Fishing in Kentucky

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Kentucky isn?t historically known for its trout streams, but thanks to prolific stocking efforts by state and federal agencies, anglers can head to over 100 locations and cast a fly to hungry rainbows, browns, and brookies while taking in the beautiful Appalachian scenery. But fly fishing in Kentucky isn?t limited to trout; several lakes and reservoirs throughout the state give anglers access to bass, walleye, striped bass, huge musky, and more.

Some of the Bluegrass State?s best trout fishing happens on the Cumberland River, a tailwater that flows cold year-round below Cumberland Lake and supports trophy-class rainbow and brown trout for nearly 75 miles. The Cumberland is best fished from a boat since much of the land surrounding the river is privately owned and access is limited. For beginning anglers, one of the most unique trout streams in the country runs into the Cumberland: Hatchery Creek, a man-made trout stream freshly stocked with rainbow trout every month. For more of a wilderness fishing experience, anglers should head to the Daniel Boone National Forest where dozens of creeks and rivers carve their way through the Appalachians. Some of the best brown trout fishing in Daniel Boone can be found in Bark Camp Creek and the East Fork of the Indian River. Trammel Fork is where you?ll find large numbers of rainbows, and in Parched Corn Creek and the Dog Fork, some the state?s only brook trout swim in the swift currents and pocket waters.

For anglers in search of larger, more powerful fish, Lake Cumberland is grounds for some of the best striper fishing in the state, with fish reaching into the 50-pound range. Cave Run Lake in the north end of the Daniel Boone National Forest is the place to go to hook into massive musky, with opportunities to catch largemouth bass, walleye, and many other species. Most of the waters in Kentucky are open year-round for fishing, but some have delayed harvest or catch and release only periods, so be sure to check with local regulations before heading out.


KY Department of Fish & Wildlife
#1 Sportsman's Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601
P: 800-858-1549

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Kentucky Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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The Scout & Cast Story

Posted on February 10, 2015

My whole life has been filled with various trips to the lakes & rivers in search of fish. As a kid growing up in “Lake Country” Minnesota, it was practically a sin not to be a fisherman. I would...

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Guides based in Kentucky

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Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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