Commonwealth's 2007 Fishing Calendar

Commonwealth's 2007 Fishing Calendar

Here are 36 top waters throughout our state to fish for trout, crappie, bass and more this season. One or more of these picks will surely be near you! (February 2007)

It's good to be blessed -- to live in a state where fishing is an activity to be considered all year long because every single month, something is catchable somewhere.

Several species are often active in different waters season to season, and anytime the urge to go fishing strikes, you can usually find success within a reasonable distance of home.

The idea behind this article is to give you some insight into the better types of fishing to try, plus some potentially good locations, so you can improve your chances of scoring come spring, summer, fall or winter.

Are you interested in knowing whether your favorite lake is recommended for fishing at a certain time of year? Or would you like to try someplace different when things slow down on your "home" lake? This calendar will provide you with many choices to consider, month after month.

JANUARY

TROUT

Greenbo Lake

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department (KDFWR) stocks a whole lot of rainbow trout into several of the state's smaller lakes -- providing immediate and sustained opportunities for fishing beyond the stocking period. Greenbo is an excellent choice for trolling or casting banks for rainbows during colder weather.

Trout aren't affected by cold water temperatures the way largemouth are, for example. You can still catch them, sometimes surprisingly shallow and even consistently when conditions are favorable.

Often the biggest question is whether the angler is suitably prepared, opposed to whether the fish are active. Always plan for it to be colder than you think it will be on any winter fishing excursion.

During the winter season, rainbows will sometimes disperse and can be found off the bank. An effective way to catch these fish is to troll open water. Trout may also be associated with the contours of the shoreline, where live bait or canned corn is a proven choice, when drifted under a float on light line.

Go when overcast conditions prevail for better chances of trout being shallow. Greenbo is stocked twice a year in January and October, with 15,000 fish total. If you fish toward the end of the month, most likely the January stocking will have already occurred. That's when you'll have a lot more hungry fish available than before the release.

FEBRUARY

WALLEYES

Laurel River Lake

State fish and wildlife department biologists are reporting the best reproduction of walleyes -- and thus, the best fishing for walleyes -- in Laurel River Lake in many years.

Fish up to 5 pounds are being caught with regularity, and February is a good time to start connecting with this coldwater species.

Walleyes spawn earlier than most species in Kentucky waters, and begin to make that move in the latter part of this month. Kentucky has also experienced mild winters recently, which is a plus in spurring the spawning action to begin earlier.

Good fishing should continue into March, as walleyes move toward the head of the lake and into the river, as well as tributary streams that also feed the lake.

Look for humps and irregular bottom features, or woody cover. Trolling the river corridor, or jigging along the channel with a flashy bait tipped with a night crawler or minnow, is a good method.

Nighttime fishing seems to out-produce daytime efforts. After dark, walleyes will move up on sandbars and gravel humps to spawn, often in large numbers, and then retreat to the deeper pools during the day.

The daily creel limit on walleyes is six fish, with a minimum size limit of 15 inches.

MARCH

HYBRID STRIPERS

Taylorsville Lake

Hybrid stripers should be rolling up the headwaters of Taylorsville Lake into the Salt River this month in their mock spawning run. The fish don't spawn, but they act like they do. This movement concentrates a whole lot of nice fish into a relatively small area within the confines of the river. These are hungry fish.

In March, there's hardly any other boat traffic to contend with. You can move around pretty easily to locate schools of hybrids. Most anglers will get in the Van Buren Ramp area, start there and work their way upstream. Sometime during the month, the fish will arrive and when they are there, it doesn't take you long to realize it.

Spawning-run hybrid fishing is generally an action-packed adventure. The fish aren't very deep and can be taken by a variety of methods. Sometimes they will be breaking the water's surface.

If you locate baitfish, often hybrids will be nearby, especially on cloudy days. An influx of warm water from an early spring rain can also trigger them into a feeding frenzy.

And finally, remember that hybrids are strong fighters, so despite the equipment you use, be sure you have stout line and hang on firmly to your outfit.

APRIL

CRAPPIE

Kentucky Lake

Crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake continues to be phenomenal. The average crappie is still more than 10 inches long, and in April, no one knows how many fish are caught and find their way into a frying pan from this monster lake.

Watch for water temperatures to hit the high 50s and low 60s, and things will be happening. Redbuds should be in bloom and are a good sign to watch for to tell you when to go.

There are numerous marinas and resorts for those who want an extended trip around the lake. Most of the major tributaries will hold lots of fish along shoreline cover, but the Blood River embayment has long been held as one of the best.

If a cold snap comes, move out off the bank to fish the dropoffs. Wait a few days, and crappie will be back in shallow water.

It's best to go early in the month to try to get in on the first heavy wave of fish moving into brushpiles, stakebeds and other cover in 2 to 6 feet of water. Approach cover as quietly as possible, because fish will become increasingly spooky from angler activity and clearer water conditions.

MAY

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Cedar Creek Lake

Coming on like gangbusters, Cedar Creek Lake is on the lips of every bass angler in the central Kentucky region. It's moving ever closer to becoming a true trophy-bass water in the Bluegrass State.

Bass fishing isn't the only good type of angling this new reservoir offers, but May is shine-time for Cedar on big bass prior to the spawn. Healthy, heavy fish should be ready to gear up for the spring early in the month, and be in a mode of frequent feeding just prior to their mid-May nesting season. Fish will also be very active coming off the bed.

Often the biggest question is whether the angler is suitably prepared, opposed to whether the fish are active. Always plan for it to be colder than you think it will be on any winter fishing excursion.

There is abundant cover along the shoreline that bass will use. Feeder creeks should be exceptional for hooking up with lots of quality-sized fish. Watch for periods of sustained warmer temperatures, and fish tight on cover for larger bass. If the water is up, bass will be in the standing timber. Find the trees and find the bass.

The per-day creel limit on Cedar Creek is one fish 20 inches or better, but as this population gets older, it is becoming more common to boat more than one largemouth in that size category.

If you want to get in a little bass action while you're waiting for the turkey season to open, this is the place to be!

JUNE

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Elkhorn Creek

Stream-wading for smallmouths in Elkhorn Creek has become a goal for bronzeback seekers statewide. This waterway, especially the portion located in Franklin County, has been managed specifically for larger smallmouths, and has proven to be one of the few stream environments in Kentucky capable of sustaining a better-than-average smallmouth fishery for big fish.

As the flow is settling down from spring rains, wading or floating anglers can work either spinning rigs or fly rods for feisty smallies. Water temperatures will still be cool, and smallmouth will be looking for the abundant aquatic and terrestrial insect hatches that begin at the onset of summer.

There are high numbers of 16-inch-plus fish in that portion of the creek that's under the 12- to 16-inch slot limit, according to biologists with the KDFWR.

JULY

CHANNEL CATFISH

Barkley Lake

Find rocky banks and flats along the main river channel, and you'll have the location of numerous channel catfish in Barkley Lake all summer long. Channel cats are consistently caught from late May through September, and when things slow down on other species in July, this is an excellent species to consider.

There are all sizes of channel catfish in Barkley, but most common are fish in the 2- to 5-pound class. If you want a change of scenery during the summer, try the Barkley tailwater as well. Fish are equally numerous below the dam.

Channel cats are active both day and night. The biggest difference is that daytime fishing is usually best in a little deeper water. Catfish will move in closer to the bank after dark. Cover such as fallen trees, logs and rocks hold fish, as do channel cuts or twists and turns along creek channels in 12 to 20 feet of water.

You may also want to drop something smelly along riprapped areas, or along the mouths of creeks, just off the bottom.

AUGUST

BLUEGILLS

Herrington Lake

Another warm-weather favorite are bluegills, which will continue to hit right on through August. An excellent place for high-quality fish is Herrington Lake, which is a fertile waterway that stimulates good growth rates for all the species of fish it contains.

Herrington has a lot of rocky banks, some very steep, with many ledges and outcroppings beneath the surface. You can also find submerged cover in the creeks where bluegills will be lounging down to about 10 feet deep. Also try around docks, debris piles and brushpiles for good success.

The biggest difference between spring bluegill bed fishing and summer angling is that bluegills will move out from the bank. They are found in deeper water during the day. They still orient to almost any kind of cover, but you have to fish a little farther down to connect consistently.

In August, fishing on overcast days is more productive and easier on the angler as well. But if you've run through your spring filet stock and need more for a midsummer fish fry, Herrington can certainly be the ticket for this mild-tasting fish. It's also a great opportunity to take your kids fishing once more before school cranks back up.

SEPTEMBER

MUSKIES

Cave Run Lake

They're big, scary and tremendous fun to hook up with. Muskie fishing is an exciting opportunity for anglers who like tangling with bigger fish, and don't mind making lots of casts with big baits to score. Cave Run Lake is Kentucky's top muskie waterway and has the potential to produce trophy-sized fish at any time.

When waters start cooling a little, muskie action picks up. Perhaps the easiest way to remember where to look for these fish in Cave Run is that muskie often overlap habitat with largemouth bass. You'll find them in timbered coves, around cover and along creek channel dropoffs.

To boat a muskie, you need equipment that can handle heavy fish, plus line that can withstand big teeth and thrashing at the boat. Muskies often follow the lure a long way before they decide to hit, so don't give up on a retrieve too soon. They can catch you off guard if you're not paying attention.

Muskies can also be caught by trolling, which allows you to cover a lot of water and find fish faster sometimes. Try early morning and late afternoon for best success.

OCTOBER

STRIPED BASS

Lake Cumberland

The full moon phase in October isn't just for kids thinking about Halloween. It is one time of the year striped bass fishermen are thinking about the start of the fall. That's when big fish start hitting on Lake Cumberland.

Some anglers believe that full moon periods in fall and winter conjure up bigger stripers from the depths, thus it's the best time to catch a wallhanger.

Cumberland is Kentucky's premier striped bass lake fishery, and offers some excellent night-fishing for hard-running rockfish when the fall cool-down is in swing.

Nighttime fishing seems to out-produce daytime ef

forts. After dark, walleyes will move up on sandbars and gravel humps to spawn, often in large numbers, and then retreat to the deeper pools during the day.

Stripers can be caught during the day by drifting alewives or shad, or by casting artificials at night. As the fall season progresses, some anglers turn more to topwater lures just so they can experience the excitement and sound of a vicious surface strike. That will send chills up your spine as good as any Halloween scare!

NOVEMBER

TROUT

Cumberland Tailwaters

In November, big brown trout will be active below the dam at Lake Cumberland, and can be caught immediately in the tailwaters all the way down to Burkesville. This waterway is considered one of the best trout fishing streams in the southeastern U.S.

Special regulations have been applied to maintain this superb fishery, which also offers excellent rainbow fishing. Browns from 5 to 7 pounds are not unusual, and they have abundant habitat.

Access to the Cumberland River is available near the dam, or at Burkesville. Anglers may choose to start upstream and work down, or start downstream, motor up and work back.

Browns like deeper pools and shoreline cover, so notice those spots as you drift along. Keep an eye out for curves and bends in the river channel.

Creel limits for browns include no more than one fish daily over 20 inches, which applies to the river and all tributaries down to the Tennessee state line. Whether trout fishing or not, anglers have to possess a trout permit when on this part of the river.

DECEMBER

SAUGERS

Ohio River

Hitting the Ohio River for saugers as winter approaches offers some great opportunities for hardy fishermen. The Ohio River and the saugers it holds are one of our state's most overlooked fishing opportunities.

Saugers begin to stack up below the dams in larger numbers as part of their upstream movement for an early spring spawn. Dams on the central and eastern portions of the river seem to produce best, and the fishery is available into February.

Saugers aren't often thought about, even though fishing for them is not a complicated thing. Once located, they can be caught in big numbers under the right conditions.

As always, anytime you're on a big river system in winter, take special care in operating your boat safely and follow all cold- weather guidelines for being around water.

For best success, fish near the bottom with minnows and jigs, or a combination, in bright colors on light line. Expect to lose a few lures in the rocky bottom, and concentrate on spots just out of the current where saugers wait for food to flow to them for an easy meal. Cloudy days improve the bite, since like their walleye cousins, saugers will avoid too much light.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

The 2007 Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide, which is available from the KDFWR and anywhere licenses are sold, has most of the information anglers will need. You can obtain other information by calling 1-800-858-1549, or at the KDFWR Web site at www.kdfwr.state.ky.us.

Many lakes also have on-location offices, marinas or areas managers that can be of great help with up-to-the-minute fishing regulations and conditions.

Find more about Kentucky fishing and hunting at: KentuckyGameandFish.com

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