A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: As wet weather continues, monitor lake and river levels for fishing success

Our wet spring continues.

Many of the state’s best fishing lakes are very high now, and localized flooding is likely to keep anglers off streams and rivers for some time. Tuesday’s wave of heavy rainstorms, on top of an already saturated ground, brought another surge of runoff.

Since mid-March, lake and river levels have been going up and down dramatically. This unsettled weather pattern is driving anglers crazy. Monitoring lake and river levels on a daily basis is important to fishing success because you’ll know when fishing conditions are at their best.

Here are some telephone numbers for stream and lake level information, fishing reports, plus some website links:

• Anglers who fish Kentucky streams and rivers can get daily water level forecasts from the US Geological Survey website. Click on Statewide Streamflow Table.

There are 211 reporting stations. Water levels and discharge rates in cubic feet per second are plotted on graphs. Water information can be organized by Kentucky county or major river basin.

Wolf Creek Dam (Photo provided)

• The 75-mile Cumberland tailwaters below Wolf Creek Dam is home to Kentucky’s premier rainbow and brown trout fisheries.

Some of the best trout fishing of the year is in early spring as daily discharges begin to stabilize and waters warm into the 50s.

The most popular stretch of the river with trout fishermen is from the dam to Burkesville, Ky. Click here for current water conditions.

Additional information on how to fish the Cumberland tailwaters, and the details of river access (put-in and take-out points) in the upper 16 miles, are located at fw.ky.gov.

• Barren River Lake, 10,000 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 552. Winter pool is elevation 525. The lake information line is 270-646-2122.

• Buckhorn Lake, 1,230 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 782. Winter pool elevation is 757.

• Cave Run Lake, 8,270 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 730. Winter pool elevation is 724. Fishing report line is 606-783-7001.

• Dale Hollow Lake, 27,700 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 651. Winter pool elevation is 631. Daily fishing report line is 931-243-3408.

Green River Lake (Photo provided)

• Green River Lake, 8,210 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 675. Winter pool elevation 664. The lake information line is 270-465-8824.

• Herrington Lake, 1,860 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 730. Winter pool elevation is 715. The lake information line is 859-748-4685.

• Kentucky Lake, 160,300 surface acres (49,511 in Kentucky) at summer pool, elevation 359. Winter pool elevation is 354. To check daily elevations and projected levels of Kentucky Lake call 800-238-2264, select lake No. 33.

• Lake Barkley, 57,900 surface acres (42,020 in Kentucky) at summer pool, elevation 359. Winter pool elevation is 354. The lake information directory number is 270-362-8430.

• Lake Cumberland, 50,250 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 723. Winter pool elevation is 673. The lake information line is 606-678-8697.

• Laurel River Lake, 5,600 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 1,012. Winter pool elevation is 982. The lake information line is 606-878-9298.

• Taylorsville Lake, 3,050 surface acres at summer pool, elevation 547. Winter pool elevation is 545. The fishing report line is 502-477-8606.

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1Art Lander Jr.

Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for KyForward. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

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