June 12, 2010
I shouldn’t have been too surprised by the fact that nobody was at the lake on a muggy, 90 degree afternoon. A conservation officer stopped by to check my license; he was the only one I saw there from 5-6:30 PM. Fishing was a bit slow at first, but quickly picked up closer to 7.
I was there to catch catfish–blood bait and night crawlers rigged on a hook, weight, and slip bobber, allowing the bait to sink to the bottom while letting the bobber mark the position and any bites. The weekend before, I came here to fish, and two groups of people were catching cats one after another using some kind of dough bait. No cats noticed my offerings, but a few bluegill did their best.
I switched to nightcrawlers after the dough turned up nothing. (The worms in my compost pile moved away, apparently, so I had to buy crawlers at Kmart). I was fishing up next to and under overhanging brush, and bluegill were nibbling steadily. Finally, a good hit, and I landed a 10 inch bass, and sent him back. Every cast was being hit, and about every third re-bait yielded at least a bluegill.
I dropped the line underneath some brush hanging in the water, and the line took off–I started to reel, but the drag let line go. A nice little fight from a decent bass; I got him on shore, an was looking for my measuring tape, as there is a 15 inch minimum in FINS lakes. I thought he was just small, and he managed to unhook himself, flopping his way toward the water. I wasn’t in a rush to grab him, and he got back to the water about the time I found my tape. I had orignially figured him at 13-14 inches, but after looking at the measure, he appeared to be closer to 16-17 inches. Oh well.
Later, I hooked another 10 inch bass on a blue & chartreuse spinner, as well as numerous bluegill. I kept a few bluegill for dinner, though that bass would have made for more of a meal than the grilled bluegill snack that I had.
Scott County Park is a nice spot, easy to get to and around (a paved trail encircles the whole lake). The weed problems I had noticed earlier in the year seem to be less prevalent; I never once snagged or came out covered in weeds. In this hot weather, the action definitely picks up closer to dark, as it does in most places.
March 19, 2010
Scott County Park, located just west of the intersection of US 25 and KY 32 in Georgetown, KY, is a fairly open, somewhat sparse bit of municipal park. What led me there is a small lake (large pond) on top of a hill, recently designated a FINS Neighborhood fishing area by Kentucky Fish & Wildlife. The fact that the lake had been stocked with 500 put & take rainbow trout 3 days earlier didn’t slow me down, either.
The water is crystal clear, and there is a bit of an algae problem. Lots of weeds, fairly shallow, and steep 3-4 foot banks surrounding most of the lake, these conditions present a challenge to any angler fishing for anything other than catfish. (I don’t think there are too many cats in the lake, either.)
I first checked this place out two years ago in the summer months. I observed numerous small bluegill, a few 8-10 inch largemouth bass, and one very nice 18-20 inch largemouth patrolling a weedline. However, the same crystal clear water that allowed me to see what I did also allowed them to see me. And here is the challenge: they spook easily, and are very tentative about striking, especially when they see a person standing there with a pole.
I left work on a beautiful 62° Friday in March–the last day of winter–and drove straight to the park to catch a couple of hours of fishing before the weekend rush. Stopping at a gas station in town, the local paper caught my eye. The front page story and headline: “Go Fishing! Park Lakes Now Open to Fishing” and a picture of a happy older man showing his catch. That the park lake, and Lake Lusby, a similar pond at the other end of the park were open and contained fish was seemingly a secret until that story ran. In fact, I learned only a week before the stocking via the KDFWR website that Scott County Park was scheduled to be stocked with trout as part of FINS. I called the Parks department to confirm that fishing actually was allowed (NO FISHING signs used to adorn the area). The lady said she knew that they had recently opened the lakes, but had no idea that there was supposed to be a stocking. I told her about the KDFWR site, and made plans to visit as soon as possible.
I started fishing about 5:30. Word had certainly gotten out–about 50 individuals, adults, kids, families were lining the banks. This weekend is one of the first warmer, nice weather weekends of the year, and it is no surprise that folks would head out en masse. Most appeared to be geared up for catfish and bluegill–worm and bobber. Some were casting, and one man was fly fishing. I ran through a number of lures: rainbow creek chub, white rooster tail, silver floating rapala…no hits, just weeds. No one appeared to be catching anything–it really was too early for bass, and the bluegill were tentative and hook shy at best. Trout were jumping in the middle, but no one had figured that out yet.
About 6:15, the fly fisher had switched to casting, and started hooking trout. I asked him what he was husing, and he said a spinner. I hooked up my old standard, the chartreuse roostertail, and started casting with a medium-fast retrieve to keep it out of the weeds and near the top. No weeds with that method.
About 6:30, the sun had almost leveled with the water, and I was fishing with my back to the sun, when the first trout hit the lure. No monster, but nice little 10-inch rainbow. They race and jump and fight like crazy when hooked, so it was a lot of fun to be catching fish after a too-long winter. Within 30 minutes, I hooked up three more, the same size, before nightfall. The daily limit of trout in a FINS lake is five, but I stopped at four, to make a proper dinners-worth for two adults. Fresh trout are possibly the finest freshwater fish for eating; I was dreaming up just how I would prepare them all the way home.
The trout are stocked by Fish and Wildlife, the program paid for with the money from the required trout stamp an angler must possess to keep trout in Kentucky. A trout stamp is included in the Sportsman’s License ($95/yr, KY residents only), along with hunting, fishing, deer, turkey, and migratory bird stamps/tags. I definitely value Kentucky’s managed fisheries and the work that the Wildlife department does for hunter, anglers, and boaters in the state. No general revenue funds are used to fund the department; licenses, boat registrations, and taxes on sporting goods and boat fuel pay for these programs. If you can afford it, buy the Sportsman’s License, even if you don’t use all the features offered. I like the fact that users are the ones paying all the costs of this lifestyle and type of recreation (and tradition!).
Scott County Park is located north of downtown Georgetown: from 25, turn left on 32 (Long Lick Rd.), and go about a quarter mile, then turn right into the park entrance. There are parking lots and paved trails surrounding the lake. There is a small fishing dock with two benches, and about half of the shoreline is free of obstructions and brush. This would be a great place to learn fly fishing–plenty open space. There is good accessibility for wheelchairs and for others who don’t care to hike through grass and mud.
Google map link below: