Cumberland – A Trout Fishing Paradise

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Trout Fishing in Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Lake Cumberland and the Cumberland River are a trout angler’s dream!  The fighting rainbow has found his ideal habitat in these deep-chilled waters and he is one of the Cumberland River’s year-round attractions! The Cumberland River, below Wolf Creek Dam, holds state records for Brown, Rainbow, Brook, and Lake Trout and is touted to be one of the top ten spots in the country for trout fishing.

Hatchery Creek on the Cumberland River is the best place for trout fishing in Kentucky

Kentucky Trout fishing is good both above and below Wolf Creek Dam.  Off the points where some of the tributaries run into Lake Cumberland are good spots too.  Indian Creek, just south of the dam and a little upstream from it has proven to be a wonderful Lake Cumberland trout fishing spot.  With the newly created Hatchery Creek Trout Stream, there is additional interest in Kentucky trout fishing.  The only trout stream of its kind in the U.S., Hatchery Creek is located below Lake Cumberland immediately behind the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. Many would not know from looking at it, but Hatchery Creek is a completely man-made stream that originates from the cold water outflow of the hatchery and flows over 6,000 feet before joining the Cumberland River. Stream flow is constant, running from between 25 cubic feet per second up to 35 cubic feet per second.

Along its descent of almost 47 feet, Hatchery Creek starts as a maintained park-like fishing area for the first 400 feet from the hatchery outflow to a boulder constructed waterfall. This section is called Upper Hatchery Creek where regulations allow anglers to keep up to 5 trout, combined species and with no size limit.

The remaining stream length from the waterfall and downstream is Lower Hatchery Creek where sport fishing regulations limit anglers to artificial lures, and catch and release only. All anglers fishing either section of Hatchery Creek must have a trout permit. Lower Hatchery Creek begins as a gentle meandering stream with numerous glides and riffles underlain with over 1,800 tons of spawning gravel, logs, and numerous boulder clusters to create eddies. Deeper pools can be found along outside bends where undercut banks called ‘Lunker Bunkers’ offer hiding places for trout. Note: Lunker Bunkers provide an undercut bank approximately 4 feet into the bank and are not visible from the surface. Over 5 acres of wetlands connect with Hatchery Creek in a few places where the stream flow splits into multiple smaller channels offering refuge for both forage fish and young trout. In the final 500 feet, Hatchery Creek has a steep descent in a series of protective, boulder strewn step-pools before meeting the Cumberland River.

The Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam is the best place for trout fishing in Kentucky.

Midsummer is a great time for trout fishing on Lake Cumberland and the Cumberland River, so that the whole family can make it part of their Lake Cumberland vacation fun.  If you are wondering what kind of bait is best for trout fishing, night crawlers and minnors are the top baits, and nighttime seems to bring out the largest Rainbows.

In the fall and winter, Kentucky trout fishermen turn to artificial bait like white and yellow spinners, deep-running lures, bright spoons and they fish around rocky points and near waterfalls.  Come spring, you’ll find trolling is by far the best way to reel in a record breaking trout!

The Kentucky fishing season is open & very active year round.  A Kentucky fishing license is required for anglers and professional fishermen who would like to fish legally in the state’s lakes and streams. Both residents and non residents older than the age of 16 are allowed to obtain a fishing permit. If you fish without a valid fishing document, the state will take legal actions that consist of fines and other penalties. Fishing credentials are issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and depending on the kind of fishing you would like to partake in, several permits are available. Options include resident fishing licenses, joint fishing permits for spouses, licenses for seniors, one-day fishing permits and a variety of non resident fishing licenses. Licenses to fish in Kentucky can be obtained online, in person or by phone. For online purchases, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Online License Sales site, where you will be further instructed about the application and payment process.

There is ample lodging  & campgrounds available along the Cumberland River and around beautiful Lake Cumberland.  For a full list of Lake Cumberland luxury cabins, hotels, motels, vacation homes and campground, visit our Accommodations page :

Beautiful Kentucky Cabin Rentals on a private lake