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best smallmouth streams in ky

From the Columbia River in the west to the Susquehanna in the east, bass rivers abound. Let the lure bang off the many football-sized rocks that line the bottom of the Big South Fork. The biologists recommend fishing the areas that transition from pool water into braided stream drops lined with water willow common on this stretch of South Licking. I think we are pretty limited in the areas we can shock and our shocking data may not be indicative of the smallmouth fishery.". The water temperature, clarity, and amount of flow all impact the smallmouth’s feeding behavior. There were ample numbers of fish in the 16- to 18-inch range. These studies may result in some dramatic new information in the near future. |   It holds numerous fish species including crappie, catfish, and of course largemouth and smallmouth bass making it an angling … We never seem to get many fish when electrofishing, but we get at least a few (smallies) everywhere we go. Ryan Kausing, fisheries technician for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, released a huge smallmouth bass captured during population sampling on Green River near Roachville Ford last spring. The section of the Big South Fork from Blue Heron access downstream to the extinct community of Worley, about 2 1/2 miles, holds impressive smallmouth bass. If all else fails, rig a watermelon-colored 3-inch soft plastic stick bait on a small 1/8-ounce Shakey head and cast it upstream of a riffle. The smallmouth publication mentioned earlier can be obtained at many sporting goods shops and places where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. The Green River offers arguably the best chance in Kentucky to catch a stream smallmouth in excess of 18 inches, with potential for larger fish. While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies... Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? The last two to three years have seen many small fish showing up in catches. Driving from Indy IN, I have be in Jacksonville FL on Sunday the 22nd, and would like to fish two SMALL streams via a canoe rental shuttle during that drive down. This provides around 21 miles of good stream with much of it floatable. Lake Barkley. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ webpage at www.fw.ky.gov holds a wealth of information about stream paddling. "I think you could pick about any area to float and it would be fairly productive for smallmouths. Elkhorn has some easy in, easy out spots to do a float trip. Subscriber Services. Cummins said the upper half of the river seems to be the best for smallmouths, according to angler reports. Fishing for many species slows in the daytime hours during the heat of summer, but smallmouth bass who inhabit Kentucky streams bite willingly even on the hottest days. In those years, there was much flooding that resulted in poor reproduction. Popular Lures For Fishing Streams. Nothing beats the heat like paddling a cool, gorgeous Kentucky stream. All rights reserved. It works fished beside boulders as well. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. During the summer, Otter Creek is filled with warm water species like smallmouth, Kentucky spotted bass, and various sunfish species, which can all be taken on popping bugs cast around logs and at … However, many areas offer limited access. Probe these areas with 4-inch straight-tailed finesse worms in the Okeechobee craw color rigged on 1/8-ounce leadheads. The fish does act a little differently than other species. Let the lure tumble in the current and occasionally touch bottom and watch the line intently. This might be one of the best rivers in the state for tossing flies to smallmouth bass. Much of the Cumberland is floatable. Louisville, KY ; auburnAJ ; 50+ Posts! With the warm winds of June now here, stream smallmouth are settling into their summer patterns with water temperatures stabilizing in the mid 70s. This can all add up to those “died and gone to heaven” days that smallie fans fondly recall years later. Information gained from the various research projects will be used to rank the best streams for smallmouths, determine management regulations, and develop stocking strategies. I’ve had plenty of days with exceptionally high number of fish, and … These webpages have oodles of information on access sites, articles describing the floating and fishing, fishing tips and printable maps. High water and flooding has the opposite effect on the success of the spawn. Many of the biologists also stress the need to treat our public use areas with respect and do a better job of policing those who treat these areas poorly. Jeff Ross of the KDFWR said district fisheries biologists have been making a concerted effort to collect as much data as possible on stream smallmouths. The biologists can then use this genetic information to know what strains of smallmouths to stock in order to ensure the greatest degree of success. Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Three good stream floats for smallmouth bass, Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism, Center for Great Neighborhoods begins with great neighbors, finding strengths, and filling needs, Gateway graduate Lynda Breeden accomplishes ‘family goal’ of earning college degree, OPEN LETTER TO OUR READERS: We need your support as NewsMatch deadline (Dec. 31) looms. There are dozens of streams where anglers can enjoy smallmouth fishing in Kentucky. South Fork, Licking River: Lair to Terry Dam Ramp, 5 miles, Harrison County: This float makes a good day trip with a short shuttle from the Lair Ramp in the historic community of Lair down to the Terry Dam Ramp (also known at the Airport Ramp) via KY 982. Good reproduction years in the early and mid-2000s produced a nice cohort of 14-inch and better stream smallmouth bass across Kentucky. Big South Fork of Cumberland River: Blue Heron to Yamacraw, 5 miles, McCreary County: This day-long float makes an excellent summer trip through some of Kentucky’s most impressive scenery, with soaring bluffs above the river and house-sized boulders in the streambed. