by John Kirkland
There are a number of places to access the main stem of the Elkhorn. I thought I’d track down a spot or two this afternoon, and headed to the Peaks Mill area north of Frankfort. Highway 1262 heads north, then crosses the Elkhorn, then south again, covering a number of access points. I passed Switzer Bridge, then stopped at the Peaks Mill VPA [closed as of 2020], at the intersection of 1262 and 1707. There, parking is located in a couple of spots. The water was somewhat high today, and this area offers about 300 yards of bank access, mostly steep, so I didn’t really have a good spot to fish from. I stayed only a few minutes to check it out.
This would be a half decent place to put in take out a kayak or canoe, and I saw a couple of groups do just that. Heading down stream, the VPA [was] along the right side of the creek, and covers both upstream and downstream sides of the 1262/1707 bridge.
T.N. Sullivan WMA
I went further on 1262, toward the T. N. Sullivan WMA. On the western side of the Elkhorn, the WMA is about 2 miles south of the bridge. There are three parking/access areas. The one on the northern end of the WMA is closest to the creek. It is small–maybe room for 3 vehicles, and is marked with a few small yellow signs. Head into the woods, downhill to access the water.
Getting down to the water here isn’t terribly hard. The road is actually paved in parts; there was a house or other building at the bottom at some time in the past. It is a bit of a hike, maybe a quarter mile or more. You could potentially put in or take out a kayak/canoe here. I’ve seen worse places to access water, but it is a fair hike back out to the road, and would be a pain with a heavy load.
After reaching the bottom, there is a long field on one side of the path, and a bit of landing area at the water. Levels were about 200 cfs today, and I think 50-60 would be more amenable to fishing. The banks are clay/mud in these conditions, and would be easy to slide into the water.
I started fishing with what was rigged on the pole–a hook, sinker and slip bobber, with a worm from the garden. The current was fairly swift and the rig just swept down each time I cast. Still, I had one good bite. I decided to move down a bit, where a bend in the creek created a bit of slack water. A fish was splashing the surface there. I threw the rig, and as I reeled, a fish kept hitting the slip bobber, but not the worm. I decided to switch tactics. I tied a chartreuse rooster tail, and reeled it in fast through the slack. On about the third cast, a smallmouth hit it, and was landed. Not too big, but a nice little smalley. A few more casts, and I snagged a carp–he tugged hard and got away, but left a big scale on the hook.
After about an hour I decided to try to move on and hit another spot. The water levels weren’t good, and my fishing time is short, these days. I drove into Frankfort, and decided to try the Sportsmans Lakes. Apparently, all of Central KY had the same idea. There was someone fishing every 15 feet or so, completely around the lakes. Time to head home…
Downstream from T.N. Sullivan