WESTERN KY – With Valentine’s Day upon us, only a few weeks remain on your current annual fishing license. The new license year begins March 1.
 
This coming year presents some new opportunities to catch rainbow trout, blue catfish, redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers, and white crappie.
 
Black crappie now dominate the population in Taylorsville Lake, and a good spawn last year should lead to good fishing for blacks in the coming years. Also, three years of white crappie stockings should lead to great fishing this spring.
 
“The stocked white crappie are doing pretty good,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “They are growing to about 9 inches long in less than two years. We found a few white crappie over the 9-inch limit last year, so there should be more for anglers to catch this year.”
 
White crappie stockings will continue at Taylorsville Lake and Kentucky Lake this year as well as eastern Kentucky’s Carr Creek and Paintsville lakes.
 
Anglers report catching keeper black crappie by walking the bank near the Settler’s Trace access and casting Roadrunners and lime-green curly-tailed grubs at stickups and flooded timber.
 
The blue catfish at Taylorsville Lake are doing well. “An angler caught a 48 pounder out of Taylorsville last year,” Buynak said. “We starting stocking them at Barren in 2010 and they are doing well there and also at Dewey Lake.”
 
Blue catfish fight hard and taste great. They like live or fresh dead bait. Cut bait made from gizzard shad or skipjack herring entices hungry blue catfish as do live shad.
 
“We’ve also stocked blue catfish in Wilgreen Lake since 2009 and they are doing pretty well,” Buynak said. The 169-acre lake provides excellent largemouth bass fishing and decent fishing for bluegill and redear sunfish.
 
“We’ve stocked redear sunfish in Yatesville and Fishtrap lakes and they should be coming on,” Buynak said. Both of these lakes offer excellent fishing for bluegill and should provide bountiful redear fishing as the stocked fish proliferate. Yatesville Lake has excellent bluegill numbers while Fishtrap Lake holds trophy bluegill in the 11- to 12-inch range.
 
Louisville area anglers will soon have new winter and early spring trout fishing with excellent public access at a stream close to town. The fisheries division plans to stock a total of 7,500 rainbow trout in March, April and October of this year in Floyd’s Fork of Salt River. Miles Park off U.S. 60 (Shelbyville Road) offers bank and wading access to Floyd’s Fork. Access will improve as the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork project continues over the next couple of years.
 
In-line spinners, small suspending jerkbaits in chrome, chartreuse or orange colors fished on 4-pound test with spinning gear score well on rainbows in early spring.
 
Kentucky anglers who want catch fish close to home need to visit one of the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lakes. Lakes in this program regularly receive stockings of trout and catfish. Fisheries personnel for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife monitor the largemouth bass and sunfish populations in these lakes and stock these species if needed to maintain consistent fishing. These lakes make ideal places to take family members, children and beginners fishing with an excellent chance of catching something.
 
Camp Ernst Lake in Boone County, Madisonville City Park Lake North in Hopkins County, Millennium Park Pond in Boyle County, Whitehall Park Lake in Madison County, Waymond Morris Park Lake in Daviess County along with Carlson and Dickerson lakes at Ft. Knox in Meade County are new additions to the FINs program for 2012. For more information on the FINs lakes, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife homepage on the internet at fw.ky.gov or pick up a free copy of the 2012 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, available wherever fishing licenses are sold.
 
Get out and wet a line this spring and enjoy these new fishing opportunities. Shirt sleeve weather is just around the corner, but don’t forget to purchase your 2012 Kentucky annual fishing license if you plan to fish after March 1.
 
Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

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