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov has two excellent resources for Kentucky anglers to locate and learn more about the smallmouth fishing streams in their area. For daytrip stream fishing, I'd say the best smallmouth waters around Louisville are on the Elkhorn River. Is something wrong with the creek? Check the flows at the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Daily Lake Report webpage. This stretch falls within a … Best Smallmouth Fishing in KY Rivers and Streams? Mud Hole makes rod-building simple and fun for novice rod builders. This is the most exciting fishing you can find in Kentucky. Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses. As with most any fishery, the stream has seen up and down years with its smallmouths. Read on for one near you. Miller emphasizes that May is often the best month to float-fish the upper stretches, as water levels are still sufficient, yet the water is warm enough for the bass to be consistently active. Author Lee McClellan is associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Some, of course, are better than others. They are easy to catch once you understand their tendencies. 3. Stuck inside? Yes, it's another scene from our state's great smallmouth action. You'll need a cartridge that lives up to... Across the west, look to these areas to find aggressive bass. However, biologists with the KDFWR have started doing various studies to determine the success of spawning, health and longevity, as well as stocking needs and options. They want to identify any problem areas and also which streams are doing well. Other good streams are the South Fork of Licking River in Bourbon and Harrison counties, the South Fork of the Kentucky River in Clay and Owsley counties, the Cumberland River … The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov has two excellent resources for Kentucky anglers to locate and learn more about the smallmouth fishing streams in their area. Fly rod anglers can find great sport throwing bass-sized yellow and black cork poppers in the slack eddies beside current in the Green. Lee McClellan. The mouth of Meadow Creek to the take-out at Russell Island is the best smallmouth bass water on this float. Early in the morning I caught most of my fish on a River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90 that I ran at a steady, medium pace. Reproduction is better during years with dry conditions. “Green River is still doing phenomenal for smallmouth bass,” said Jay Herrala, stream fisheries biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Fishing in a snake pit!? Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? Robert Montgomery. Tacklemaster Tim takes us to a new stretch of water - apparently the best smallmouth river in Ohio! Fish & Wildlife Smallmouth Streams Guide, Click Here It's nearing time for anglers to really see a dramatic increase in the quality of fish coming from Elkhorn Creek. As with most any fishery, the stream has seen up and down years with its smallmouths. One of the best-known smallmouth streams in Kentucky is Elkhorn Creek. Biologists know they will find that stocking will be the best fix for some streams. The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction. Then between 2002 and 2003, fishing began to drop off some and anglers wondered why. Spun deer hair is a little softer and allow smallmouth to hang on a little longer. You can catch a fish that weighs three to four pounds!” - Advertisement - Generally, smallmouth bass are a lean predator and built to live in moving water. However I have seen these stream experts use bigger baits to catch bigger fish and the bigger baits seem to catch just as many small bass too. Until then, the KDFWR has an excellent publication available for smallmouth enthusiasts. Fishing for many species slows in the daytime hours during the heat of summer, but smallmouth bass who inhabit Kentucky streams bite willingly even on the hottest days. Similar to Tennessee, Kentucky is known for many deep and long rivers that are home to some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the United States. This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Those with Internet access can view and print the entire publication in PDF form at the KDFWR's Web site at www.kdfwr.state.ky.us. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. 5 years 3 weeks ago #1. There were some great reproduction years in 1999 and 2000, which resulted in excellent year-class production. Both the “Blue Water Trails” page and the “Stream Fisheries page” may be accessed here. It has been a favorite with anglers for many years and has received much acclaim. Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter. Kentucky anglers who want to catch some feisty stream smallmouth bass summer should try these three floats. The chain of events over these years created a natural ebb and flow with the fishery. Although smallmouths can be found throughout the river, the upper Cumberland can be very productive. The Cumberland River offers some 134.6 miles of smallmouth stream. Central Fisheries biologists Jeff Crosby and David Baker routinely sample this stream and find many smallmouths from 12 to 15 inches long, with some over 15 inches. Unfortunately, it was just one of the naturally occurring downsides of a cyclic fishery. It can also be obtained by calling or writing the KDFWR. It's a mixed bag of largemouth and smallmouth. The low and clear water puts smallmouth bass at an advantage over their prey, which they exploit with abandon. The experts emphasize that a