Free flowing section of the Salt above Taylorsville Lake, owned by the KY Fish & Wildlife Dept.
The tailwater below Taylorsville Lake features a parking area and paved sidewalks around a fishing access area.
It was a slow bite, but I finally managed to land a white bass on the Salt River. Others fishing there (probably 10 or so that I encountered) were catching 0 to 3 or so fish, so not a big day for anyone. It was fun, though, and this is a great time of year to walk and explore the WMA. I covered a good mile and a half of terrain there without heavy growth or bugs out of control. It was a good day.
10/8/18 Update: I heard a report (and saw video) of a white bass run a few days ago, so I hit the WMA to give the Salt another try. As predicted, the walk in from the parking area was thick and heavy weeds on a muddy flood plain. At 85°, I was wearing shorts and water shoes, which weren’t the best for tromping through that type of brush.
Reaching the river, I saw no signs of white bass, but there was good flow after the flood had receded last week. I threw a few spinners, hoping for a stray white bass to hit, but nothing. I had picked up some meal worms, so I started floating those with a weighted bobber and three feet of leader. That yielded a few nice-size bluegill. After an hour, the mosquitoes had nearly sucked me dry, so I headed out, and drove to the Taylorsville Tailwater Access, about a half-hour away.
The Salt River winds through central Kentucky, draining a large area south of the Kentucky River. I’ve thought about checking it out for a while, and while scouting locations on the KDFWR site, I ran across a notice that a section of road running along the Salt River in the Taylorsville Lake WMA would open today, and stay open until the day before spring turkey season. The road is opened to allow anglers access to the headwater during the white bass spawn, which typically goes on this time of year. Sounded like a great opportunity, so I set out for the southwest corner of Anderson County to check it out.
There are a few places to access the river. I took Hwy 44 west out of Lawrenceburg, about 10.7 miles. The first, from this direction, is River Road, a sharp turn onto a gravel road, marked with a WMA sign. About a half mile down the road is a parking area (marked). Access to the river is on foot, through fields and somewhat rough country. Just go down hill, toward the tree line. You’ll eventually see the river.
For the next spot, go past River Road on 44, and turn left on 1579. A few miles down, Palmer Road is on the left, and marked with a WMA sign. Follow Palmer to the end. There is a parking area there, and during certain times of the year, the access road is open (like today). Check the Fish and Wildlife website for status. The road follows the River, with several spots to park and walk down.
I fished a while at several spots, but didn’t see any fish at all–just a cold, clear winter river. It is pretty, and I’m sure would be a good bet in warmer weather. I think the extra cold winter might be slowing down the spawn, and they aren’t moving yet, as I saw no sign of any fish, at all.
I’ll probably try to return here in the summer. It is a beautiful, remote stretch of shallow river, and would be a great place to wade. It is in the middle of a WMA, and is public.
White Bass, April 2019
Taylorsville Lake Dam is located between Bloomfield and Taylorsville, KY. The Corps of Engineers built a nice access point below the dam, where the lake waters gush out in the spillway.
The area is relatively nice, as far as fishing areas are concerned–ample parking, restrooms (permanent “vault” type, sort of a modern outhouse), a picnic area, and a paved trail that runs from the parking area to the base of the dam and around to the other side of the spillway. The picture above shows a view of the dam and spillway, and the concrete (or asphalt?) covered rock bank below.
The current is strong, and multiple species swim to the base of the dam to feed. A fellow next to me caught a trophy-sized walleye (maybe 24″) on his first cast, using a chatterbait with a white tail. I managed to catch only a bluegill (seems to be my “signature” catch), but had a few hits on both top water and bottom rigs. I cut the bluegill into cut bait, and each piece got hit and picked off before I could set the hook.
I’ve been seeing pictures of folks catching a variety of species at this spillway: hybrid stripers, flathead, walleye, sauger, drum, and the occasional snagged asian carp (they jump out of the water every minute or so in the rushing water. )
It is an interesting spot, about an hour from Lexington and probably a similar distance from Louisville. From Lexington, take the Bluegrass Parkway to exit 34, go left off the ramp to head north on 55, through Bloomfield, then turn right on 2239. There are signs pointing to Taylorsville. After going over the dam, the tailwater access road is on the left, just next to a beige building.
October 2018 update: I stopped by for an hour and a half on a hot October day. I managed to catch a 10 inch largemouth casting a heavy chartreuse roostertail across the raging river, about 30 yards downstream from the spillway. Asian carp were jumping actively at the spillway.