Best Fishing in Kentucky – Lake Cumberland

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photo of a fisherman catching a bass



If it’s prize winning trophy catches you’re looking for, Lake Cumberland is the best fishing spot for you!  The 11 lb 15 oz. world record small mouth bass, a 58 lb. 4 oz rockfish, a 22 lb. 7 oz. walleye, a 208 lb catfish, and the national record 26 lb 10 ounce brown trout, all came out of these waters!

Lake Cumberland fishing is phenomenal and the variety is awesome.  Lake Cumberland is famous for having great Crappie, Bream, Walleye, Trout, and Catfish, plus five species of bass – Largemouth, Smallmouth, White, Kentucky and Rock.  These species have given Lake Cumberland fishing undisputed honors as one of the top fishing spots in the country.  One of the most awesome features of Lake Cumberland fishing is that the fishing season is all year long and the fish are biting every single day!

If BASS is what you like to fish for, Lake Cumberland is the place to be.  Fishermen agree that the next record Smallmouth Bass will be caught on Lake Cumberland!  The Smallmouth and the Kentucky Bass both like rocky or gravel shoals and there are plenty on Lake Cumberland!  Be sure to look for Largemouth Bass around stumps and mudbanks.  Deep trolling is the way to take Bass during the hot days of summer.  During the cool early mornings and early evenings you will find the fish foraging near the surface and you can even make a great catch during the dead of night!

Photo of a man holding a Lake Cumberland Striper

Lake Cumberland is nationally famous for its spring run of White Bass.  The White Bass of Lake Cumberland spawn in the tributaries.  In the spring, the White Bass are very hungry and will bite just about at anything, but 2″-3″ Minnows may be your best bet.  After spring, the next best time to get White Bass is when they’re in the jumps, in late summer and early fall.  This is when they are chasing shad minnows, up near the surface.  Use an artificial lure with streamers.

Photo of a man holding a brown trout that he caught on the Cumberland River

TROUT – The National Record Brown Trout and State Records for Rainbow and Brown Trout came out of these waters.  Trout Fishing is best below Wolf Creek Dam.  The fishing is good any time of year since the temperature of the water below the dam remains fairly constant year round.  The baits used for trout fishing on the Cumberland River range from corn or salmon eggs to spinner baits or spoons depending on the season.  Ask a local bait dealer around the Lake Cumberland area which bait is best at the time of year you plan to be fishing.  Trout fishing is good both above and below Wolf Creek Dam.  Off the points where some of the tributaries run into the lake are good spots also.

Photo of a man holding a Lake Cumberland Striper

STRIPER FISHING on Lake Cumberland is awesome! The best Striper fishing on Lake Cumberland is the lower reaches of the lake during late April and the first half of May.  Stripers (also called Rockfish) can be taken on top water baits at dawn.  From mid May through summer however, the water becomes warmer and the fish are feeding deeper – that is the time that trolling or live bait tactics can be used.  From mid September , the waters of Lake Cumberland begin to cool and Stripers are taken at depths around 20 – 30 ‘.  Live baiting with Shad is fairly popular and productive.  The current freshwater world record is 60 lb. 5 oz. and most people feel that the next World Record Striper will come from the deep recesses of Lake Cumberland where already a 58 lb. 4 oz. Striper was caught.

WALLEYE FISHING – Lake Cumberland has great Walleye fishing in late winter and early spring.  The Walleye looks for swift water and enjoy water temperatures around 50 degrees.  Walleye can be found on the Cumberland River and in smaller tributaries of Lake Cumberland.  Fishing for Walleye on Lake Cumberland is best when using lures laid carefully on the bottom.

Photo of a man Crappie Fishing on Lake Cumberland

CRAPPIE FISHING – There are loads of Crappie in Lake Cumberland and Crappie Fishing is superb! Minnows are the best bait to use for Crappie fishing on Lake Cumberland.  You can find Crappie around fallen trees and driftwood, and near boat harbors and docks.

Start planning your Lake Cumberland fishing adventure!  Look for our full list of Fishing Guides and Charters on our website –