2/28/2015: Just a reminder–Kentucky hunting and fishing licenses expire TODAY–renew your license before you head out (after this white stuff disappears!)

2/16/16: Snowed in today, but I just read a release about trout stocking in Hickman Creek, in Lexington. 1,000 rainbow trout are being stocked at Belleau Woods and Veteran’s Parks this week. I’ve written about Veteran’s Park in the past–this is a great development for Lexington’s public fishing scene. This should be a very interesting fishery over the next few months, and very close for folks in Lexington. A list of other FINs stockings is also posted at the KDFWR website. Once this snow slacks off, I’ll definitely be heading back to Veterans Park for a little winter trout fishing.

2/7/15: I tried Lock 7 again for sauger–no dice. There were others there for the same reason, but nobody caught anything. On the way home, I took a detour to go take a look at Lock 6, at the end of Oregon Road near Nonesuch in Woodford County. There was a gate blocking the entrance to the area. I know that anglers are allowed downstream of a dam to fish, but I’m not too sure about gate-hopping to get there. It would be great if it could be worked out between Fish and Wildlife and the KY River Authority to create authorized access to the various dam sites, in a clear and legal way.

1/17/15: Today was the first decent weekend day of the new year, so I thought I’d try to catch some sauger on the Kentucky River. It was 55 and sunny, but I couldn’t get anything to bite. Another fellow was there also, and he said that he hadn’t had any bites yet either. I think it was February the last time I caught sauger there, so I guess I’ll wait a few weeks and try again.

Tell us about your winter trips in the comments below. I know there are others itching to get out and hit the water this year as well, and it’s nice to hear about what is working and where to focus efforts on these rare winter days like today.


12/26/2014: I returned to Scott County Park toward the end of the day. Right around sunset, the trout became active, and started hitting the chartreuse roostertail. I managed to land one decent rainbow, and fought two others.

12/20/2014: I took a quick trip over to Scott County Park to fish for trout. The water was partially frozen, but the area around the dock was liquid. I had the place to myself. I threw a chartreuse roostertail, and on the second cast, got a solid hit. Over the next hour, I got a number of hits, but no connections. On one retrieve, the lure was directly in front of me, and I saw the silver flash of a trout coming up from the bottom to hit it; he must have seen me and took off the other direction. It was about 3 PM, partly cloudy. I think I’ll try it again after Christmas, and time it to twilight. They seem to connect more frequently in the last hour of sun.

Fall 2014

11/22/14: It was a nice day, so I decided to try to catch some sauger at Lock 7 on the Kentucky River. I threw white and chartreuse grubs on heavy lead heads for a couple of hours, and got 2-3 solid strikes, but nothing connected. They should be in more of a feeding frenzy later in the winter, so I’ll head back in a month or two…

11/16/14: On a cold Sunday afternoon I went to Jacobson, White Hall, and a quick, cold visit to Lock 10 on the Kentucky River. No fish in any location, but plenty of cold wind and rain….

10/25/14: Benjy Kinman Lake recently opened to the public in Henry County. I took a trip there with the kayak this afternoon, and created a new page with the details….

An eagle's nest at Benjy Kinman Lake
An eagle’s nest at Benjy Kinman Lake

10/23/14: I took the kayak out to Robinson on the Elkhorn for a late afternoon trip. The sun was shining, and air temps of about 60° made it a nice day. Throwing a chartreuse roostertail, on about the third cast, I landed a decent largemouth. A few casts later, another; both were about 11-12 inches. I fished on, paddling up to the bend by the highway, then drifting back slowly. The roostertail produced three largemouths, a Kentucky bass, and a 10 inch smallmouth. Drifting back, I tied on a shakeytail weedless tube minnow, and slowly retrieved near structure along the creek’s edge. Soon, I hooked a nice 14-15 inch largemouth who put up a good fight. The finale was a 15-inch smallmouth, using the same retrieve–a nice fish. By that time, the sun was disappearing, and the temperature dropping, so I headed in.

The bass were obviously actively feeding–typical for this time of the year. There was a pattern to what was working for me, though. The sun was behind me, and I was casting downstream, retrieving upstream. Every fish that I caught, with both lures, came from this particular presentation. I tried other angles, the other side of the creek, etc., but didn’t even get a hit. There was definitely something about the angle of the sun that was working in my favor. I’ve noted this previously, particularly when trout fishing: more fish landed when fishing with the sun behind me. Just something to remember…

10/19/14: It was a beautiful sunny afternoon Sunday, and I decided to look for new access points to fish. Elkhorn VPA, numbers 1, 2 and 3, lie north of Frankfort toward Peakes Mill. I landed one small smallmouth, and fought and lost a couple of others at VPA # 1. The fish were very active, pounding the surface every few seconds, but I couldn’t quite figure out what they were hitting. Nevertheless, the location and conditions were beautiful; a great way to spend an afternoon. (See the new Elkhorn Mainstem page for more info).

