Fishing Kentucky


Top 10 Fishing Destinations in Kentucky

Kentucky is a southeastern state bordered by the Ohio River on the north, and the Appalachian Mountains to the east. Interestingly, it is home to diverse environments and rich resources, with the greatest length of maneuverable miles of water and streams in the United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. Kentucky is the only U.S state to have rivers flowing along three of its borders—the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east.  Anglers - does this ring a bell? Well, read more to find out how Kentucky is an anglers paradise.


Fishing is nurtured in most Kentuckians as Kentucky is home to many bodies of water.  Fishing enthusiasts always keep an eye out on new spots to help polish their angling skills. If you are planning a fishing trip, you must consider that bass fishing in Kentucky is an excellent way to learn, move out of your comfort zone, and challenge yourself in new waters.  In Kentucky, you will find great largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing and lots of scenic lakes, rivers, and ponds to grab them in. Whether you like to fish skillfully, powerfully, or just for fun’s sake, be sure to find some great catches.  Kentucky has one of the finest fishing in the United States. Here you will find more than 62,000 miles of streams suitable for fishing and 40 public lakes exceeding 100 acres. Isn’t this exciting?

Fishing Types

The fish species you will find here are as follows:

  • Sunfish Family including Rock Bass, Green Sunfish, Warmouth, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, and Black Crappie. 

  • Carp Family

  • Catfish Family

  • Drum Family

  • Perch Family

  • Pike Family

  • Trout Family

However, there are many ambiguous minnows and darters, which are not commonly grabbed by anglers. To keep fishing ongoing, Kentucky stocks 7 million fish a year and enthusiastically manages sport and commercial fish populations across the state.

Types of Catch Available


raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

White Bass

White Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

spotted bass

Spotted Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

Striped Bass

northern pike


yellow perch

Yellow Perch








bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish

State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across Kentucky

Casting a line is all about the victorious catch and the memorable story behind it. From massive lakes to rushing rivers, Kentucky is every angler’s dream. However, the question is, which are the most popular fishing spots in Kentucky? Don’t worry. We will provide you a complete Kentucky fishing guide to address all your apprehensions.

Lake Beshear

Lake Beshear​​​​​

Are you a bass fishing lover? If so, head over to Lake Beshear, as its one of the most popular bass fishing destinations in Kentucky. This 760-acre reservoir located in Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is surely not to be missed. It’s packed with an enormous, healthy population of largemouth in the 12-18-inch range, often averaging 4+ pounds. This lake contains large sections of lily pads. Early mornings and evenings should be top water-focused, making it more fruitful. In the summer months, the fish in Lake Beshear tend to head towards the many deep ledges the reservoir offers, and they are best tackled with a drop shot or deep diving crankbaits. Lake Beshear boasts the most keeper-sized bass throughout the year.

Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley

What makes Lake Barkley distinctive is that it is a massive 58,000-acre lake stretching into Kentucky and Tennessee. It is home to abundant freshwater fish species including bluegill, white crappie, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass making it an angler’s playground. It is common to catch Bass averaging 2 to 4 pounds, but recently some fishers have caught monsters in the 10-pound range. Since it’s a large lake, it can also be a little challenging to fish here.  Hence, those looking to aim bass should have their electronics on-the-go looking for the numerous grassy flats to burn crankbaits thoroughly.

Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake

This 186,000-acre lake includes 2,380 miles of astounding shoreline. It fascinates some of the most renowned bass and crappie anglers from all around the world. If you want to enjoy watching or participating in fishing tournaments, head over to Kentucky fishing Lake as it provides all experienced anglers with many recreational fishing opportunities all throughout the year. Here you will find countless bays and spots to explore including a 170,000-acre nature preserve which is found on the eastern shore of Kentucky Lake. Fish species anxious to bite here are white bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, sauger, saugeye, catfish, bluegill and red-ear sunfish. It is noteworthy that the populations of fish in these waters are remarkable, and Kentucky Lake simultaneously creates the perfect backdrop for anglers to enjoy breathtaking views while fishing. Without a doubt, you are surrounded by one of the most enthralling fisheries in the U.S.

