Fishing in Kentucky Lake

A good indicator of a lake's ability to produce high-quality fish is the number of fishing tournaments it hosts. Kentucky Lake has anglers competing throughout the year in some of the country's most prestigious fishing tournaments.

Chasing lunker sized bass is the mainstay. However, excellent opportunities exist for other fish species. Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Sauger, or Yellow Perch are all an excellent choice for a more relaxing fishing experience.

If you want a smaller, more active fish, then Crappie or White Bass is a great choice. In fact, the biggest White Bass in Kentucky was pulled from this lake at an amazing 5 pounds.

There are many affordable fishing guides, Kentucky Lake, to show you the ropes and teach you a few of their secrets.
  • Known For

    Kentucky is known for being the "Bluegrass State," horse racing, and bourbon. The only other thing in the state that compares to the fast action of horse racing is the fishing on Kentucky Lake. It's at the top of our list for best fishing lakes in Kentucky but is also famous for wildlife watching and hunting geese and ducks.

    This reservoir is one of the river lakes created by the Tennessee River Valley Authority with the building of the Kentucky Dam in 1944.

  • Fishing Licenses and Regulations

    Kentucky Lake and the Barkley Lakes have different size and creel requirements for Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Sauger than the broad state rules.

    • Sauger must be at least 14 inches long, and the daily limit is 6.
    • You can keep a Crappie that is 10 inches or longer, but the most each angler can keep per day is 20.
    • If a Smallmouth or Largemouth is shorter than 15 inches, you will need to practice catch and release.

    Make sure you check online with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resource for more details, especially for the tailwater sections. As always, it's the angler's responsibility to make sure they are following the law of the land. However, your local Kentucky Lake fishing guide will be able to help answer any questions or concerns.

  • Types of Fishing

    Fishing reports can change from guide-to-guide and from year-to-year. Migrate has completed the homework for you on this massive lake of 160,309-acres.

    The average depth is just 7 feet, so bring your best bass lures for shallow water fishing spots. Suspending jerk baits are a great option during the springtime. Springtime means certain areas of the water are starting to warm up. Try tying on a pumpkin-colored jig, heading to the coves with the most sun, and tossing it near brush piles.

    If its catfish you're after, it will depend on the type. Channel Catfish will be found near shoreline indentions at night. Blue catfish are actually the ones that are most often found in the river channels.

    For White Bass, like other fish, the dam plays a crucial role in affecting the currents, fish in the canal during the summer when the dam creates a flow.

  • Best Seasons to Fish

    The best time of year to catch 25 to 50 bass in one day is from late May to the first half of June. However, bass fishing Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley for trophies require anglers to fish during February and March.

    When fishing in the spring, it's essential to separate the season into three different sections, pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn. Pre spawn is around the middle of March and ends around the last week over April is when spawning begins. You will be able to help pinpoint post-spawn when the water reaches the 70-degree mark.

    During pre-spawn fish, the locations with gravel beds using a crankbait. During the spawn, you will need to pull the fish out of their cover and target underwater structures and topwater vegetation with plastics on a TX Rig. Post Spawn will require deep diving lures thrown into the channels.

    If the trophy fishing is a little slow, try Kentucky Lake Crappie fishing during March.

    If you prefer soaking up the hot summer sun while fishing, then cast topwater frogs or buzz baits in shallow water areas in the morning. After lunch, it's time to search for some deepwater structures and cast jigs or deep diving crankbaits. When the sun starts to go down, switch to looking for White Bass schooling near the surface and churning the water while they prey on baitfish.


What is the average depth of Kentucky Lake?

The deepest spot recorded is 75 feet.

What is the biggest Bass ever caught in Lake Kentucky?

Is Kentucky Lake man-made?

What is the water temperature of Lake Kentucky?

What kind of species lives in Lake Kentucky?

What are some invasive species to Lake Kentucky?