Veterans Park (Hickman Creek), Lexington, KY

by John Kirkland

Update 2/16/2015: KY Fish and Wildlife recently stocked 1000 rainbow trout in Hickman Creek in Veteran’s Park, and upstream at Belleau Woods Park (behind Tates Creek Center). This is great news for Lexington-based trout anglers, and locals who would like to try trout fishing. There is a fair amount of public access to this stream, though most of it is steep and somewhat treacherous. There is a foot bridge across the creek in Veteran’s Park, and this area might offer an easier place to access the water. I’ll try to check it out and report back after this snow subsides. Until then, if you have any stories or tips about reaching trout in this creek, let us know in the comments below.

August 22, 2011

Veterans Park is a sprawling complex of meadows, ball fields, and walking trails on the south side of Lexington, near Man-o-War and Tates Creek Roads. Nestled in a residential area, there really aren’t too many clues, and definitely no signs, indicating that there is a creek, with fish, that runs through the park.

Hickman Creek drains southeast Lexington.  It is filled with run-off and a fair bit of trash, as expected, but also contains a fairly healthy population of fish.  I stopped by briefly this morning to check it out.

Finding the creek is a trick. It is completely obscured by woods and brush.  There are dirt (mud, this morning) trails running along the floodplain adjacent to the creek.  The banks are mostly steep, if not vertical, so getting to the water is difficult once located. The brush and limbs grow wild, and numerous bobbers and piles of fishing line in the trees give testament to frustrated fishing.

I threw a chartreuse rooster tail for a few minutes.  I saw several decent sized-bluegill try to hit it, but nothing connected. There is about 1-2 feet of water in the section I fished, lots of logs and debris.

Others have commented on this site about successfully fishing in Veterans Park. I believe it could be done, given enough time and patience.  This area has very poor access, and is a bit of a hike from the parking area.  I drove to the furthest-back, dead-end parking area (signs pointed to a trail head there) to park and hike down into the creek.  I didn’t get into the water–it rained last night, and the water was a bit funky.  The banks and shore appear to be all clay and mud in this section.  Downstream is a sewage treatment plant, gently wafting its scent over the area.

If you fish Veterans Park regularly, or know of better access, etc., please let us know in the comments below.  Lexington has so little public-access to fishing; for better or worse, this is the second best location after Jacobson in Fayette County.  Donalson Park, at Valley View Ferry, is the third and only other public-access fishing that I know of in Fayette, currently.  Donalson is about a half acre with a steep clay bank on the Kentucky River that you (theoretically) could fish from.

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9 thoughts on “Veterans Park (Hickman Creek), Lexington, KY”

  1. The best access for the creek as stated above is from Rockbridge Road. Turn off of Tates creek road into the Cumberland Hills neighborhood (there is a sign). Drive to where the road ends at a neighborhood park. There is plenty of parking.

    The creek is very close by, right through the treeline. There is a path that follows the creek. It is muddy but not steep, though the creek is usually a couple feet below the bank. I can’t give much info about the fishing here. I used to fish here about 20 years ago when I was a kid. We used to catch a fair number of decent sized fish but I really don’t know what they were. I actually tried to fish here a couple of weeks ago but I was with my 9-year-old and he had a summer cold so we didn’t stay long and didn’t catch anything.

    The creek here is slow and fairly deep because of a small dam downstream. It’s really fairly gross here, with a fair amount of trash. If you walk downstream a short distance you will pass the dam.

    Below the dam the water is much shallower. It has some flow to it and feels cleaner. Just past the dam there is a footbridge. To stay on the creek, cross the bridge and go down the hill to your left just past the bridge. There is a path you can follow here that leaves the creek for a short distance but comes right back. You have to cross the bridge because people’s backyards come right down to the creek on the other side.

    The creek is fairly pretty here, and the banks are not steep or too muddy. After a while you get close to the treatment plant and I think public access ends.

    Sorry for writing so much but it seems there was a need for info.

    Overall it’s not a terrible place to get outside and get a line in the water, but from where I live in Lex. its just a few more minutes to the elkhorn near midway, and I would rather go there.

  2. There are many area’s that are NOT “steep” with simple and easy access to the creek for you and/or your pet. The creek couldn’t be easier to find as trails lead straight to it. I As stated by one post, the Rockbridge side has the easiest and quickest access. I’ve never seen trash in this creek although I’m sure there is after floods. The water today was crystal clear with plenty of marine life.

    1. Thanks for the input–we are all interested in learning more about Veterans/Hickman Creek. If you have any detailed instructions on how to access the less-steep points along the creek, we’d love to hear about it (I would like to know more). Lexington is high and dry when it comes to places to fish, so any information is much appreciated.

  3. I have fished this section of stream quite a bit over the last 12 years. You can slay bluegill all day with live worms or small spinners but that’s about it. I have seen decent sized bass in there but they are VERY skittish and almost impossible to catch. I think the water quality has worsened over the years. I used to catch a few rock bass and smallies below the bridge before the treatment plant but not anymore.

    It’s by far the most repugnant creek I’ve ever fished, but it’s ok if you are really hard up to fish. The best fishing in this creek is downstream to which you can find access to wade if you are nifty with Google maps.

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