Wood Creek Lake

Wood Creek Lake

Wood Creek Lake is a small lake resting on 672 acres. Located in Daniel Boone National Forest, you will find bass averaging 3 to 5 pounds here. Surprisingly, what makes this lake a desirable fishing spot is the fact that it has produced more record largemouth than any other lake in Kentucky. It has broken the state record of producing a 13-pound monster bass. Complementing its name, Wood Creek Lake is full of fish linked to timber. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics lead this smaller lake as they are easier to rip through and around the woody cover that the bass keep close to.

Dale Hollow Lake

Dale Hollow Lake

Are you a chasing small-mouth fish? If yes, then Dale Hollow Lake is a fantastic lake to visit. With an average of 3-pound small-mouth fish, you can put up a great battle. This lake is known for its current smallmouth world record that has not been broken since 1955. Dale Hollow Lake is renowned for its clear waters, so natural colored baits and delicacy fishing is dominant here.  Use small jigs or floating flies on lighter tackle. By the dam, the depths reach over 100 feet deep, which makes for a nice fish population. You may also hire a guide to get the most fun and success out a fishing holiday.

Elkorn Creek

Elkhorn Creek

Planning a relaxing trip with the family to catch some small-mouth and do some camping out of state? If yes, then Elkhorn Creek fits the purpose. Whether you want to paddle your way through the shallows or rent a kayak to slither down the lake while casting, it is a gorgeous place to visit.

Being 17 miles long, it has lots of deep, slow-moving holes to aim at small-mouth, striped shiners - and quality size rock bass can be found around tree roots and along rocky banks.

Carpenter Lake

Carpenter Lake

Carpenters Lake is located just 7.5 miles from Lewisport, in Daviess County. Looking for a fishing spot rich in Blue-gill? If so, then go to Carpenter Lake. This Owensboro Lake is also well stocked with varieties of Crappie and 12 to 15 inch Bass. You will also find Bullhead, Channel Cats and Sunfish around the floating pier. The best times to fish in this lake are before dawn (4am- 5am), at high noon, and at night (10pm till midnight). You can fish from a boat or off the shore, whichever you prefer.

Mcneely Lake

Mcneely Lake

McNeely Lake is a small lake covering 51 acres; however, the largemouth fishery in this lake is remarkable. You will find good numbers of bass above 12-inches. It has 3.3 miles of shoreline where you can enjoy fishing, canoeing, and kayaking on small boats. It has a concrete boat launching ramp as well as Lake Park for recreational activities. At McNeeley Lake, you will find the best fishing in spring by targeting structure spots in the shoreline and in other shallow water areas. Apart from bass fishing, anglers come here for quality channel catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish and crappie.

Tygarts Creek

Tygarts Creek

Tygart’s Creek is one of Kentucky’s hidden fishing treasures which lures all passionate anglers to visit. It is this spot where the first national muskellunge research program began, and now it is one of the primary locations in Kentucky where you can pursue these remarkable fish. It is not unusual to find up to 40-inch-long Muskellunge in Tygarts Creek waters. Other popular fish species which you will find are Kentucky bass, Largemouth bass, Red-eye, Bluegill, and Catfish. Tygart’s Creek boasts the Blue Water Trail which is popular for paddling. It is common to fish from a canoe, kayak or fishing tube.

Dix River

Dix River

Being one of Kentucky’s scenic rivers, Dix River is a great spot to fish for trophy trout. The Dix River is a 79-mile long branch of the Kentucky River, flowing from Rockcastle County through central Kentucky. With an influx of dense forests and picturesque cliffs, you can use a motorboat or paddle upriver for some extensive fishing expeditions. You can catch trout all throughout the year.  However, in spring, the river will be populated with bass. Common fish species include bluegill, catfish, crappie, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass.

Kentucky is a fantastic place to visit, not only for the fishing but for the beautiful scenery it holds. Once you reach Kentucky, get ready to cast out and start reeling in the fish the majority of the time you’re there. 

If you relish freshwater fishing, you will wish to visit one or more of these amazing spots. Feel free to comment on your favorite fishing spots and give us your feedback.








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