When it comes to fly fishing, Kentucky has a lot to offer. The state is home to numerous rivers, lakes, and streams teeming with fish. And with the right conditions, you can find some great spots for fly fishing.
Some of the best places to fly fish in Kentucky include:
- Hatchery Creek
- Goose Creek
- Green River
- Hatchery Creek
- Kentucky Lake
- Laurel Creek
- Middle Fork Red River
- Peter Creek
- Rock Creek, and more!
Looking for some of the best places to fly fish in Kentucky? Look no further! In this blog post, we'll give you the lowdown on some of the best spots in the state for fly fishing, as well as some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your experience. So whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, read on to find out where you should be headed for your next fly fishing adventure in Kentucky!
Best Fly Fishing locations in Kentucky
1. Dix River Below Harrington Lake
The Dix River, a 79.3-mile (127.6 km) tributary of the Kentucky River in central Kentucky, starts its journey 5 miles (8km) west of Mount Vernon and snakes northwestward around Stanford and Danville before finally being impounded by the Dix Dam to form Herrington Lake reservoir.
Its water continues for another 2 miles (3 km), joining with the majestic Kentucky river near High Bridge - about 20 miles southwest of Lexington - amidst stunning Palisades scenery. The Dix River is a beautiful spot for fly fishing and is located below Harrington Lake in Kentucky. The river is full of trout, making it a popular spot for anglers.
The best time to fly fish in the Dix River is in the spring or fall when the water temperatures are cooler. The trout are most active during these times and are more likely to bite.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Dix River, Kentucky:
2. East fork Indian Creek
Nestled in the upper western corner of the majestic Red River Gorge Wilderness Area is East Fork Indian Creek, a renowned National Archaeological District and forever protected by its presence on the National Registry of Historic Places. East Fork Indian Creek is a Kentucky River tributary located in Powell and Menifee Counties. It is a beautiful spot for fly fishing, with clear water and various trout.
There are a few things to remember when fishing East Fork Indian Creek. The first is that the creek can be rocky, so wear sturdy shoes. The second is that the creek can be quite deep in spots, so waders may be necessary.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the East Fork Indian Creek, Kentucky:
3. Elkorn Creek
Elkhorn Creek, a sparkling 29.5 km (18.3 miles) river coursing through several counties in the heart of Kentucky, provides life to an expansive 1,294 square kilometers (499.5 miles). Its name originates from its two main tributaries that resemble the shape of antlers on a map view - symbolic magnificence for this meandering waterway's legacy!
Beginning just east of Lexington, the legendary North Elkhorn Creek winds its way for 75.4 miles (121.3 km) through Fayette and Scott counties before finally converging with South Elkhorn at the glorious Forks of the Elkhorn near Frankfort.
Starting in Fayette County, South Elkhorn Creek spans a whopping 52.8 miles (85 km) through Woodford, Scott, and Franklin counties until it reaches its destination - the Forks of the Elkhorn. It also defines the boundary between Scott and Woodford counties for most of its journey before finally converging with northwards-bound waters towards the Kentucky River past Frankfort city limits.
The Elkhorn is renowned for its abundance of smallmouth bass, but other species that inhabit the waters are catfish, rock bass, largemouth bass, carp, crappie, and bluegill. These fish make up a diverse palette in an already healthy habitat.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Elkhorn Creek, Kentucky:
4. Floyds Fork
Floyds Fork is a captivating 62-mile waterway located in Kentucky, just south and east of Louisville. Originating from Smithfield in Henry County and traversing through eastern Jefferson County before settling into the Salt River near Shepherdsville within Bullitt County, this remarkable stream spans 30 miles (48 km) throughout Jefferson county alone!
According to the Metropolitan Sewer District, Floyds Fork is one of the least contaminated watersheds in Jefferson County, as large-scale development has yet to reach its southeastern areas. To protect its natural and rural characteristics, much of Floyds Fork south of I-64 was assigned a rural residential zoning designation in 1993.
With its tranquil atmosphere and plentiful fish, it's no surprise that Floyd's Fork is teeming with smallmouth, spotted, and rock bass - not to mention a few largemouth bass. After putting your boat at the launch site, you'll be welcomed by an idyllic curve. Plenty of timber homes full of fat bass are ready to take your fly!
