Written by: Janette Marson
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky is famous as a fisherman’s paradise! All the major streams and their tributaries in the Lake Cumberland area abound with fish. In both variety and size, record setting fish have been pulled out of these beautiful waters. Anglers will find both largemouth and smallmouth, Kentucky bass, white bass, walleye, trout, crappie, bream, and rockfish / “stripers.” The incredibly clear and deep waters of Lake Cumberland, make it a premiere fishing lake and one of Kentucky’s best lakes for both boating and fishing.
Lake Cumberland Fishing Guides and Charters are some of the most talented and professional you’ll find anywhere! Whether you would like to fish on the Cumberland River or Lake Cumberland, we have several charters and guides to choose from. For a full list of Lake Cumberland and Cumberland River fishing guides, click here!
Lake Cumberland is nationally famous for its spring run of white bass. The fish spawn in the tributaries, mostly thse at the head of the lake. The water temperature must get up to 60 degrees for the action to start. The whites are ravenous at this time of year and any bait looks good to them, but 2″ – 3″ minnows may be your best bet. The next time to fish for white bass is in late summer and on into fall. Summer – fall is when they are chasing shad minnows up near the surface.
The crappie makes every family fishing trip a success. Minnows are the right bait for crappie, and you’ll want to use a float to put them at whatever depth works best, which is usually between 10′ and 30′ in places that fish will be looking for food – around fallen trees, by driftwood and near harbors and docks.
Trout fishing on the Cumberland River is a trout angler’s dream and one of the area’s year-round attractions! The fighting rainbow trout has found the ideal habitat in the Cumberland River’s deep, chilled waters. Trout fishing is great both above and below Wolf Creek Dam in Jamestown, Kentucky. Off the points where some of the tributaries run into the lake are good fishing spots. Indian Creek, just south of the dam and a little upstream from it has proved in the past to be a fantastic trout fishing spot. Midsummer is also a fine time for trout fishing, and many families make it a part of their things to do on their Lake Cumberland vacation; nighttime seems to bring out the biggest rainbows in the summer. You anchor your boat, shine a bright light straight into the water, and fish to a depth of 30 to 40 feet.
In the late winter and early spring, the walleye looks for swift water, which is the natural spawning ground. Walleye can find spawning waters in the Cumberland River and in smaller tributaries of Lake Cumberland. Lake Cumberland walleye responds to lures laid carefully down on the bottom. Later on the walleye head for all parts of the lake itself, where the walleye can be tempted by deep running lures or minnows.
CALENDAR FOR POPULAR FISH AT LAKE CUMBERLAND – Best Times For Fishing:
Crappie – March thru June & October. (Lures – small jigs, live minnows)
Largemouth Bass – April thru October. (Lures – spinner baits, worms, topwater bait)
Bream – May thru August. (Lures – crickets, worms, popping bugs)
Catfish – April thru November. (Bait – shad minnows, nightcrawlers)
Sauger & Walleye – December thru March. (Lures – jigs, minnows)
Striped Bass / Rockfish – April thru June & September thru October. *Many have also found to have great luck December thru February. (Lures – large jigs, spoons, crank bait).
White Bass – March thru May. (Lures – jigs, minnows, small spinners)
FUN KENTUCKY FACT: Kentucky is not a large state, but it has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska, which is 14 times the size of Kentucky!