Southland Christian Church is a very large church on Harrodsburg Rd. (US 68) just south of Brannon Rd. in Jessamine County. In 2018, the church opened its small lake to the FINS program. The lake is open for fishing Monday-Saturday.
I visited in November, 2018, about three weeks after the fall trout stocking to see if there were any trout left. After an hour of casting and no hits at all, it wasn’t looking too good. One guy who had been there for a while did manage to land one trout, but that was the only fish I saw.
The lake is more of a pond. There is ample parking, but except for the far end of the lake, the banks are semi-steep around the sides. There is an aeration system in use there, suggesting this is a shallow pond that gets hot in the summer.
It’s great that the FINS program continues to expand. I don’t have high expectations of small ponds that are new to the program, as they are hit pretty hard, early on. I may give this one a year or two before I try again, to let the newness wear off.
Southland Christian Pond
On drizzly May Saturday afternoon, I decided to check out Danville’s Millennium Park Lake. Located in the relatively new park, behind Boyle County High School, the “lake” is really more of a large duck pond. The park is nice, and plenty of people were there doing a variety of things. The pond seems to be shallow at the edges, with maybe an 8 foot channel in the center. There is significant algae, but no serious underwater obstructions that I ran across.
I started out throwing a chartreuse blue fox spinner, since this is a FINS lake stocked with trout. No hits, plenty of algae. I tried a black and red mepps spinner; no hits. Finally I switched to a worm on a slip bobber, which allows the worm to sink to the bottom. Two hits in thirty minutes, then finally a stunted green sunfish. Other people fishing there seemed to be catching the same thing: 4″ green sunfish. These are generally a leftover from a stream being dammed; they overpopulate quickly, and offer little for fishing or the growth of gamefish.
So, with one visit, things don’t look great for fishing at Millennium Park, yet. Perhaps a few years of proper management will improve the situation.
Millennium Park, May 2012
August 22, 2011
I took a Monday vacation day off, with a goal of fishing some new places in central Kentucky. White Hall Park Lake, located in Northern Madison County, is part of the Fishing in Neighborhoods program with KDFWR. I had seen it online, and wanted to check it out. The lake and park are adjacent to Whitehall Historic House.
The lake looks like maybe 3 acres, has a nice fishing pier, and cattails line about 80% of the banks. There are several spots to access the water, including the dam, which is clear of vegetation. The water is crystal clear, with patches of weeds. I didn’t hook anything solid on the bottom–weeds pulled clear that I snagged, and so never lost a lure. There is good handicapped parking & access to the pier, and a paved trail runs around the lake.
I arrived at 11:30 AM, not typically the best time to fish, but it was only 80°. Trout were jumping all over the lake, and the Fish and Wildlife fish stocking truck was there dumping a load of new catfish, about 10-11 inches.
I threw several lures from the pier, trying to hook a trout. Then I switched to a carolina-rigged tube minnow, and got a couple of uncommitted hits. Finally, I rigged a live nightcrawler, carolina style, and immediately started to see some action. A bluegill, followed by a 10 inch largemouth, not bad. Then a nice 14″ largemouth took the bait, and after a short fight, was landed.
There is a 15″ minimum for bass, so he went back in. Fun to catch, though.
White Hall is a very nice, clean little lake. The park is wide open, and has a picnic shelter and playground. The crystal clear water makes mid-day lures a difficult bet, but late-day and early morning might see some more action from spinners and crank baits.
From Lexington, take I-75 south, past the KY River, to exit 95. Turn right (west), past the Shell station. The road ends at White Hall.
Whitehall Park Lake
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.
10/2/2020: I checked out the main pond at Hisle Farm Park, off Briar Hill Rd. in northern Fayette County. It’s not entirely obvious from the road how to find the pond–it is surrounded by dense trees. After driving in the main entrance, you’ll be on a gravel road headed to a barn. About halfway to the barn, you’ll see cattails on the left and a very small pond. Across the gravel road from that, there is a bit of a pull off and some logs that suggest a trail next to a treeline. Park there, and follow that treeline about 70 yards or so, and you will see the pond on the right. There is a dirt path leading to it–in wet weather this would be solid mud. A guy I talked to said the trail runs all around the pond. It’s about an acre and doesn’t appear to be actively managed. Still, some fish were jumping, and I did get a hit or two. No fish caught. It is good to have any additions to the sparse public fishing scene in Fayette County, anyway.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a sprawling complex of buildings, lakes, paddocks and equestrian venues.
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 right. 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.
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).
September 2013 Update–I no longer see these ponds listed as being part of the program. There are several other spots to try, though. Let us know if you find another VPA site worth sharing, in the comments section below.
May 12, 2012
There are two farm ponds near Salvisa, in Northwestern Mercer County, that are part of the program. My goal was to visit both. I made it to only one; the map and directions I had to get to the other ignored the fact that some of the connecting roads appeared to be a driveway or dirt path…anyway, if you want to visit, you really should use GPS or follow the directions carefully on the KDFWR site.
Salvisa Pond #2 is quite visible from the road. . A large brown sign identifying the pond, with regulations sits about 50 yards off the highway. Drive past the sign, then go right. Park near the pond. If you are in a small vehicle, or have low clearance, this might be a tricky place to get into.
The pond is large–a small lake, really–but is heavily covered in algae, weeds and lily pads. There is a small dock, which puts you within about 10 feet of open water. Weedless rigs would definitely make sense. I threw a worm on a slip bobber, and instantly hooked and landed a decent bluegill. The same presentation caught a few more small bluegill and green sunfish. I switched to a weedless grub, no luck, and then weedless frog, which seemed to be a great possibility for this pond, but yielded nothing.
The sign indicates a minimum size for crappie and catch and release of all bass. I didn’t hook anything other than the bluegill and sunfish in the hour I spent there. I packed it in, and headed out in search of Salvisa Pond #1…I ended up on the wrong side of the Bluegrass Parkway, using the GPS on my phone to guide me back to something familiar. By then it was getting dark, and time to head home.
The VPA program is a very nice thing to have available–attached is a link to the page where you can find directions.
Update 9/9/2012: I visited Salvisa Pond #1 today. I caught a couple of bluegill, and another group caught a limit of bluegill. The pond is covered in heavy moss, but between the clumps, there are fish. This is also a public dove field.