Recommended Fly Patterns for Floyds Fork, Kentucky:
5. Goose Creek
In northeastern Jefferson County, Goose Creek is encompassed by Barbourmeade to the northwest, Broeck Pointe to the northeast, Murray Hill to its south, and consolidated Louisville/Jefferson County at every other border.
Located just 11 miles (18 km) away from downtown Louisville's hustle and bustle - it provides a tranquil escape for anglers. Goose Creek is a beautiful spot for fly fishing in Central Kentucky. The creek is full of trout and is a popular spot for anglers.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Goose Creek, Kentucky:
6. Green River
The Green River, a 384-mile-long waterway that branches off the Ohio River, originates in Lincoln County in south-central Kentucky. Its tributaries include the Barren, Nolin, Pond, and Rough Rivers. The river was dubbed after Nathanael Greene - a distinguished general who served during America's Revolutionary War.
The Green River is one of Kentucky's best places to fly fish. The river is home to various fish, including trout, bass, and catfish.
The Green River flows through Mammoth Cave National Park and ends at the Ohio River. Its crystal clear waters are home to a large number of trout, with rainbows being most plentiful close to the dam and browns taking up residence farther downstream. Cutthroats also have their place in this amazing river ecosystem.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Green River, Kentucky:
- Poppers - Size 6
- Clouser Minnows - Size 0/1
- Muddy Buddy in Black - Size 6
7. Hatchery Creek
Hatchery Creek is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest and is stocked with rainbow trout. Hatchery Creek is a great place for beginners and experienced anglers alike. The best time to fly fish on Hatchery Creek is from late April to early May when the water temperatures are cool, and the trout are active.
Anglers can expect to catch a variety of trout on Hatchery Creek, including rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The average size of trout caught on Hatchery Creek is 12-14 inches, but larger fish are occasionally caught.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Hatchery Creek, Kentucky:
- Spanish Bullet in Olive - Size 14
- Rainbow Warrior Jigged - Size 14
- Pheasant Tail Jig Natural - Size 12
8. Kentucky Lake
Kentucky Lake is one of the best places to fly fish in the state. It is a man-made lake that was created in 1944 by the Tennessee Valley Authority. It is located in the western part of the state and is home to a variety of fish, including:
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Catfish, and
The average size of fish caught on Kentucky Lake is 12-14 inches. A Kentucky fishing license is required to fish on Kentucky Lake. Waders are not necessary but can be helpful if you want to wade into the lake to fish.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Kentucky Lake, Kentucky:
9. Laurel Creek
Located in Clay County, Kentucky, Laurel Creek is a 7.5-mile-long stream that feeds into the Goose Creek river. Its name is derived from the vibrant mountain laurel that adorns its banks and gives it an ethereal beauty. A staggering 5,600 acres of scenic lakefront await you at the reservoir, offering visitors over 206 miles of shoreline to explore.
The creek has many deep pools and pockets where you can land a hefty trout. The best time to fly fish is between April and July when the water levels are low, allowing for easier wading.
While the cool-water fisheries such as rainbow trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass thrive in the main lake's clear waters, those seeking warm-water species such as largemouth bass, spotted bass, bluegill, and crappie should venture to areas of higher water found mid-to-upper lake.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Laurel Creek Kentucky Fly Fishing:
10. Middle Fork Red River
Anglers from near and far come to Middle Fork Red River, a tributary of the Red River located just two miles outside Slade. During March, April, May, and October, up to 3,000 trout are stocked for your catch! To avoid any confusion regarding fishing sections or swimming spots, look for signs along the creek. With plenty of bank access no need for waders – but they could help you explore even more areas of this waterway!
Anglers can find the best fishing in the middle section of the Red River. It is a great spot to catch smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and sunfish due to its clear water conditions and high levels of human activity.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Middle Fork Red River, Kentucky:
11. Otter Creek
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, formerly known as Otter Creek Park, sprawls over 2,600 acres of land in Meade County and is located near Muldraugh and Fort Knox. Easily accessible by State Highway 1638 or U.S. 31W, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at this riverfront park!
For years, the Louisville City Government and later the merged Louisville Metro operated this park outside of Louisville. Both entities made numerous attempts to give or sell it off at different points in time, but without success until 2009, when Kentucky's Department of Fish and Wildlife acquired it.
