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Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Up And Coming Fishing Opportunities For 2011

March 03, 2011 - News Release from Kentucky Afield

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky fishing licenses expired this past Monday, Feb. 28. If you go fishing now, you'll need a new Kentucky fishing license.

Buying your new fishing license invariably leads to hopeful thoughts about fishing trips you would love to try this coming year and dreams of catching the biggest fish of your life in 2011.

You may want to include a trip to the Kentucky River in your 2011 fishing plans. Anglers in the past referred to the river in less than glowing terms; its often muddy state reinforced the negative feelings.

However, improving water quality, lower flows that made for better spring spawning and survival of fry along with a stocking effort by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources remade the Kentucky River into a top destination for muskellunge, sauger, crappie, hybrid striped and white bass.

Pool 6 in Mercer and Woodford counties upstream to Pool 14 in Lee County comprise the best muskellunge water in Kentucky River. The river is full of suckers, so large gold and black minnow imitators, big bass-sized crankbaits with yellow or golden hues and spinnerbaits with gold blades make good lure choices.

“There is some good opportunity for some quality muskellunge fishing,” said Jeff Crosby, central fishery district biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “The upper river is best, but a lot of the tributaries from Boonesboro to Frankfort should hold some nice muskellunge.”

While sampling muskellunge populations in the river over the past couple of years, Crosby and crew found a good number of muskellunge from 40 to 50 inches long.

White bass, sauger and hybrid striped bass roam the Kentucky River tailraces below the locks and dams. Sauger are still biting in these tailraces on white, chartreuse or lime green curly-tailed grubs, small silver spoons or crappie minnows.

A white bass stocking program begun in 2006 is now paying dividends on the Kentucky River. In spring, throw white in-line spinners and white curly-tailed grubs below locks and dams and in the lower mile or so of major tributaries in spring.

Target laydown trees and brush in the mouth of tributary creeks with white curly-tailed or boot-tailed grubs for Kentucky River crappie.

An expansion of the Fishing in Neighborhoods program (FINs) will bring good fishing for those living in northern and central Kentucky. Providing a quality fishing experience for Kentuckians living in or near urban areas is one of the main goals of the FINs program.

Camp Ernst Lake in northern Kentucky will receive 3,750 rainbow trout this spring and 8,750 channel catfish this spring and summer. Millennium Park Lake in Danville gets 500 rainbow trout this spring and 1,600 channel catfish spread out from March through August.

The fisheries division will stock Whitehall Park Lake a few minutes south of Lexington just off the KY 627 exit on I-75 with 3,750 rainbow trout this spring along with 4,200 channel catfish.

Two lakes in the Ft. Knox Military Reservation, Lake Carlson and Lake Dickerson, will open to public fishing this year. Anglers using these lakes no longer need a Ft. Knox fishing permit. Lake Dickerson received 500 rainbow trout this past spring along with 1,600 channel catfish while Lake Carlson received 4,900 channel catfish.

White bass stockings over the past decade in the upper reaches of Lake Cumberland are now paying off for anglers. The population of white bass continues to improve and anglers should target the headwaters of the lake this spring with silver spoons, small shad-colored topwaters and white curly-tailed grubs.

Dewey Lake in Floyd County is an up and comer for catfish and redear sunfish, commonly referred to as shellcrackers.

“Catfish and shellcrackers are doing well at Dewey,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “It's a pretty recent development.”

Try some of these fishing destinations this spring and remember to renew your fishing license. It is well worth it.

(Article Provided by: Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife)