March 05, 2022
- This "Spring Fishing Frenzy" article from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is part of a series detailing spring-fishing techniques pertinent to Kentucky and elsewhere. Lee McClellan is Associate Editor for Kentucky Afield Magazine.
The incredibly popular Parklands of Floyds Fork in Jefferson County began with some small land acquisitions of a former sod farm along the creek and quickly grew into a 4,000-acre park with incredible infrastructure for paddling and fishing.
A dramatic increase in trout stocking in Floyds Fork recently commenced that will make the stream the premier trout fishing opportunity in the Louisville area.
“At the Parklands, we will increase trout stockings from 3,600 fish annually to 12,000," said Jeff Crosby, Central Fisheries District biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We are stretching out the stockings from three to six months: February, March, April, October, November and December."
Stocking crews from the Fisheries Division placed 2,000 trout in Floyd's Fork on Feb. 11.
“We are also going to increase the stocking sites from two to five," Crosby said, “with each site getting 400 trout per stocking." Plans call for another stocking of 2,000 trout March 2.
The stocking sites are just upstream of the I-64 Bridge, the Sara and Lyon Brown Bridge on the southern edge of Beckley Creek Park, at the mouth of Pope Lick Creek, at Cane Run Paddling Access and at Seaton Valley Bridge, just upstream of Seaton Valley Paddling Access.
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“This is going to be a great opportunity to catch a trout," Crosby said. “There are 20 miles of fishing water on Floyds Fork between these stocking sites."
The Cane Run Access recently had improvements to facilitate stocking trout. Work crews from Parklands of Floyds Fork spread out a donation by the Derby City Fly Fishers club of a tri-axle truckload of gravel to help keep the stocking truck on solid ground at this access. Workers also installed a 30-foot tube for stocking trout. Cane Run Access is closed to the public during the winter months.
Trout fishing at the Parklands of Floyds Fork is stress-free as you can wade or float fish to your heart's content using designated access points and landings marked along the creek.
However, Floyds Fork is one of 14 streams across Kentucky under catch and release regulations during the cold months. From Oct. 1 through March 31, anglers fishing in these streams must immediately release any trout caught and may only use artificial baits. Organic baits such as Power Bait and corn are not legal during this time.
The paddling infrastructure at The Parklands of Floyds Fork provides ample float fishing opportunities for trout. Anglers may put in at North Beckley Paddling Access and float two miles downstream to Creekside Paddling Access. This would be an excellent half-day float for those who want to get out of the boat occasionally and wade fish. The northernmost trout stocking site is a little past the half-way point of this float, providing ample fish to catch.
For those who want a whole day of trout fishing, the 4 ½-miles of water from Creekside Paddling Access to Fisherville Paddling Access make a great choice. You float past the trout stocking site at the Sara and Lyon Brown Bridge and take out just upstream of the trout stocking site at the mouth of Pope Lick Creek.
Another paddle of about this length begins at Fisherville Paddling Access and concludes at Cane Run Paddling Access (when open). This float brings you past the stocking site at the mouth of Pope Lick Creek and ends at the stocking site at Cane Run Paddling Access.
A final float of three miles from Cane Run Paddling Access to Seaton Valley Access starts at a trout stocking site and ends just downstream of the trout stocking site at Seaton Valley Paddling Access. This float is a gem with exceptional scenery and anglers fishing for trout may well tempt a feisty smallmouth bass to strike. A smallmouth bass gives a spirited tussle on a 4-weight fly rod or ultralight spinning gear.
After April 1 on Floyds Fork, the catch and release trout regulations no longer apply and make an excellent opportunity to catch trout to eat. Anglers keeping any trout in Kentucky must possess a valid Kentucky trout permit.
By April, many of the trout in Floyds Fork survived winter on natural foods. Fly anglers who enjoy wading and presenting flies to trout will find willing fish. The sections of Floyds Fork near Creekside Paddling Access, Cane Run Paddling Access and Seaton Valley Paddling Access make excellent entry points for wade fishing, the most ancient and purest form of fishing. Wading a stream on a gorgeous spring day brings an intimacy with the fish and the surroundings you just don't get with other ways of fishing. Wade fishing is good exercise to boot.
Most of the trout in Floyds Fork run from 8 to 12 inches long, so anything heavier than a 4-weight rod is a bit of overkill. A size 12 or 14 gold, red or silver Copper John nymph drifted under a strike indicator produces strikes as does a tri-colored egg pattern fished the same way.
Depending on water conditions and weather patterns, a caddis and midge hatch can occur in March, leading to exciting dry fly fishing. Blue winged olive and pale morning dun dry fly patterns in sizes 16 to 20 may produce fast and furious fishing.
Anglers using spinning gear should use no heavier than 4-pound test fluorocarbon line for stealth. It is hard to beat a 1/8-ounce in-line spinner in black, silver, chartreuse body with a silver blade or a red body with a gold blade. Cast these lures upstream at a 45-degree angle and retrieve back in a steady rhythm. In-line spinners work best in areas with depth and some flow.
Spinning anglers also score trout on a 1/64-ounce Trout Magnet, a short piece of ribbed soft plastic with a slit cut in it. Drift fish these lures under a small bobber or a foam strike indicator in deeper holes. Trout Magnets really shine in the colder water of late winter and early spring. The best colors are chartreuse, pink, yellow and white.
Brown, black or olive 1/32-ounce marabou jigs fished the same way as the Trout Magnet is an old school lure that produced a former world record brown trout. Anglers can fish marabou jigs and Trout Magnets on fly gear as well as spinning equipment.
The dough ball or paste trout baits in chartreuse or plain old redworms both draw strikes from trout when fished on the bottom with a size 8 baitholder hook. Use enough weight the keep these baits in place.
This spring will be an especially productive time to trout fish Floyds Fork Creek. The current license year expires Feb. 28, so remember to purchase a fishing license if you plan to fish after March 1. Licenses and permits can be purchased online via fw.ky.gov and in person at various locations throughout the state.