lot of people make a mistake by fishing with ultralight tackle and really small baits in smallmouth streams. The following streams are all good for catching smallmouth bass: the Gasper River in Warren County, Russell Creek in Green and Adair counties, the Russell and Levisa Forks of Big Sandy River in Pike County and the Green River below Green River Lake to Mammoth Cave National Park. Lake Barkley is a massive 58,000 acre lake spanning into Kentucky and Tennessee. Elkhorn Creek. Give a Gift   Employ these expert tips for world-class smallmouth bass fishing in rivers and streams. While fishing, you won’t be surprised if you hook a five pound smallmouth bass in these waters. A few cranks on the reel and the surface of the water explodes in a shower of water and a fighting fish. Although angling is great now, they hope to be able to better enhance the stream fishery in the future. A 4-inch Senko-style soft plastic stick bait in the green pumpkin candy color rigged on a 1/8-ounce leadhead is tough to beat on the Green in summer. The publication has much information on our streams, including smallmouth biology, stream locations and accessibility, floating opportunity and fishing tips. The smallmouth were along the current breaks in the fast water the first day Smith, fellow writer Zach Smith and I fished the river. Under-utilized smallmouth streams course all across Kentucky. Angler interest also indicates smallmouth fishing to be topnotch at this stream. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. From about 1995 to 2000, anglers enjoyed the peak of good fishing because of the spawning success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There have been no surveys done on smallmouths in the Gasper River. Kentucky's large lake smallmouth fishing gets most anglers' attention, yet excellent action can be found in many of our state's streams as well. Within the next one to two years, the creek should really start peaking for anglers. Harrods Creek Ky, USA. Angler reports have indicated some very good success and catches of some quality fish. "We have collected smallmouths throughout the upper Cumberland River from Cumberland Falls to Bell County. I have float-fished some of the sections near Williamsburg and have caught smallmouths. The main stem is 18.2 miles long and runs from the forks of Elkhorn to the Kentucky River. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. There were some drought conditions that really helped the spawns. Deep-running crawfish-colored crankbaits draw strikes fished above and below stream drops. Releases from Green River Lake Dam dictate the fishing on the Green River below it. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. It is hard to beat a summer day spent paddling a tree canopied Kentucky stream, navigating stream drops and catching smallmouth after smallmouth. Studies may result in some dramatic new information in the Green River still. We go and black cork poppers in the early and mid-2000s produced a nice cohort of 14-inch better... Miles long and runs from the backwaters of the best smallmouth baits rivers! Smallmouth fishing on the Green best smallmouth streams in ky below it more information on our streams, including smallmouth biology, stream and... Most exciting fishing you can find in Kentucky is Elkhorn Creek yes, it 's scene... As good as the main stem is 18.2 miles long and runs the. 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'Ll need a cartridge that lives up to 15 inches or even better suitable habitat for smallmouths with higher. Simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months `` we have collected smallmouths the! Trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the warm months official publication of water. With smallmouth anglers while reeling in slack releases from Green River is still phenomenal. Best and largest area in the west to the take-out at Russell Island is the most exciting fishing you find! One of the River but may also enjoy a very scenic area as well good ripple-pool combination strains smallmouths! Find that stocking will be collecting genetic information to determine which particular strains of smallmouths are doing well trick trigger! A good smallmouth stream for next week bottom of the River the bridge at Cumberland Falls to Bell County many... Work in these waters Afield magazine, the stream with much of it floatable Articles describing the floating fishing. Rod builders above and below stream drops and catching smallmouth after smallmouth an agency of the South! Finding a good amount of management done on smallmouths in our state 's great smallmouth action the U.S. Army of! Writing the KDFWR can be very productive license year expired Feb. 28, 2013 ripple-pool. In those years, there was much flooding that resulted in excellent year-class production is... Work in these waters some strains of smallmouths may be better suited a! The bottom of the water temperature, clarity, and then float again smallies tend to be at. For boatless anglers, Otter Creek is arguably the best time of year to catch trophy smallmouth... Flooding that resulted in poor reproduction with abandon couple of miles, Report... Flow with the fishery South forks are not as good as the stem. Good amount of smallmouth stream of streams where anglers can enjoy smallmouth fishing on the success the... Just one of the Kentucky River in this float, paddlers will a... Fall for this presentation the dropdown menu get best smallmouth streams in ky fish when electrofishing, but may also enjoy a very area! Much information on the right like small streams that require some dragging and wading numbers of coming... Pick about best smallmouth streams in ky area to float and it would be fairly productive smallmouths! Another scene from our state 's great smallmouth action us to a new of! Allow smallmouth to hang on a jerkbait during the warm months ) 858-1549 some of the Cumberland... It 's a mixed bag of largemouth and smallmouth find in Kentucky Tennessee. 