Throughout Kentucky, spring rains raised water levels in Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Nolin River Lake, Rough River Lake, Cave Run Lake and Taylorsville Lake. Some lakes are experiencing water levels never before witnessed.
Lake Cumberland rose quickly as well, prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release a great deal of water through Wolf Creek Dam, creating strong currents in the Cumberland River below it. The high water created miserable fishing conditions, but now the Cumberland River is rounding into great fishing shape.
Due to ongoing repairs on Wolf Creek Dam, the Corps must keep the Lake Cumberland 40 feet lower than normal summer pool. Once the lake reaches that level, they only release enough water to keep the water temperatures cool enough to support the world class trout fishery in Cumberland River.
Cumberland River still produces excellent fishing, although size and growth diminished slightly from stress created by warm water temperatures over the last couple of summers.
“The numbers of trout are good,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
“I think there are plenty of fish. . . I saw people using spinning gear and doing well.”
Anglers using spinning gear should catch rainbow trout with small in-line spinners and spoons fished over flowing shoals. Spinning anglers after brown trout should target pockets near woody cover and deeper rocky banks with small suspending jerkbaits worked erratically.
Dreves said fly anglers should cast nymphs and streamers right now, but vary their retrieves to find what works.
Anglers fishing Cumberland River also have a healthy chance to set a new state record. The fisheries division stocked about 12,000 brook trout in the Cumberland River earlier this year, giving anglers a chance to break the 15-inch long, 1-pound, 5-ounce brook trout state record. Louisville’s R. James Augustus caught the record fish from Martin’s Fork in 1982.
“As soon as the brookies get to the 15-inch minimum size limit, they’ll have a potential state record,” Dreves said. “It could happen soon.”
source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources