Good Fish Populations in Kentucky River


Kentucky anglers who like sauger, white bass or muskellunge need to plan a trip to the Kentucky River in the next couple of weeks. Population sampling on the Kentucky River conducted by fishery biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources over the past several weeks show healthy populations of white bass, sauger and muskellunge.

"We consistently saw 12- to 15-inch sauger," said Ohio River Fisheries Biologist Doug Henley, who assisted with the population sampling on the Kentucky River. "We also saw lots of 8- to 10-inch sauger. Those 12- to 15-inch fish are good eating size."

Nice sauger now live up and down the Kentucky River. A sampling team led by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Central Fisheries District Biologist Jeff Crosby found 18-inch sauger at Lock and Dam 5 near Tyrone. Henley saw a 16 1/2-inch sauger in the upper Kentucky River.

The water level of the Kentucky River dropped enough recently to make the tailwater below Lock and Dam 2 at Lockport in Henry County fishable. "Now that the water in the Ohio River has dropped enough to bring Lock and Dam 2 out of the water, it should provide productive sauger fishing," Henley said. "It is historically a good sauger area. You get some fish from the Ohio River there."

The Kentucky River is now loaded with white bass, albeit most of them run 6 to 8 inches. "We've seen white bass up to 15 inches and decent numbers of 11 to 13 inchers," Henley said. "You are going to need to plow through the little ones to get to the bigger ones."

Henley and crew didn't see many white bass in their population sampling on the Kentucky River last year. "The ones in the river last year must have spawned well. That is the way white bass do," Henley said. "They pulse in their reproduction."

The Kentucky River may be the most overlooked muskellunge fishery in the state.

"In early spring, we typically see muskellunge below the locks and dams on the Kentucky River," Henley said. "This year most everything we saw was over 30 inches and we've seen several over 40 inches."

The mouths of tributaries near locks and dams on the Kentucky River could lead to a muskellunge fishing field day. "We saw a truckload of them in Cedar Creek below Lock and Dam 3," Henley said.

He explained that many suckers and buffalo (fish), the preferred food item of muskellunge, migrated into Cedar Creek and the muskellunge followed.

"There are some untapped newly developed fisheries in the Kentucky River," said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "The sauger and white bass fisheries are the result of a five year stocking effort by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Anglers should get on the Kentucky River this spring and enjoy them."

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