Free Fishing Weekend June 6-7

Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday-Sunday, June 6- 7, across the Commonwealth.
“Free fishing weekend is a great tool for teaching kids how to fish,” said John Gutzeit, aquatic education coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “This is also a great time for those lapsed anglers who’ve gotten away from fishing to get fishing again and come back into the fold.”
Anglers across Kentucky may fish without a fishing license or need a trout permit on Free Fishing Weekend. Size and creel limits still apply during this time.

Port Oliver Yacht Club will host annual Huddleston Cup regatta on May 30-31

The Port Oliver Yacht Club on Barren River Lake will host its first regatta of the season, the Huddleston Cup, on Saturday- Sunday, May 30- 31.
Saturday, the Huddleston Cup will begin at 10 a.m. with a Skippers’ meeting, followed by the race, scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., and continuing to about 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, the regatta will begin at 10 a.m. with a Skippers’ meeting, followed by the beginning of the race at 11 a.m. It is set to end at 3 p.m.
Awards are set for Sunday at 4 p.m. at the club.
The Huddleston Cup regatta may be viewed from the water, Barren River Lake dam, Quarry Road Recreation Area, and Peninsula Dock and Marina.

Fishing Tournaments May 25- June 1

There are NO fishing tournaments scheduled for Barren River Lake May 25- June 1.

However, on Saturday, June 6, the Wal-mart BFL will return to Barren River Lake for a one-day open tournament, along with the open Rock County Fishing Team Tournament.

For more information on Barren River Lake fishing tournaments, click tournaments or click the link Barren River Lake Fishing Tournaments in the For More Information column at right.

Lifejackets are essentials for the lake

As you prepare to take to the water this Memorial Day, don’t forget the most important part of your trip- your life jackets.
Despite how good of a swimmer you may be, anything can happen while you are on the water that may prevent you from having a safe holiday.
The U.S. Coast Guard offers these tips on How to Choose the Right Life Jacket.
Modern life jackets are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Many are thin and flexible. Some are built right into fishing vests or hunter coats. Others are inflatable — as compact as a scarf or fanny pack until they hit water, when they automatically fill with air.
There’s no excuse not to wear a life jacket on the water!
Things to Know:
– Certain life jackets are designed to keep your head above water and help you remain in a position which permits proper breathing.
– To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and over must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well.
– All states have regulations regarding life jacket wear by children.
– Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. Special life jackets are available. To work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.
– Life jackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded.
– Life jackets must be properly stowed.
– A life jacket — especially a snug-fitting flotation coat or deck-suit style — can help you survive in cold water.
All Recreational Boats Must Carry Life Jacket:
All recreational boats must carry one wearable life jacket (Type I, II, III or Type V lifejacket) for each person aboard. A Type V lifejacket provides performance of either a Type I, II, or III lifejacket (as marked on its label) and must be used according to the label requirements. Any boat 16ft and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable lifejacket (Type IV lifejacket).
Lifejackets must be:
– Coast Guard approved,
– in good and serviceable condition, and
– the appropriate size for the intended user.
– Wearable lifejackets must be readily accessible.
– You must be able to put them on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire, etc.).
– They should not be stowed in plastic bags, in locked or closed compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them.
– The best lifejacket is the one you will wear.
– Though not required, a lifejacket should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. A wearable lifejacket can save your life, but only if you wear it.
– Throwable devices must be immediately available for use.

30th Glasgow Highland Games will be May 29-31 at Barren River Lake State Park

The Glasgow Highland Games will celebrate its 30th anniversary May 29-31 at the Games’ fields at Barren River Lake State Park.
The Games begin Friday, May 29, with the annual Lunch with the Chief (Hope-Vere Anderson of Clan Anderson) That evening is the “Rising of the Clans Torchlight Ceremony,” followed by the Ceilidh at the St. Andrew’s Field at the state park.
The Games’ Fields open at 7:30 a.m. CT on Saturday and 8:30 a.m. CT on Sunday.  Each day there is a variety of games, activities, musical performances, vendors, and clan tents.
Field tickets for Saturday are $15 for adults and $3 for children.
Field tickets for Sunday are $10 for adults and $3 for children.
Field tickets for Saturday and Sunday are $20 for adults and $5 for children.
Games’ Ticket Information
Games Schedule

