OUTDOORS: Trout stockings promise great fall fishing

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By The Staff

By Lee McClellan

Ky. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources

The severe dip in the jet stream last week brought Kentucky its first blast of cold winds since last spring. Folks are acting like we've never had winter weather before now.

People grumble under their breath about being cold and hate the idea of getting their jackets out of the closet because it means warm weather is another long winter away.

Unlike us, rainbow trout don't mind the cold. They bite willingly all year long. Trout strike baits fished through holes in the ice on lakes and in mountainous streams ringed with ice along their banks in the dead of winter. They laugh at this little bit of unpleasant weather.

The fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is catching up on delivering these tasty, fun fish to waters all over Kentucky.

"We are behind on our trout stockings due to the federal government shutdown as all of our trout come from Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery just below Lake Cumberland," said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "We hope to complete all of the October and November trout stockings by the week of Nov. 18. Check our website at fw.ky.gov for exact dates of the upcoming stockings."

These stockings include all 13 seasonal catch and release trout streams scattered across our state. These streams provide productive winter fishing as anglers may not harvest trout in these flows from Oct. 1 through March 31 annually (except the catch and release season on Swift Camp Creek in Red River Gorge National Geological Area runs until May 31). Anglers may only use artificial lures on these streams during this season. The fisheries division usually stocks these streams each October.

Last week, Beaver Creek and Elk Spring Creek in Wayne County received 500 and 400 rainbow trout, respectively. The fisheries division stocked Otter Creek in Meade County inside Ft. Knox with 500 rainbow trout and in Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area with 1,250 rainbow trout. Clear Creek in Bell County received 400 trout as well. These streams fall under seasonal catch and release regulations.

Cannon Creek Lake in Bell County received 3,000 rainbow trout last week. Bert Combs Lake in Clay County and Beulah Lake in Jackson County both received 1,000 trout as well as Mill Creek Lake in Powell County received 1,500 trout.

The lakes in Jefferson County enrolled in the Fishing in Neighborhoods Program got stocked with rainbow trout last week. Tom Wallace Lake gets 2,500 rainbow trout as does Waverly Park Lake. Lakes 3 and 4 in Fisherman's Park get 1,000 trout each.

Green Heron Lake (formerly known as Miles Park Lake No. 3) and Angler Lake (formerly known as Miles Park Lake No. 4) in Beckley Creek Park of the Parklands of Floyds Fork get 500 and 1,500 trout, respectively. Watterson Park Lake and Cherokee Park Lake both get 1,500 trout.

Floyds Fork Creek received 1,200 rainbow trout while the Taylorsville Lake tailwater got 500.

The fisheries division placed 12,000 rainbow trout in Lincoln County's Cedar Creek Lake and 3,500 trout in Greenbo Lake in Greenup County.

The Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam recently received 16,500 9-inch rainbow trout and will receive 19,700 trout of the same size in November. The fisheries division also stocked nearly 13,000 fast growing sterile 15- to 17-inch rainbow trout in the river.

"The reason we put in the larger fish is to get them into the protective slot limit so they won't be harvested immediately," Buyank said. "We are trying to jump start the Cumberland River trout fishery again after the effects of the drawdown of the lake."

A white, chartreuse, orange or red 1/16-ounce in-line spinner fished on a spinning outfit spooled with 4-pound line makes a highly productive combination for rainbow trout in both lakes and streams. In lakes, work the in-line spinner in a steady retrieve at varying depths until you find trout. On streams and tailwaters, cast the in-line spinner at the head, middle or tail of pools with a fairly quick retrieve to keep the lure from hanging the bottom. Trout will come from a good distance to hit this lure in streams.

Fall is one of the best trout fishing times. The fish are coming so get out and enjoy them before the actual cold weather hits.