After two years of closure for maintenance, the park reopened in 2011. It has since been managed by Kentucky's DFWR, which implements conservation initiatives within its jurisdiction.
During the summer, Otter Creek teems with various species of warm-water stream fish native to Kentucky, such as Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass. Furthermore, a wide array of sunfish inhabit this body of water, perfect for anglers looking for an enjoyable fishing experience.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Otter Creek, Kentucky:
12. Parched Corn Creek
Parched Corn Creek, nestled in the depths of Red River Gorge Wilderness Area, is an isolated refuge for trout fishing enthusiasts. With a 'catch and release only' policy in place, anglers can be sure that their quarry will remain safe within these waters. In recent years, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has seen fit to stock the creek with plentiful brook trout stocks - making it all the more desirable as a fly-fishing destination!
The secret to success at Parched Corn Creek is locating the deep pools, where most of the trout are found. The creek can be accessed via hiking trails at the Red River Gorge and is a favorite spot for anglers during late spring and into early summer months.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Parched Corn Creek, Kentucky:
13. Peter Creek
Peter Creek is situated only 21.4 miles from Pikeville in the beautiful state of Kentucky and is located near picturesque Freeburn. Fed by the Barren River, Peter Creek is a great spot for anglers who prefer trout fishing, as it's stocked with plenty of species.
Overall, Peter Creek is an excellent fishing destination as it offers plenty of bank access and provides exceptional smallmouth bass and walleye fishing for those willing to search for them. In addition, the creek is well-stocked with trout. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful afternoon or want to challenge yourself by catching brown and rainbow trout, Peter Creek is an ideal location for both types of fly fishermen.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Peter Creek, Kentucky:
14. Rock Creek
Meandering through southeastern Kentucky in the Stearns District, Rock Creek is a captivating stream teeming with stunning boulders and vibrant riffles, glides, and pools. This charming waterway is a Blue Ribbon trout fishery and an esteemed Kentucky Wild River that's sure to take your breath away!
Anglers are in luck as Kentucky Wildlife officials release more than 15,000 rainbow trout every year! During your adventures at Rock Creek, you may find fish within the size range of 8-12 inches; however, there's always a chance to catch holdovers that can grow up to exceeding 12 inches. These larger fishes tend to linger around fallen logs and deep riffles, so be sure to keep an eye out for those areas when fishing.
Rock Creek is a natural wonder in Kentucky, with its amazing granite boulders and tranquil riffles. As it's located far from civilization, you will find an abundance of wildlife, such as deer, wild turkeys, bears, and salamanders, roaming about - so be sure to keep your eyes open for these incredible creatures!
Furthermore, due to Rock Creek's lack of human interference, its aquatic inhabitants have little experience with anglers or hunters giving you a truly unique chance to take part in nature at her finest.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Rock Creek, Kentucky:
15. Swift Camp Creek
Tucked away on the eastern side of the Red River Gorge lies Swift Camp Creek, part of one of two federally protected wilderness areas known as Indian Creek and Clifty Wilderness. To access this serene creek, you can choose from an array of routes depending on how long or short your journey should be - from a leisurely stroll to a moderate hike.
KY-715 offers convenient access points, ranging from gravel pull-offs to official parking lots. Whether you're looking for a quick tour down to Swift Camp Creek or an extended backpacking excursion, numerous trailheads can accommodate whatever type of journey suits your needs - just be sure to grab a map before setting out! The creek is stocked with 1,000 rainbows each April and October; these fish must be released after catch due until May 31st.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Swift Camp Creek, Kentucky:
16. Trammel Fork
The two branches of Drakes Creek, Trammel Fork, and Middle Fork, emerge in the northern Highlands Rim area close to Tennessee's border in Allen County. They then merge together, forming the main stem of Drakes Creek as they venture into Warren County until their final destination at Barren River near Bowling Green.
