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KY Afield Outdoors: Sauger fishing best as temperatures plunge

CM 7-County residents in Adair, Casey, Cumberland, Green, Metcalfe, Russell & Taylor Counties of South Central Kentucky are in the middle of sauger fishing paradise, with increasing numbmers of the tasty fish in waters downstream of Green River, Lake Cumberland, and Barren River dams. - CM. Click on headline for story with photo(s). (Reader comments, photos for Epicurean Kentuckian sauger dishes welcome)
This is the ninth and final installment of a series of articles titled "Fall Fishing Festival" profiling the productive fishing on Kentucky's lakes, rivers and streams in fall.

By Lee McClellan, Associate Editor
Kentucky Afield Outdoors, a KY Fish & Wildlife magazine

FRANKFORT, KY - Sauger hover just above bottom right now downstream of dams, waiting for a stunned shad to tumble into their orbit. Their numbers will grow in proportion to the downward slide of the thermometer.

The peak concentration of sauger below dams coincides with the coldest weather of the year. Sauger readily bite in water temperatures below 40 degrees, the most reliable winter fish of all.

With many Kentuckians getting some days off during the holiday season, sauger provide a cast-starved angler a chance to get away from the bustle surrounding the holidays and put some fish in hand. "I think we are still a little early, the water is still a little warm for this time of year for sauger," said Ryan Oster, federal aid coordinator for the fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Oster usually starts his sauger fishing on the opening weekend of modern gun deer season as fish begin congregating below dams on the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. They also arrive in large numbers in the tailwater areas below Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Lake Cumberland at roughly the same time.

"December is the start of the really good sauger fishing with the peak coming in February," he said. "The fishing lasts until late March when they spawn and disperse downstream."

Oster recently caught sauger up to 18 inches long on a mid-November trip below a lock and dam on the Kentucky River in central Kentucky. "I caught them vertically jigging a blade bait," he said. "It was an overcast day, so I used a gold blade bait. On clear days, I like silver and blue blade baits. They mimic the shad and shiners sauger eat."

Sauger also strike 3- to 4-inch pearl, orange and black, chartreuse, orange and lime green curly-tailed grubs rigged on leadheads ranging from

This story was posted on 2013-12-06 06:04:23
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Anglers have can now catch tasty sauger below locks, Dams

2013-12-06 - Below Dam 6, KY River - Photo by Lee McClellan, KY Afield Outdoors. Ryan Oster right and his father Joe, hold two sauger measuring about 18 inches caught from below Lock and Dam 6 on the Kentucky River in central Kentucky. The time off afforded during the holiday season provides anglers opportunity to catch tasty sauger below locks and dams across the state. - LEE McCLELLAN, Kentucky Afield Outdoors
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