Update: July 9, 2011
Took the kayak to Wilgreen on a nice Saturday late afternoon. After fishing a couple of hours, several lures found no fish. I dropped some wax worms on the bottom, and got one nice fight that ended up tangled in a tree. Altogether, caught 3 small fish (very small catfish, small bluegill, very small largemouth).
At dusk, I started to head back, and the water came alive–with shad. The lake was boiling with shad, who feed close to dark on plankton near the surface. This explained much–a lake full of shad is a terrible place to fish, in my experience. Bass are well fed, and other species get crowded out. I hope Wilgreen can be revitalized, or remain fishable. The other boats and anglers I saw were primarily catching bluegill.
August 29, 2009
I got a late start on a Saturday afternoon, but packed the kayak and headed south to Wilgreen Lake, on the southwest side of Richmond, Kentucky. I knew very little about the lake, but decided to find out more first hand. With days drawing shorter, I would have less than two hours of light to check out the 169 acre lake, but I was determined to get on the water and fish.
Wilgreen is not hard to find—take I-75 to exit 87, then go west about a mile, turn left (south) on Curtis Road, drive a couple of miles, then turn left at the sign for Wilgreen. There is a large gravel lot and a small marina, selling bait, snacks, ice, etc. There is a fee of $5 to launch a boat or fish from the shore or fishing dock.
The water was clear and clean the day I was there. There was no major weed cover or algae floating. I never once got hung up on anything in the lake. The lake is idle speed only, so boats just putter around. Overall, on a nice Saturday afternoon in August, the lake was quiet and still—except for the baitfish cutting the surface.
I started fishing with my usual test pattern. A chartreuse roostertail, followed by a shallow crankbait, then an in-line spinner rig with a white grub. The roostertail yielded nothing, but I managed to land a nice 10 inch crappie near a submerged tree on a green/white shad crankbait. I looked for my stringer, but it was gone, having fallen out while packing my gear. He would have been a nice dinner.
The light was fading, so I paddled to a point where there was a lot of surface activity. There I threw a spinner rigged with a large white grub. A couple of casts later, the line jerked, and a bass jumped out of the water. He fought hard, and took off under the boat when I reeled him close, he finally gave up, and into the boat. Just over 12 inches, he too would have been a nice dinner, but I pulled the hook and let him go. A very scrappy largemouth.
It was getting dark, so I paddled back to the ramp. I will have to return to Wilgreen again; two hours is not enough.
Overall the lake is pleasant, clean, and not far from Lexington. The floating fishing dock is attached by a ramp, and is accessible for those who have trouble getting around. The marina, open until 7 PM the day I was there, was well stocked with tackle, a variety of live bait (crickets, minnows, worms), as well as snacks, drinks, and ice. A fish cleaning station is also located at the dock.