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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Taylorsville Lake one of Kentucky’s most popular recreational resevoirs

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about Kentucky’s major resevoirs

In part because of its close proximity to Kentucky’s largest metropolitan area, Taylorsville Lake is arguably central Kentucky’s most popular reservoir.

Located about 25 miles southeast of Louisville in Spencer, Anderson, and Nelson Counties, Taylorsville Lake offers excellent fishing and is a convenient outdoor escape.

The main access highways are Ky. 44 and Ky. 248, and the lake is also in easy driving distance from Shelbyville, Frankfort and Lawrenceburg.

Impounded from the Salt River in 1983, the dam is 4 miles upstream of the city of Taylorsville and 60 miles from the Salt River’s confluence with the Ohio River.

Taylorsville Lake (Pjoto from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)


Taylorsville Lake is 3,050 acres at summer pool (elevation 547). The winter drawdown is minimal, only 2 feet, reducing the acreage to 2,930. At summer pool, the lake is 18 miles long with 75 miles of shoreline. Taylorsville Lake is relatively narrow, only 2,000 feet wide at its widest point, and is 75 feet deep at the dam.

State Park

Taylorsville Lake State Park, 1,200 acres, is open year-round. Its seasonal campground (April1 through December 15) has 60 campsites and two bathhouses.

The 24-mile trail system is open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.

For more information telephone 502-477-9713.

Lake Manager’s Office

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Resource Manager’s Office, Taylorsville Lake, 2825 Overlook Road, Taylorsville Lake, KY 40071, telephone 502-477-8882.

The daily lake information line is 502-477-8606.

Managing Fishery Biologist

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Central Fishery District, Jeff Crosby, District Biologist, 1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, telephone 800-858-1549.

(Photo courtesy of Taylorsville Lake Marina)


Taylorsville Lake Marina, open seasonally (April 1 to October 1), is 5 miles east of Taylorsville, off Ky. 2239. The address and telephone number are 1240 Settler’s Trace Road, Taylorsville, KY 40071, 502- 477-8766.

Boat Launching Ramps

There are three boat launching ramps on the lake in addition to the Settler’s Trace ramp at the marina. There is no fee to launch a boat at any of the ramps on the lake.

Van Buren boat ramp is 6 miles southwest of Mt. Eden, off Ky. 248. Chowning Lane boat ramp is 4 miles north of Chaplin, off Ky. 1066. Possum Ridge boat ramp is in Taylorsville Lake State Park, off Ky. 248.

Local Tourism Information

Spencer County/Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, 19 East Main Street, Box 555, Taylorsville, KY 40071, telephone 502-477-8369.


Taylorsville Lake is one of the most fertile lake in Kentucky, supporting populations of largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass, crappie, saugeye, bluegill and catfish.

Because of its closeness to metropolitan Louisville, Shelbyville, Frankfort and Lawrenceburg, Taylorsville Lake receives heavy fishing pressure.

The catfish fishery is rated good/excellent, and three species of catfish are present.

A blue catfish caught in Taylorsville Lake (KDFWR Photo)

Anglers have an opportunity to catch some huge blue catfish, 40 inches and larger. The population is stable, and live bait or cut bait (shad), is the best choice.

Fish the timbered coves in the spring, the heads of creeks in the fall, and points next to the old river channel year-round.

Channel catfish of all sizes are available and there are good numbers of flathead catfish.

The hybrid striped bass fishery is rated fair/good, and the population is fairly stable, with good numbers of fish over 15 inches in length. In spring and fall fish are in the headwaters. Early and late in the day there are jumps from July through September.

Trolling and casting crankbaits, or drifting live shad or shiners on planer boards, are good ways to catch hybrids spring through fall.

The largemouth bass fishery is rated good/excellent, with very good numbers of 12 to 15-inch fish good numbers of 15 to 19-inch fish.

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.

Some of the best fishing is in timbered coves. Concentrate efforts on primary points on the main lake and secondary points in the creeks.

The crappie fishery is rated good/excellent, with good numbers of fish at or above the 10-inch minimum size limit. Good spawns in recent years will ensure excellent fishing the near future.

The white bass fishery is rated fail/good, with many fish in the 8 to 12-inch size range.

The best fishing is in spring, when the white bass run starts at the headwaters of Taylorsville Lake. The run extends for about 10 miles up the Salt River in Anderson County. Their spring spawning run starts in late March when water temperatures approach 50 degrees.

Anglers can gain access to the Salt River at the Ky. 53 bridge at Glensboro, at the Anderson City Road bridge, off Ky. 44, and at the bridge on Dry Dock Road, off Ky. 44.

White bass first appeared in the lake in the early 1990s. Biologists admit they are puzzled about how white bass got established in Taylorsville Lake. It’s believed they were were illegally stocked by anglers. White bass were not found in any of the fish samples taken from the Salt River before Taylorsville Lake was built, and there is no mention in the scientific literature of anything other than a remnant population of white bass in the entire Salt River basin.

Several lures are a good choice, including white roostertail spinner, small crankbaits, slab spoons, and jigs, and when fishing at night on the main lake over lights, drifting live shiners or shad, are a good option.

The saugeye is Taylorsville Lake’s newest gamefish species.

The fishery is rated fair. Growth rates have been excellent, with some fish reaching about 18 inches, after just two growing seasons.

Initially stocked in 2015 at just 2 to 3 fish per acre, the lake is being stocked now at 20 fish per acre.

The bluegill fishery is rated good, and there are good numbers of fish 6 inches and longer. Fish for bluegills with live bait in timbered coves.

Taylorsville Lake is an easy drive for many central Kentuckians. With its beautiful scenery, varied outdoor opportunities and excellent fishing, it’s no wonder that the lake is tremendously popular.

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