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11 Best Fishing Lakes in Kentucky

11 Best Fishing Lakes in Kentucky

Kentucky, a state nestled in the heart of the United States, boasts a reputation for its bountiful water resources, making it a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. With its picturesque lakes and a wide variety of fish species, Kentucky draws anglers from all corners, offering unforgettable fishing experiences. Regardless of your skill level, this remarkable state has numerous lakes that provide exceptional opportunities to reel in prized catches. In this comprehensive article, we will embark on a journey to explore some of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky, delving into their unique features, diverse fish populations, and the optimal times to plan your visit for a truly remarkable angling adventure.

1. Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the United States due to its extensive shoreline spanning over 2,380 miles and abundant fish species, including white bass, largemouth, and smallmouth bass, sauger, catfish, Bluegill, and red-ear sunfish and stunning views that surround it. It also attracts some of the world’s most renowned bass and crappie anglers, who come here for its many tournaments and recreational fishing opportunities at various times of the year.

The lake is in Kentucky, with a 170,000-acre nature preserve on its eastern shoreline. It has plenty of bays, inlets, and points to explore, plus lots of recreational boat traffic. Hence, it’s essential to use proper boating etiquette when encountering these vessels on the waterway.

Kentucky Lake

2. Taylorsville Lake

Taylorsville Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky due to its convenient location, well-stocked fishing, and plenty of ducks and birds. The lake is conveniently located forty-five miles southeast of Louisville, making it easy for residents and visitors alike to explore its waters.

It also provides excellent opportunities for those looking to catch bass, crappie, and catfish that have reached their keeper status. Taylorsville Lake is an excellent spot for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure in nature, with plenty of wildlife around for entertainment!

Taylorsville Lake

3. Nolin Lake

Nolin Lake is an excellent fishing lake due to its impressive catfish, Bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, rainbow trout, walleye, and white bass population and its serene environment. The lake spans 5807 acres with 25 boat ramps and three marinas available for anglers to use. It also offers excellent opportunities for anglers looking to catch largemouth bass and crappie throughout the year.

Nolin Lake is located near both Nolin Lake State Park and Mammoth Cave National Park, which provides additional attractions such as beaches, country stores,s and birdwatching sites around the water. Furthermore, it is situated in central Kentucky (spanning Grayson, Edmonson, and Hart counties), providing an accessible location for anglers across the state.

Nolin Lake

4. Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky for several reasons. It encompasses over 50,000 acres of the waterway, providing plenty of opportunities for record-setting catches. In addition to record-setting fish species like walleye and striped bass, Lake Cumberland has a variety of other game fish like crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and trout that can be caught.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park is located outside Jamestown, Kentucky, providing easy access to the lake’s 50,000 acres waterway. Many fishing tournaments are hosted at Lake Cumberland every year, which can be found on the park’s tourism website.

Lake Cumberland

5. Dale Hollow Lake

Dale Hollow Lake is one of the best fishing lakes for a number of reasons. First, it is very deep, so there is plenty of room for large fish species such as bass, trout, walleye, and panfish to thrive. Additionally, the water at Dale Hollow Lake is crystal clear, providing excellent visibility for sports fishermen.

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is located in southern Kentucky near Burkesville and encompasses 3400 acres of wooded land surrounding the 28,000-acre Dale Hollow Lake. The park also has a modern marina with a fuel dock, boat rentals, and a marina store, making it an ideal location for any last-minute needs during your next fishing trip to Kentucky.

 Dale Hollow Lake

6. Cedar Creek Lake

Cedar Creek Lake is an excellent lake for fishing because it is relatively young and was developed specifically for fishing purposes. It was flooded with all of the trees left to serve as fish habitat and had selective size limits for fish. Cedar Creek Lake has good standing timber and some roadbeds, making it an excellent place to catch bass, crappie, and catfish. Also, the largemouth bass that can be found here is known to be particularly large, with many anglers reporting regularly pulling in 3-5 pounders as well as occasional eight-pounders!

Cedar Creek Lake is located in eastern Kentucky near Harrodsburg at 784 acres, making it one of the smaller lakes in the state but still large enough to provide plenty of opportunities for anglers looking to catch big bass or smallmouths among other species such as Bluegill or trout!

Cedar Creek Lake

7. Rough River Lake

Rough River Lake is located in northwest Kentucky, about seventy miles southwest of the state’s largest city Louisville. Rough River Lake is one of Kentucky’s best fishing lakes for various reasons. First, it offers an extensive fish species lineup that includes largemouth black bass, smallmouth black bass, Guadalupe bass, spotted bass, white bass, yellow bass, striped bass, Kentucky bass, Texas shiner, blacktail shiner, golden shiner, red shiner, jackfish and many more.

