple of springs ago. They wouldn’t take anything I was throwing that day. There is a 15 inch minimum on largemouth, though I wouldn’t keep or eat anything there, save perhaps for a freshly stocked rainbow. Water bodies fed by urban, intense agricultural (feedlot), or golf course runoff may be fun to fish, but are all but certain to be loaded with fertilizer, lawn chemicals, and animal feces. A small lake in heavy algal and weed bloom is well fertilized. I couldn’t say for certain that fish caught in Lake Mingo are unsafe to eat, but I’ll let common sense and caution guide me.
The good thing, of course, is that the lake is easily accessed, a short distance from anywhere in Nicholasville, and only 15-20 minutes from much of Lexington. As far as fishing recommendations are concerned, top water is largely necessary (poppers, bugs, floating crankbaits). A fly rod and floating lures may offer an advantage here, as well. Watch the KDFWR website for trout stocking dates in the spring, typically mid-April.