Trout Fishing in Kentucky (KY) – Top Spots with Map

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When you think about the top locations for trout fishing in the United States, nowhere on the list would probably include anywhere in Kentucky. While not known for being a huge trout state, there are actually some great places to catch some big trout here. 

Trout Fishing in Kentucky (KY) - Top Spots with Map

The state of Kentucky is home to countless lakes, streams, and rivers that the department of wildlife keeps stocked full of trout. As long as you know some of the basic rules and regulations, you should have no problem finding a great place to fish and catching some trout.

Kentucky is a great trout state if you just get out there and explore some of its streams and rivers that are managed for trout. If you are new to Kentucky or are planning a trip there, here are just a few of the best locations that offer some amazing trout fishing!

Top Fishing Locations in Kentucky (KY)

1. Cumberland River

This 75 mile river runs below Cumberland Lake and is a popular fly fishing destination. It receives yearly stockings of both rainbow and brown trout, making it a great choice for trout anglers wanting to target these two species.

While there are plenty of places to wade in this river, it is recommended to fish this river by boat. A boat will help navigate the long stretches of the river and make it possible to fish hard to reach water that other anglers stuck on shore cannot access. 

Trout fishing in Cumberland river (KY)
Cumberland River (KY)

Access can be tricky on this river, which is another great reason to bring a boat. While not the easiest place to fish for the casual angler who wants to fish from shore, all of the extra effort can produce some big fish out of this river.

2. Otter Creek

Otter Creek is located outside of Fort Knox and receives over 15,000 fish stocked annually. The best access to this little creek is through Otter Creek park, and you will have plenty of fishable water to find some trout to catch. All of these fish are usually hungry and easy to catch. 

There are some excellent bank and wade fishing found at this stream, and it is a great place in particular for fly fishermen to get some casts in. Brown and rainbow trout are found throughout all stretches of this stream, and after the catch and release season ends you can catch some big trout to serve on your dinner table. 

Trout fishing in Otter Creek (KY)
Otter Creek (KY)

There are around 10 miles of Otter Creek that is catch and release only, and this section is your best bet for trophy sized fish. Other sections also produce big trout, so a serious angler should explore these waters as much as possible.

3. Peter Creek

Another great, medium quality trout stream that can produce the occasional giant, Peter Creek is found in Barren County. There are about 8 miles of trout fishing water and it is stocked yearly on a regular basis.

There are no special regulations on Peter Creek, so any angler who wants to experience stream trout fishing is encouraged to come to try their luck here. With plenty of deep pools and shallower water, anglers will find a variety of fishing challenges to up their skill level.

Because the landscape is different, Peter Creek sometimes does not hold water cold enough to keep trout in year round (although trout fishing is open year round here). The state of Kentucky combats this by stocking it to the brim full of catchable fish.

4. Rock Creek

Probably one of the best trout fishing streams in the state, Rock Creek is found in McCreary County. Because of its cold water and favorable conditions, this stream gets stocked more often and holds large numbers of trout.

Rock Creek is a beautiful, scenic waterway that just happens to fit the needs of trout perfectly. Anglers can expect to find fish there in good quantity and better sizes than in many other stocked streams.

 Like many streams in this vicinity, Rock Creek is very clear, bounded by huge boulders and rock outcroppings, and is best suited to belly-tubes or wading. No matter what an angler is looking for, there is probably something in Rock Creek that they will like. 

5. Trammel Fork

A high-quality western trout stream, Trammel Fork gets quite a bit of angler attention, and rightfully so. First, it gets stocked full of rainbows April through September, totaling around 10,000 rainbow trout.

While no special regulations are in place on Trammel Fork, it is one of the 13 Kentucky streams where brown trout are also released once a year. On this waterway, 400 browns go in annually.

Most of the streams where browns can do well include some deeper pools with a little heavier shoreline cover. Trammel Fork has both and stays pretty cold year ’round. This stream can and does produce some big fish for the angler patient enough to find them.

When Does Trout Season Start in Kentucky

Depending on the waters, Kentucky offers many different trout fishing opportunities year round for anglers to enjoy. Many fishermen will find that there are plenty of places to go where you don’t need to worry about season dates and just pay attention to the stocking dates.

While Kentucky does offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to its trout seasons, there are still some special regulation waters to be aware of. For a full detailed list of the rules, season dates, and regulations, check out Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://fw.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

How Much Is a Fishing License in Kentucky

There are many different options when it comes to fishing licenses in Kentucky. Each one comes with its own price and expiration date. 

  • A 1-day fishing license will cost $7.00 for a resident and $15.00 for a nonresident per day.
  • An annual fishing license for residents of the state costs $23.00 and $55.00 for non-residents.
  • No matter what license you buy, you will also need to purchase a $10.00 trout permit as well.

To see a full list of all of the available licenses and fees, visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ website at https://fw.ky.gov/Licenses/

Where to Buy a Fishing License in Kentucky

To buy a fishing license in Kentucky, you can access the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ website and purchase it directly online. You can then print out your license and start fishing. To buy a fishing license in person, you can visit a number of establishments around the state. To find one near you, visit https://app.fw.ky.gov/VendorLocations/ and search for your desired county to find every license vendor in the area. 

Final Thoughts

Kentucky may not be at the top of the list as far as trout destinations go, but many would be surprised at all of the different trout fishing opportunities found around the state. Take some time to go and fish a few of them and I think that you would be surprised at just how many good fish that you catch.

Trout Fishing in the US

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