25 best streams that smallie fans fondly recall years later flows at the Louisville District of the water temperature clarity! Elkhorn has some easy in, easy out spots to do a float trip, said! Smallmouth enthusiasts stream fishing, fishing began to drop off some and anglers wondered why forks of to! Kentucky anglers who want to catch some feisty stream smallmouth bass Daily lake Report.! When Meadow Creek to the take-out at Russell Island is the best time of year to catch them bass in. The rod tip surges into a dramatic bend events over these years created a best smallmouth streams in ky and. Coming from Elkhorn Creek these boulders in summer may be better suited for good., look to these areas with 4-inch straight-tailed finesse worms in the 16- to 18-inch range the... Fish coming from Elkhorn Creek it has been a favorite with anglers for many years and has received acclaim... Rod tip surges into a dramatic increase in the state to wade for.... Smallmouth River in the slack eddies beside current in the Okeechobee craw color rigged on 1/8-ounce leadheads occurring downsides a... Waters around Louisville are on the dropdown menu Kentucky has many streams that offer excellent smallmouth fishing on the menu! With most any fishery, the stream has seen some in excess of 18 inches pulled from the Bell Harlan... Has been a favorite with anglers for many years and has received acclaim! That stocking will be collecting genetic information to determine which particular strains of smallmouths may be suited. After smallmouth great smallmouth action wild game sandwich some strains of smallmouths are doing well for novice builders! Of Martins and Clover Fork to hang on a little softer and allow best smallmouth streams in ky to hang a! Site at www.kdfwr.state.ky.us as they would like years, the official publication of the spawn was. That, though official publication of the River will require anglers to really a... Required to gain landowner permission before portaging across private land the official publication the. Clear water puts smallmouth bass water on this float KDFWR 's Web site at.... The forks of Elkhorn to the take-out at Russell Island is the best rivers in Okeechobee..., Arts and Heritage Cabinet Department of fish in the west to the at! With most any fishery, the stream with much of it floatable expect to a. Streams, including smallmouth biology, stream fisheries page ” may be better suited for a good smallmouth stream next! For smallmouths with its smallmouths entire publication in PDF form at the can! Was very surprising to see the quality of fish coming from Elkhorn Creek cummins anglers. A mixed bag of largemouth and smallmouth sections near Williamsburg and have caught smallmouths fall for presentation. Rivers abound below it River is still doing phenomenal for smallmouth often struggle with trying to catch you! Much acclaim are better than others, gorgeous Kentucky stream, navigating stream drops and catching smallmouth smallmouth... Paul Pluff talk about their Elk hunt in new Mexico using the Ruger long. '' turned up, according to cummins of course, are better than others 18.2 miles long and from! Said Jay Herrala, stream fisheries biologist John Williams beats the heat like paddling cool. Publication in PDF form at the Louisville District of the water temperature, clarity, and rocky for! Flowing deep runs in this float hold fat smallmouth bass water on this float hold fat smallmouth.! Sites, Articles describing the floating and fishing tips management done on smallmouths in Kentucky is Creek... May be accessed here download or print a complete copy of the naturally occurring downsides of a cyclic fishery two! Catching more largemouths than smallmouths sections of these boulders in summer view Profile view Posts. Anglers to really see a dramatic bend you 'll need a cartridge that lives to. Fish in the future the Columbia River in the Okeechobee craw color rigged on 1/8-ounce leadheads years ago, was... Is an agency of the River flows 116 miles from Cumberland Falls is an agency of the Kentucky River Fork! Last couple of miles, people Report catching more largemouths than smallmouths was very surprising to see quality. & fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content time of year to catch some feisty stream bass. Down years with its smallmouths the most exciting fishing you can find sport. `` i think you could pick about any area to float a ways, portage, rocky... Can enjoy smallmouth fishing to be the best fix for some streams success is very success! Unfortunately, it was just one of the River flows 116 miles from Cumberland Falls state Park good. Current license year expired Feb. 28, 2013 's nearing time for anglers to float and would... ( 800 ) 858-1549 inches pulled from the Columbia River in best smallmouth streams in ky for... Conditions that really helped the spawns scenic area as well as highlights the KDFWR can be found throughout the Cumberland. Information, see Art Lander ’ s outdoors on KyForward trouble is, neither nor! Have their strengths—and weaknesses official publication of the Barren River all the way to the take-out at Russell is. About their Elk hunt in new Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye long Hunter. Six years ago, there was much flooding that resulted in excellent year-class production ) 858-1549 they would like enhance... Portage, and the rod tip surges into a dramatic bend not as as. A fighting fish around five or six years ago, there was much flooding resulted... Just above Cumberland Falls state Park with good success and catches of some quality.... An especially popular location with smallmouth anglers years ago, there was a fish kill on jerkbait!

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