Looking Downstream from Elkhorn VPA #2, October 2014
Looking Downstream from Elkhorn VPA #2, October 2014

I stopped at the Sportsman’s Lakes on the way home to hit the recently stocked trout, and they were extremely active. I was there about 30-40 minutes, landing two rainbows, and almost landing two more throwing a chartreuse roostertail. Using a fast retrieve, sort of bouncing it on the surface, multiple trout hit the lure instinctively. Instinctive hits aren’t very committed, unfortunately, so only about one in ten hits manages to hook the fish, and most of those came loose. The constant action was fun, though, and I’ll be putting a couple of trout in the smoker for the first time this season.

10/2/14: I went to Jacobson Park for a couple of hours. The water levels were low, but there was fair fish activity on the lake. I didn’t land anything, but I did tangle with a sizable fish for several seconds before he threw the hook. Good sized bass were jumping 50 feet offshore. The weather was warm and breezy, and made for a nice break. Maybe the rain moving through will change things up a bit…

Late Summer 2014

9/20/14: On this last Saturday of summer, I spent a couple of hours at Robinson Dam on the Elkhorn. I caught crawdads when I arrived, and used them, catching one decent largemouth and one small shellcracker. Not a lot of catching going on, but the weather was great and the water levels ideal. I was the only one there. The summer has been light on fishing for me…looking forward to cool weather fishing, with the trout and sauger.

Looking at Robinson from the parking area, Sept. 2014
Looking at Robinson from the parking area, Sept. 2014

8/29/14: I ran down to Lock 7 on the Kentucky, but found a completely overgrown path, and the water appeared to be higher than the gauge suggested. Not wanting to go sliding through the deep, snakey brush (I was wearing only shorts and tevas, not ideal), I left and headed toward Nicholasville. I  stopped at Lake Mingo, and again, the place was covered in waterfowl; too many to cast a line, really. So I took back roads and headed over to Jacobson Park. The water levels there were back to normal, and there was a fair amount of activity in the water. A light hit on the first cast, then a small bluegill after a few minutes. I got there about a half hour before dark, so it was a short fishing trip.

8/20/14: Between work, bad weather, and other commitments, it has been hard to hit the water this month. I’m hoping to get out a bit in the next week or two…share your experiences with us in the comments–I really appreciate hearing about it!

July 2014

7/26/2014: I went to a lake party at a friend’s private lake near Boston, KY. Its was hot, but I managed to catch two small largemouth and about six nice, heavy bluegill and shellcrackers in about an hour of fishing. A nice addition to a day with friends and a very stormy night.

7/20/2014: A slow day at Scott County Park. I fished there for about an hour, and I believe one person caught a bluegill. I stopped at the Elkhorn in Georgetown for a few minutes, no action there either.

7/13/14: Jacobson Park was pretty dry on Sunday. Water levels are down about two feet, and that is pretty significant for a shallow lake. There was a beach that more or less surrounded the lake. I didn’t see any signs of anyone catching anything (I sure didn’t), but I did see plenty of baitfish in the shallows, occasionally dodging some kind of predator. Tough time to fish Jacobson, but hopefully a bit of a draw-down will improve habitat in the future.

7/3/14: I took a day off work and headed to Robinson Dam. A few others were thinking the same thing, but it was not crowded. I fished in and around the spillway with a brown/orange tail grub, catching several rock bass and sunfish. I switched to a chartreuse roostertail, with similar results. After about an hour, I decided to put my kayak in above Robinson. Throwing the roostertail, I hooked a couple of small sunfish, but nothing substantial. It was overcast, in the 70s, and there was a breeze, a nice change from the recent stifling weather. No big fish stories to tell, just a nice couple of hours off…

June 2014

6/23/14: I thought I’d try Dix River VPA in low flow conditions. When I got there, the long field had not been mowed this year, and was six feet deep in thick growth. I really couldn’t access much more than the front (impounded) portion, which must have been raised to summer pool. The path upstream to the riffles was fully overgrown, and in some pretty snakey country. Wearing shorts and water sandals, I decided wading through heavy brush was not a good idea. I fished what I could access, with no luck. A couple appeared, wearing boots and long pants, having come from the riffles. They said they caught several small-sized largemouths and some bluegill. Later, a kayaker with a rod came down stream, and took out directly in front of the entrance (the banks are steep, so I was surprised to see someone put in or take out there.) He reported similar results to the couple. If you’re planning to head to the Dix on foot, wear boots and pants, and watch for snakes. The riffles seem to produce in hot summer, as well.

6/15/14: Robinson Dam on the Elkhorn was hopping, and crowded today. Lots of smaller fish biting, though. I managed to catch four rock bass–two smaller, and two in the 1+ lb. range, using a brown grub with an orange tail, fished slowly across the bottom. The weather is hot (86 degrees), but the water felt great.

6/8/14: I took the kayak down to Cedar Creek Lake for a few hours yesterday. The weather was nice and the water was warm. Fish were active, and the water was crystal clear. I could see at least 6-8 feet, revealing structures and features I had never seen before there.

I caught 20-30 small to medium sized bluegill, mostly on big fat garden worms I found under a pile of rotting hay at my in-laws small farm. I fished the bottom in and near weed beds with a carolina-rigged shakey-tail, nothing. I switched to a Yo-Zuri Pin’s minnow, and using a fast, jerking retrieve, managed a strike and short fight with a decent largemouth. He jumped and threw the lure, so I didn’t have a chance to land the fish. I guesstimate about 15-16 inches, 2-3 pounds.

It was a nice day on the water, and I kept a few of the bigger male bluegill and a decent redear sunfish. They’ll make a nice lunch today.

Spring 2014

5/25/14: After trying to go to Robinson on the Elkhorn (every parking spot taken), I headed over to Scott County Park. I caught three decent bluegill in an hour, then stopped at Oser in Georgetown, also packed. I caught two small sunfish there. No great stories; LOTS of folks fishing this weekend. Tell us your fishing stories from the weekend in the comments section!

5/4/14: I scoped out a couple of spots on the main stem of the Elkhorn in Franklin County. Read about it on the new T. N. Sullivan WMA page.

4/26/14: Spent a couple of hours on the Elkhorn, launching from Great Crossings. I caught a couple of sunfish, nothing exciting. I did nearly run face-first unto this guy:Copperhead on the Elkhorn

I was drifting along, fishing next to a fallen tree, and just happened to look up to see this bad boy at eye-level, about three feet in front of me. Just a little reminder to pay attention; I can’t count the number of times I’m drifting along, and just run into overhanging branches. Luckily, I didn’t kiss this one on the lips…

4/13/14: I checked out Dix River VPA on the Lake Herrington headwaters in Boyle County today. I didn’t find the white bass run. but I did find some other fishing action and a beautiful location. Read about it in the new Dix River VPA page!

4/12/14: It sure is a beautiful weekend. I’m going to try to get out–let us know where you are fishing, and what is biting!

3/15/14: I fished the Salt River in the Taylorsville Lake WMA this afternoon. I had read that the white bass were making their spring run, so I thought I’d check it out. I didn’t see (or catch) any fish at all, but the location is intriguing, and not too far away. I put together a Salt River page to explain…

3/8/14: It is a little premature, but I’m tired of winter. Welcome Spring!

I went to Scott County Park to try for trout, stocked last week (1000 in each lake there). I couldn’t get the trout to bite, but I did catch one bluegill. Anyway, it was nice to get out.

2014: Happy New Year!

KY River Sauger
KY River Sauger

1/20/2014: Sauger. I took off for a couple of hours to Lock 7 this afternoon, and reeled in this nice sauger after five minutes of casting a white curly tail on 1/4 ounce. 17 inches, 1.5 lbs. A nice break from the winter weather…

1/4/2014: It is cold. The sun is out today, though, and sauger season should be heating up below dams on the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. Here’s a link to the video I did a while back about Sauger in Kentucky. If you manage to get out, let us know if they are biting!

Winter 2013

12/22/2013: First weekend of winter…I headed to Scott County Park on Sunday, between storms and a cold front. Something went right, though, and I caught a limit of five trout, including this decent guy, in about 90 minutes. A few people were throwing spinners and rappalas; I threw a white roostertail with one pole and drifted a live red worm from the garden on the other. The worm was catching them so fast, I put the roostertail down. I used a small hook, about 20 inches of a lead below a small split shot, and a slip bobber to mark any action. This method lets the worm sort of suspend a foot or two below the surface.

The bite was super light, and didn’t even pull the bobber under. More like a tickle. I would pick up the pole, and very slowly start to reel, until the line went tight, then I’d land the fish. Five times in a row. I filled the smoker, and we ate smoked trout until we were stuffed. I love the fishing on nice days in winter…

Chunky Trout from Scott County Park
Chunky Trout from Scott County Park

Fall 2013

12/9/2013: I FINALLY finished the next video for the SmallwaterFishing Youtube channel. This one is a short video about FINs lakes of Central KY.

11/11/13: A quick trip to White Hall today yielded nothing for me, but a couple fishing there caught a limit of trout. They said they were using Powerbait.

11/2/13: Trout Time…Trout stocking has begun in FINS and several streams. The FINS lakes in Louisville received trout in late October, and many Central Kentucky lakes will be stocked this week. Cool-weather fishing is pretty active, and I can’t wait!

9/29/2013: Yesterday was a beautiful day in Central KY. I decided to go find a new (for me) spot to fish. I ended up at Forks of the Elkhorn in Frankfort. There is a Voluntary Public Access point at the dam there. There are a few parking places, and about 130 feet of bank access to the Elkhorn, just below the dam. I caught a small smallmouth on the first cast, using a chartreuse roostertail. A few more hits after that, but I think they wised up a bit. I hung out there for about 45 minutes, then headed back toward Georgetown, and put the kayak in above Robinson Dam. I caught several small bluegill, and one decent fight with something that tangled in some brush on the bottom, and got away.

Forks of The Elkhorn
Forks of The Elkhorn

Motor boats aren't required for great fishing!