Kentucky Lake has some of the nation’s best sport fishing opportunities for crappie, bass, sauger, catfish, and bluegill. Although there are traditional fishing periods, the season begins as early as the fisherman wants and lasts until he chooses to quit!
Widely distributed throughout the lakes, this top sport fish is frequently caught in excess of 5 pounds. The biggest fish of the year are taken in the early spring as spawn begins when the fish are sticking close to the shorelines. The greatest quantities of bass are commonly taken during April and May. In summer, as the water temperature rises, fish concentrate on the dropoffs and creek channels during mid-day hours. Some action can still be found in the shallows at early morning and late evening. The fall months bring a return of spring patterns. They can also be found chasing the abundant schools of bait fish that are normally found on the main lake near the points. Largemouth will move back to dropoffs during the winter, but a few mild days may entice them into the shallows for feeding.
Considered to be the best battler when hooked, this species is found in large concentrations on both lakes. These spring spawners closely follow the patterns of largemouths during both the spring and summer months, with the largest numbers being caught in April and May. Fall and winter will find them much more reluctant to move into the shallows, preferring the deep rocky banks.
Kentucky Bass / Spotted Bass
Abundant populations of this fighter are found along both main lakes and major tributaries. While following many of the spring and summer patterns of the largemouth, they can also be found schooling near points where bait fish are present. Mid-fall will find these bass moving back to shallow water, especially near wood structures. Like the largemouth, they will hang near the dropoffs during the winter months.
White & Black Crappie
The average size of this species is large due to the minimum size limitations and immense forage base found in both lakes. Early spring will find them along shallow dropoffs and near shore where cover is available. As the water temperature s rise, the crappie move into the shallows to spawn. March, April and May yield the biggest catches and offer the heaviest activity, with the spawn generally occurring near the middle of April. As summer approaches they will seek the cooler areas around droppoffs, but will reappear in the fall months around structures and shorelines with cover. The colder months will make them a little sluggish, but nice catches are still very possible on creek channels near the mouth of bays, especially after 2-3 days of moderate weather.
Located all over the lakes, bluegill spawn in late spring and concentrate in timber and brush during April and May. During summer, and even late fall, they can be found near practically every dock and tree, with the bigger of the species being caught deeper. They will often keep these patterns until as late as December, but will grow sluggish in January and February.
Tremendous schools of these fish make annual runs to upper reaches of the main tributaries each spring. During the summer months, large schools will chase shad and minnows on the surface of the main lake, providing some of the best action to be found. Trolling with deep divers or spoons along the edges of the main river channel will also produce large catches. During the fall months they will be more difficult to locate but are still in large schools and will occasionally show some surface activity. White bass tend to frequent deep flats in late fall, but will move to the deeper main lake points during winter months.
Striped Bass / Rock Fish
This species concentrate below the dams in the swift tailwaters. Live bait (herring or shad, caught below the dams), jigs and rapala type lures will produce best results in the spring. Summer patterns are very similar, but also try trolling with a very deep diving lure as well. Rockfish are more active in the fall. Switch to a larger bait, 6 to 10 inches, and watch for surfacing fish. During the winter months, the activity will slow as the water temperature falls. Use smaller baits at this time of year.
One of the more popular of the lakes area fish, this species is located in coves, creeks and main lake pockets. They are late spring spawners and will move to the shallow mud banks in April then to rocky shoreline to spawn during May and June. During the summer months, fishing is best on the main river channels, especially near sharp bends. Feeding activity of the catfish falls with the cooling of the water temperatures. This species will remain dormant until the early spring.