Fishing in Kentucky

The official state fish is the Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), and bass fishing plays a significant role in why Kentucky brings in anglers from all over the world. No matter where you're from or your experience level, the best fishing charters in Kentucky offer the knowledge, hospitality, gear, and work ethic to bring out the best in the top fishing destinations in Kentucky.
  • Best Fishing in Kentucky

    Kentucky Lake

    • Crappie and Largemouth Bass are the prized fish on this body of water located on the southwest tip of Kentucky. The Kentucky Lake is a part of the Tennessee River system and created by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Kentucky Dam.
    • The best time to fish for crappie and bass is during some of the colder months, in late winter and spring. Early spring is when you should target shallow fishing spots, where they are spawning in up to 7 feet of water. Trophy largemouth is typically caught in the spring near creeks and channel, and as the water starts to heat up, you should cast in 10-15 feet of water by a significant underwater dropoff.
    • Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley are located not too far from each other, with the latter located just to the north, where the same techniques can land you your limit.

    Lake Cumberland

    • When planning a fishing trip on Lake Cumberland, plan to head out with one of the fishing charters or guides, and with their knowledge and guidance, you could help this lake place another Kentucky record on its mantle. The state records for White Bass, Striped Bass, Sauger, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, and Lake Trout all came from this legendary fishing spot.
    • You certainly noticed how many big trout came from this lake, so head to the honey hole near Wolf Creek Dam. For Stripers, fish with a topwater lure on the lower portions of the lake. The best time to cast for Rockfish is just as the sun comes up.

    Green River Lake

    • Located near Campbellsville and with over 8,200 acres of fishing stories to tell, you can choose which ones to believe. We have done our research, though, and tried our best to weed out the tales and bring you the best from the local fishing reports.
    • The oxygen levels during the months of late June through the first half of October fall, and the fish won't venture below 20 feet. During these months, target topwater and especially the excellent Largemouth Bass populations. Channel catfish on a jug line or after the water levels have risen and become stirred up are another recommendation.

    Cave Run Lake

    • Located near Farmers, KY, this lake is famous for the biggest Muskie in the state. Head to the areas near Beaver Creek during April for "Esox masquinongy" or simply put... Musky! For Crappie, and this is where a fishing guide comes in handy, target the artificial and natural brush piles in May in around 15-20 feet of water.

    Other Fishing Spots

    • Creek Lake and Dale Hollow Lake
  • Fishing Licenses and Regulations

    An annual Kentucky state fishing license for residents costs $23. If you're heading out for a day to test the waters or with a guide it's $7 for a day. A non-resident will pay $55 for an annual pass, and for $15 you can enjoy a full days trip on the water. $10 for residents and non-residents for a Trout Permit, and are required for all trout anglers.

    The state offers over 900 locations, mostly fishing and hunting stores, so you can purchase a license in person. You can also purchase one online.

    Before you head out for any fishing adventure you should check the rules and regulations of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and consult with your charter captain.

Fishing Calendar for the Best Times to Fish in Kentucky


Where: Dewey Lake

Species: Channel Catfish


Where: Dale Hollow Lake

Species: Smallmouth Bass


Where: Carr Creek Lake

Species: Walleye


Where: Cave Rune Lake

Species: Musky


Where: Tailwater

Species: Bluegill


Where: Beshear Lake

Species: Largemouth Bass


Where: Buckhorn Lake

Species: Muskellunge


Where: Nolin Lake

Species: White Bass


Where: Green River

Species: Striped Bass


Where: Lake Barkley

Species: Largemouth Bass


Where: Lake Cumberland

Species: Striper


Where: Cave Run Lake

Species: Crappie


What's the biggest lake in Kentucky?

Lake Kentucky. It's the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River. It covers 160,309 surface acres; the lake holds the state record for Buffalo carp, white bass, and yellow perch.

Where can I fish in Kentucky?

Is jug fishing legal in Kentucky?

Why is the spotted bass Kentucky State Fish?

Where can you find walleye in Kentucky?

How many natural lakes does Kentucky have?