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KY AFIELD: Dale Hollow for largemouth bass

Columbia, KY is in the very center of four great fishing lakes: Green River, Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow, and Barren River. Nearby Dale Hollow Lake has added fame, in this report, for an abundance of largemouth bass, in addition to its undisputed reputation for great smallmouth bass, including world record catch

From KY Department of Fish & Wildlife,Commonwealth News Center

Frankfort, KY - Late January days last just a little longer than a month ago and offer anglers a ray of hope that fishing season lies right around the corner.

Anglers during this time of year daydream about catching fish on warm spring days. They think ahead of new waters to fish in the coming year.


Biologists and technicians for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' fisheries division compile the annual Fishing Forecast to fuel anglers' daydreams. The forecast provides current information about popular species in particular bodies of water based on population sampling and creel surveys. They spotlighted some up-and-coming fisheries for anglers to consider in 2009.

"Each fishery district looks at the data they compiled from spring and fall sampling in 2008 and predicts what they think the fishing will be for that species in that waterbody in 2009," said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Dale Hollow Lake: Long known for smallmouth bass, has new star

Most people associate Dale Hollow Lake with giant smallmouth bass as it is the home of the all-tackle world record and produces gobs of hefty smallmouths each year. However, largemouth bass populations are improving with good numbers of 14 -17 inch fish. Try fishing the willow trees and shoreline cover in the Wolf River embayment this spring. A willow leaf spinnerbait is a great choice to throw amongst the willows and helicopter down to waiting bass.

Kentucky River for largemouth bass, crappie

One of the most under-utilized fishing waters in the Commonwealth is our namesake river, the Kentucky River. Improving largemouth bass and crappie populations in the river should bring better fishing in 2009. For bass, target creek mouths, fallen trees or stumps, bank slides and in current breaks below dams with soft plastic jerkbaits and jigs.

Fallen trees and other wood cover hold crappie. Crappie don't like much flow and hold in backwater areas and behind current breaks. Good numbers of crappie longer than 10 inches live in the Kentucky River. A white or chartreuse curly-tailed or boot-shaped grub rigged weedless makes a good lure to probe in fallen trees or washed-in tree branches for crappie.

Mill Creek Lake at Natural Bridge for largemouth bass

Mill Creek Lake in the Natural Bridge State Park now has some chunky, healthy largemouth bass swimming in its waters. The numbers of largemouth bass 15 inches or longer increased in the lake from previous years. Try probing flooded timber in the upper lake in spring with light line and smaller lures. Mill Creek Lake is a clear, mountainous lake and 6 or 8-pound test line combined with diminutive lures such as a 3-inch grub or 4-inch finesse worm or creature bait makes the best presentation for these fish.

And, try Yatesville Lake for good fishing

The largemouth bass in Yatesville Lake reproduced well for each of the last three years, providing a foundation for good fishing in the coming years. Plenty of bass 15 inches and longer live in Yatesville Lake, and a 4-inch Shaky worm fished Shaky style on points in the Upper Twin Branch, Little Blaine Creek and Greenbrier Creek arms produces bass. Suspending jerkbaits fished near fallen trees or other cover also works.

Redear sunfish, or shellcrackers, abundant at Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake in Anderson County is on the upswing for redear sunfish, commonly called shellcrackers as well as bluegill and largemouth bass. Weeds infuse Beaver Lake and make bass fishing difficult, but a suspending or soft plastic jerkbait fished just above the weeds should produce. The lake holds many bass around 12 inches with good potential for a trophy bass over 20 inches. Most of the large bass live in the lower portions of the lake.

Beaver Lake has many bluegill from 7 - 9 inches with trophy bluegill 10 inches and longer. Fish weedlines and brush with small curly-tailed grubs or feather jigs tipped with meal or wax worms. Many fat redear sunfish swim in Beaver Lake and a yellow curly-tailed grub fished in vegetation draws strikes. In spring, use a heavier than usual weight on your grubs to puncture the thick weedmats to get to the redear sunfish underneath.

Elmer Davis Lake in Owen good for largemouth, bluegill, shellcrackers

The weeds grew back at Elmer Davis Lake in Owen County and the largemouth bass responded well. Stable numbers of largemouth bass over 15 inches long exist in the lake, with many bass in the 12 -15 inch protective slot limit. Many bluegill longer than 9 inches and redear sunfish longer than 10 inches now live in Elmer Davis. Try fishing around beaver lodges for bluegill and around weedbeds in the upper lake for redear sunfish.

These spots should get your line tightened and your drag screaming this spring. Request a copy of the 2009 Fishing Forecast by calling 1-800-858-1549. It will also be available soon on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife homepage on the Internet at fw.ky.gov.


This story was posted on 2009-01-24 06:12:16
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