Your Best Spring Fishing in Kentucky

Your Best Spring Fishing in Kentucky
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

Whether you're planning on hitting the slabs or spring fishing in Kentucky for largemouth bass, these are the top places you definitely won't want to miss.



Herrington Lake

The old-timers tell you, but so do fisheries biologists familiar with Herrington Lake:  don't wait for May and June to hook up with the quality largemouth bass on this reservoir.  Early spring is prime time.

Whether you choose to hit the backs of creeks with cover with a jig-and-pig combination, or work along the sloping sunny banks with a big crankbait, the bass on Herrington seem to become eager to feed starting in March.  Maybe it's because there is a lot of rocky habitat that helps the water warm a little sooner.  Maybe having several feeder creeks that push a lot of water and food sources into the lake when early season rains begin is a factor. Or maybe the bass are just hungry after a long, slow winter spell.

All are possiblities, but the result is the same. Lots of high quality largemouth get caught at this lake at the very onset of what most consider to be the time when bass start finally getting back in gear.

Alternatives: Additional "march madness" fishing this month includes working timbered coves in Cave Run Lake for muskellunge moving to the shallows, and striped bass starting to wake things up on the surface of Lake Cumberland.



Lake Barkley

Though the black crappie come to the banks starting in late March, you can still catch them, as well as white crappie, this month up on the shore.  Fewer spots are better for superb quality and quantity than Lake Barkley.

Crappie have rebounded over the past two years, and good catches of 12-inch-plus fish are once again common on this reservoir.

There's no secret to having success on these fish this time of year.  You simply get a jig or a minnow into the flooded bank brush, or fish over cover in the creeks to catch fish.  When the water temperature gets into the low 60s, crappie move up and start feeding hard and they hang around anything below the surface from about 1 foot to 10 feet deep, depending on the water conditions.

Alternatives: Alternate choices for April could be 20 different possibilities.  However, two of the very best are giving Nolin River Lake walleye a go, or probing shallow cover on Cedar Creek Lake for trophy largemouths.


Redear sunfish

Pan Bowl Lake

Is Pan Bowl Lake in Breathitt County a new one on you?  If so, May is a time to familiarize yourself with this 98-acre state-owned lake and break out the panfish equipment for redear sunfish.  Biologists say the population is in excellent shape.

Redear, or shellcrackers as they are commonly called, go into nesting mode in May in slightly deeper water around stickup and other brushy cover along the bank.  Since these fish feed more on natural foods such as snails and aquatic bugs and insects, they tend to stay in deeper water than bluegill. In addition to normal panfish fare, they can also be caught on artificial baits such as small jigs.  Expect good quality fish in the eight-inch range to give you a good fight.

Alternatives: Our second recommendation for a trip in May is trolling or casting for big brown trout in the Lake Cumberland tailwaters.  And a third good choice for scoring big this month is fishing for chunky channel catfish in Lake Beshear in western Kentucky.  Biologists say this is an underutilized fishery and could easily support greater fishing pressure based on what's available.

Don't forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

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