KENTUCKY (FOX 56) — Kentucky has 45 major lakes, according to the University of Kentucky. This makes it a prime location for those who enjoy lake fishing.
Since Kentucky is home to many lake fishing spots, the many options can make it tough to know where to start. What are the most popular locations that anglers head to for a great day of fishing on the water?
Premier Angler, an online magazine founded in 2019, offers news, stories, and resources to numerous fishing enthusiasts across the U.S.
Here are five popular fishing spots across Kentucky, according to the contributors at Premier Angler.
5. Nolin River Lake
Nolin River Lake lands near Nolin Lake State Park and Mammoth Cave National Park and is home to several marinas.
Nestled in central Kentucky, it offers an easily accessible location for anglers and casual fishing fans across the state. Nolin Lake covers 2,890 acres and is home to multiple species of fish, including bass, catfish, crappies, and walleyes.
Largemouth bass fishing peaks between early spring and late fall, and white bass are popular during late spring and early summer.
4. Cedar Creek Lake
Cedar Creek Lake is a smaller fishing spot tucked away in central Kentucky, about 50 miles away from Lexington.
Despite covering only 784 acres, Cedar Creek Lake is the second-largest state-controlled lake.
Multiple species of fish can be found in Cedar Creek’s waters, including crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish, and trout. In fact, according to Premier Angler, it is not uncommon to catch largemouth bass up to 8 lbs. at Cedar Creek Lake.
According to Field and Stream magazine, Cedar Creek Lake is ranked 30th in the nation for bass fishing.
3. Dale Hollow Lake
Dale Hollow Lake has reportedly had more than its fair share of trophy catches over the years, according to Premier Angler. In 1955, a world record 11-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth bass was caught.
The lake rests at the south-central border of Kentucky and Tennessee and holds over 27,000 acres of water.
Dale Hollow has been successful in producing not only big smallmouth bass but also impressive lake trout and muskies. In fact, the lake has seen record-breaking catches, including a 12-pound, 12-ounce lake trout and a 43-pound muskie.
Other popular species of fish found in its waters include black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, freshwater drum, muskie, largemouth bass, white bass, channel catfish, red-ear sunfish, and walleye.
2. Kentucky Lake
Located deep in western Kentucky near the shared borders of Missouri and Tennessee, Kentucky Lake is the largest lake in the state of Kentucky. With around 160,000 acres of water and roughly 2,300 miles of shoreline, Kentucky Lake has been a popular fishing spot, with the following six record-setting fish being caught:
- Spotted Gar: 4 lbs. 7 oz. (2014)
- White Bass (tied): 5 pounds (1943)
- Bighead Carp: 64 pounds (2010)
- Smallmouth Buffalo: 55 pounds (2000)
- Golden Shiner: 0.31 pounds (2014)
- Yellow Perch: 1 lb. 7 oz. (2010)
Kentucky Lake plays host to experienced and professional anglers who compete in various fishing tournaments, including the Legacy Marine Open Trail, the Kentucky Bassmasters Classic, and FLW College Fishing events.
Premier Angler said Kentucky Lake is home to some of the best sauger, bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, and red-ear sunfish in the state.
1. Lake Cumberland
Covering over 65,000 acres spread across six counties in southern Kentucky, Lake Cumberland is said to be one of the best fishing spots in Kentucky.
As far as state records go, Cumberland’s waters boast eight, including:
- Walleye: 21 lbs. 8 oz. (1958)
- Striped Bass: 58 lbs. 4 oz. (1985)
- Sturgeon: 36 lbs. 8 oz. (1954)
- Rainbow trout: 14 lbs. 6 oz. (1972)
Other popular species found in Lake Cumberland are walleye, crappie, trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and white bass.