Second, there are plenty of rock ledges around the lake for anglers to use as they please. Thirdly, the area is also known for its peacefulness – it’s an ideal spot for those who enjoy fishing for fun without any pressure or expectations from others.

Rough River Lake

8. Cave Run Lake

Cave Run Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky and is an excellent spot for anglers of all levels. The lake in Morehead, KY, offers beautiful scenery and plenty of fish to catch. Anglers can find a variety of different fish to catch at Cave Run Lake. The most popular fish in the lake include bass, catfish, and trout. Many different types of bait and tackle are also available for purchase at the nearby store.

Cave Run Lake

9. Herrington Lake

Herrington Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky, and it’s perfect for a day of fishing with friends or family. The lake is located in Central Kentucky, and it’s known for its clear water and beautiful scenery. Herrington Lake is a man-made lake that was created in 1925 when the Herrington Dam was built. The lake is about 26 miles long, and it’s a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and boating. There are several public boat ramps around the lake and a marina where you can rent boats. The lake is home to various fish, including bass, trout, and catfish.

Herrington Lake

10. Greenbo Lake

Green River Lake is located in central Kentucky with a surface area of 8210 acres and a maximum depth of 85 feet. It is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky due to its large muskie population and variety of other species. Anglers can expect to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, walleye, Bluegill, and white bass at the lake. Furthermore, the lake is home to several state-record fish, including a muskie weighing over 51 pounds! If you’re looking for a great place to fish in Kentucky, check out Green River Lake.

Greenbo Lake

11. Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley is one of the best fishing lakes in Kentucky due to its large size and variety of species available. It spans an impressive 134 miles with over 1,000 miles of shoreline and is noted for having excellent sauger, Bluegill, catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and crappie fishing. Additionally, it has several marinas on or around the lake and popular bait shops such as Tom & Barb’s and The Cabin Bait and Tackle.

Lake Barkley can be found in Livingston Trigg Lyon Counties in Kentucky, extending into Tennessee. It also sits in the western part of the state, which may make it more difficult for anglers from eastern parts of Kentucky to access it compared to other lakes, such as Kentucky Lake, which is more centrally within the state boundaries.

Lake Barkley

What species of fish can you catch in Kentucky lakes?

Bass: Largemouth Bass are plentiful at Buckhorn Lake in Hazard; Hybrid Striped, Striped, and Largemouth Bass can be found at Fishtrap Lake in Pikeville; Large and Smallmouth Bass can be caught at Kentucky Lake.

Crappie: Black and White crappies can be found at Casey Creek in Cadiz; Bluegill is plentiful here and at Cedar Creek in Stanford.

Catfish: Both Black and White crappies and Bluegill can be found at Elmer Davis Reservoir in Owen County. Additionally, there are Chain Pickerels that thrive here too!


Do you need a license for fishing in Kentucky?

Yes, all anglers in Kentucky and Tennessee are required to have a fishing license. You can purchase one online through the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources or at many local outdoor stores and large retail centers.

What can you expect in terms of fishing amenities at fishing lakes in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s fishing lakes offer a variety of amenities and activities for anglers. Anglers can enjoy boat rides, swimming, picnicking, camping, and other recreational activities at these lakes. Additionally, many lakes have public access areas where anglers can launch their boats or rent fishing equipment such as rods and reels. Some lakes offer docks where fishermen can cast their lines into the water without getting into a boat first.

What is the best time of year to fish in Kentucky lakes?

Kentucky Lake is home to a wide variety of freshwater fish, including bass, crappie, catfish, Bluegill, redear, and sauger. The best time of year to fish in these lakes is during the late winter/early spring months when crappie fishing and bass fishing are at their peak.

However, due to Kentucky’s warm climate, anglers can still come away with plenty of other great catches throughout the year. In addition to these lakeside resorts and lodges that provide excellent fishing spots around the region, there are also many other places throughout Kentucky where you can find excellent fishing opportunities during any season.

What safety measures should be taken when fishing in Kentucky lakes?

• Obtaining the required fishing license and following any regulations that apply.
• Know how to safely handle and use fishing equipment such as hooks, lines, and reels.
• Understanding local weather conditions and staying alert for any potential hazards, such as stormy weather or strong currents, that may affect your ability to fish safely.
• Wear appropriate clothing for the season (warm layers in winter, sunscreen in summer) and footwear suitable for walking on rocky or muddy shores or boat decks.

What type of bait should be used for fishing in Kentucky lakes?

Fishing in Kentucky lakes can be successful with various bait types, such as bass and crappie lures, live bait, such as worms and minnows, and artificial baits, such as plastic or jigs. For the best results when fishing in Kentucky lakes, it is recommended that anglers use live bait such as worms or minnows since these types of bait are more likely to attract fish’s attention than artificial baits. Additionally, using small lures or flies can be effective when trying to catch bass or other species in these waters.