The Drakes Creek ecosystem is quite distinct from the smallmouth streams of Kentucky, where the water level seldom reaches up to a grown-up's head. You can also find largemouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, bluegill, and even some muskellunge in Trammel Fork River, Middle Fork, and Drakes Creek.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Trammel Fork, Kentucky:
17. Cumberland River
Spanning 688 miles (1,107 km) and traversing 18,000 square miles (47,000 km2), the Cumberland River stands as a remarkable waterway connecting southern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. Flowing from its origin in the Appalachian Mountains to where it meets with the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky - accompanied by auxiliary streams such as Obey, Caney Fork, Stones & Red Rivers - The Cumberland is no doubt an exceptional landmark of America's Southern region.
Not only are the large cities of Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee, situated within the Cumberland River basin, but much of its system has also been changed to protect against possible flooding. Multiple dams hold back the main river and many significant tributaries.
Anglers using a spinning rod in the Cumberland River can experience exciting strikes from trophy brown and rainbow trout when they use an in-line spinner with red, white, or chartreuse colors. The river is also teeming with walleye, sauger, and oversized striped bass!
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Cumberland River, Kentucky:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in Kentucky?
When it comes to fly fishing, there is a certain amount of gear that you will need in order to be successful. In Kentucky, there are a few different types of fish that you can target, so you will need to make sure that you have the right gear for the job.
When it comes to fly fishing gear in Kentucky waters, if you are targeting smallmouth bass, then you will need a 6-9 weight rod with a floating line. For smaller fish, like trout, you can get away with a lighter rod, around 3-6 weight.
As for your flies, a few different patterns work well in Kentucky. For smallmouth bass, try using streamers or nymphs. For trout, try using dry flies or nymphs. And for panfish, just about any type of fly will work. A good pair of waders is always a good idea, as well as a pair of polarized sunglasses.
You'll also need a Kentucky fishing license. Residents of the area have the option to obtain a one-day or three-year license, while non-residents may choose from either a seven- or 15-day permit.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Kentucky
Kentucky is home to some of the best fly fishing in the country. With over 3,000 miles of streams and rivers, there is no shortage of places to fish. The state is also home to a variety of different fish, including trout, bass, and panfish.
Fly fishing in Kentucky can be a great experience for anglers of all levels. There are many different types of water to fish, from small creeks to large rivers. The state also has various hatches, so there is always something biting.
Where Is the Best Fishing in Kentucky?
There is a lot of great fly fishing to be had in Kentucky. Some of the best trout streams in the state can be found in the Cumberland River and Kentucky River systems. These rivers are home to a variety of different trout, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.
Some of the best fly fishing in Kentucky, The Cumberland River, is also home to a large population of smallmouth bass, which can be a blast to catch on a fly rod. For anglers looking for a little bit of everything, Lake Cumberland is a great choice.
This massive lake has over 50,000 acres of surface area and is full of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striper bass, crappie, and catfish. There are also several different types of panfish, including bluegill and sunfish.
Where Can I Go Trout Fishing in Kentucky?
The Bluegrass State is home to some of the best fly fishing spots in the United States. Whether you're a beginner or an expert angler, there are plenty of places to drop a line. With Blue Ribbon streams and renowned tailwaters, there's something for everyone!
There are many great places to go trout fishing in Kentucky. One of the best is the Cumberland River, home to a large trout population. The river also has a variety of different types of fish, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.
Another great spot for trout fishing is the Kentucky River. This river is also home to a variety of different trout, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. If you're looking for a little bit of everything, Lake Cumberland is a great choice.
Does Kentucky Have Good Trout Fishing?
Kentucky is home to some of the best trout fishing in the United States. The state is full of Blue Ribbon streams and tailwaters, so anglers of all levels can find a spot that meets their needs. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks several different spots for fly fishing throughout the state.
Some of the best trout fishing in Kentucky is on the Red River, which runs through the state, and is a perfect spot for trout fishing. This river has large populations of brown and rainbow trout, as well as smallmouth bass and musky.
The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River is another great place to go fly fishing in Kentucky. This river has huge numbers of rainbow and brown trout, as well as smallmouth bass. The Green River is also a great spot for fly fishing in Kentucky. This river has huge populations of rainbow and brown trout, and it's not uncommon to see musky and walleye here as well.
Kentucky is home to some of the best trout fishing in the United States. Whether you're a beginner or an expert angler, there are plenty of places to drop a line and have a great time fly fishing. From Lake Cumberland to the Red River, Kentucky has something for everyone!