Here are my top 5 places to bass fish in Kentucky:
Lake Beshear is one of the most popular bass fishing destinations in Kentucky. It is a 760 acre reservoir located in Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park. It hosts an extremely healthy population of largemouth in the 12-18 inch range, averaging 4+ pounds.
This lake holds long sections of lily pads and other similar cover. Early mornings and evenings should be top water focused with a frog or other similar lures. As the temperatures rise the fish here tend to head for the many deep ledges the reservoir offers that are best tackled with a drop shot or deep diving crankbaits.
Lake Barkley is a massive 58,000 acre lake spanning into Kentucky and Tennessee. It holds numerous fish species including crappie, catfish, and of course largemouth and smallmouth bass making it an angling playground.
While Barkley has seen a small decline in large bass over the years, it is quickly making a comeback. Bass averaging 2 to 4 pounds are the norm, but recently some in the 10 pound range have been caught.
Being such a large lake, it can be a tough lake to fish. Those looking to target bass should have their electronics ready to go looking for the numerous grassy flats to burn crankbaits through. Also be on the lookout for rocky shorelines, or the many river and creek openings that feed into and out of the lake. Focus around these areas with natural color jigs and texas rigged worms or creature baits.
Image Source: Bridgesandtunnels.com
The bridge that extends across Barkley Lake
Wood Creek Lake is another small lake at 672 acres, but a good one to include in your visit to Kentucky. Located in Daniel Boone National Forest, it boasts a good bass population averaging 3-5 pounds. What makes this lake a must fish is the fact that it has produced more record largemouth than any other lake in Kentucky. It is still home to the current state record of a 13- pound, 10.4 ounce monster bass.
True to its name, Wood Creek Lake is full of fish relating to timber. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics dominate this smaller lake as they are easier to rip through and around the woody cover that the bass hold close to.
If you are more of a smallie chaser than Dale Hollow Lake is a fantastic lake to check out. While more of the 6,614 acre reservoir resides in Tennessee than Kentucky, it is still a must fish.
Smallmouth average in the 3 pound range and put up a great fight. This lake is also home to the current smallmouth world record that hasn’t been broken since 1955.
These smallmouth aren’t going to make it easy on you though. Dale Hollow is well known for its clear waters, so natural colored baits and finesse fishing is king here. Taking that into account hiring a guide is highly recommended to get the most success and fun out of a weekend trip.
If you are set to tackle it on your own, most anglers have success working small jigs or floating flies on lighter tackle.
Image Source: Field & Stream
The current world record smallmouth bass from Dale Hollow Lake, caught by David Hayes. This beast weighed in at 11 pounds and 15 ounces.
If you are looking for a relaxing trip with the family to catch some smallmouth and do a little camping out of state, then check out Elkhorn Creek. Whether you want to wade your way through the shallows or rent a kayak to glide down the lake while casting, it is a beautiful place to be.
Elk Horn Creek is 17 miles long and has a lot of deep, slow moving holes to target smallmouth or other fish species. Crawfish lures and soft plastics are the go-to while fishing the rocky creek bottoms. It is also a great place to bust out that old fly rod and have at them.
Kentucky is a fantastic place to check out, not only for the fishing, but for the beautiful scenery it holds. If the fish aren’t biting there are numerous places close by all the lakes on this list for a quick hike or other outdoor activities.