Saturday Field Day Events
7:30 a.m.- St. Andrew’s & Strathbarren Fields Open – See Ticket Orders For Pricing
7:45 a.m.- Breakfast- Start your day with a hearty tasty meal.
9:00 a.m.- The following events begin:
– Golf Scramble- For details call 1-270-646-4653
– Professional Athletic Competitions Begin
– Amateur Athletic Events Begin
– Battle Ax Practice Throwing
– Children’s Games Registration
– Entertainment Pavilions open on both fields
– Seminars Begin- Check program schedule for locations and times
– Vendors Open on both fields
11:55 a.m.- Opening Ceremonies and Massed Bands – St. Andrew’s Fields
1:00 p.m.- All Competitions Continue on both fields
1:00 p.m.- Clan Tug Of War

Sunday Field Day Events
8:30 a.m.- St. Andrew’s & Strathbarren Fields Open
9:00 a.m.- Interdenominational Kirkin’ of Tartan Worship Service
10:00 a.m.- The following events begin:
– Professional Athletic Competitions Begin
– Battle Ax Practice Throwing
– Battle Ax Competition
– Children’s Games Registration
– Children’s Games Begins
– Entertainment Pavilions open on both fields
– Ladies Haggis Toss & Bonniest Knees Contests and times
– Vendors Open on both fields
– Activities and demonstrations begin and continue all day
– Parade of Tartans – Come march with your Clan
– Time Period Activities and Demonstrations begin
4:00 p.m.- Chief’s Closing Remarks

No fishing tournaments May 18-24

There are NO fishing tournaments scheduled for Barren River Lake May 18-24.

For more information on Barren River Lake fishing tournaments, click tournaments or click the link Barren River Lake Fishing Tournaments in the For More Information column at right.

Select the correct kayak, boat for you

By Lee McClellan
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
The first time I fished a stream out of a kayak, you may have heard the oaths I swore in Tennessee. It was a short, cockpit or sit-in style kayak. I had a hard time controlling its tippy tendencies.
After an hour or so, my back began to hurt trying to keep the boat in position to properly fish. I had little room to stow my rod and tackle. I eventually bought a personal pontoon boat for my stream fishing, forsaking a kayak because of this bad experience.
It wasn’t the kayak’s fault, however. It was mine. I was unaware of the differences in styles of kayaks.
I fished that day in a whitewater performance kayak, designed for quick maneuverability in intense situations such as fast water and strong currents. They are not for fishing. Fishing from one is like complaining about the difficulty of bass fishing from a cuddly cabin style boat.
The summer-like winds now blowing across Kentucky inspire thoughts of paddling a clear, cool stream. Many see kayaks strapped to the tops of vehicles or poking out the end of a pickup bed at this time of year, stirring a fever to finally buy their own kayak.
“The first question I ask is, ‘Where are you going to paddle 51 percent of the time,’” said Nathan Depenbrock, co-owner of Canoe Kentucky, a canoe livery and retail shop along the banks of central Kentucky’s famed Elkhorn Creek. “Do they plan to paddle flatwater on small lakes, moving water on streams, white water or just occasionally paddle with their family?”
Depenbrock then asks the potential buyer what they plan to do with the boat. Do they want mainly to fish, simple cruising, photography, birding or challenge rapids?
“They must also demo, or test drive, the boat before buying,” he said. “They need to get in it and kick the tires. It is just like buying a car. And, just like vehicles, there are different grades of quality. You get what you pay for when buying a kayak.”
For those who mainly plan to fish, a sit-on-top design is hard to beat. “We preach that comfort is the biggest thing for your boat,” Depenbrock said. “You want your day of fishing to end when the fish quit biting, not because your back hurts.”
Depenbrock suggests sit-on-top kayaks not only offer great comfort, but the most safety. “They are the most stable boats and the easiest to get in and out of,” he said. “They are also easy to accessorize for fishing. They work well for just simple cruising, too.”
Boat length is another important factor to consider. “In Kentucky, a 12-foot model is the one magical length, the single universal length,” Depenbrock said. “An 11-foot model offers a little more maneuverability, but it is not as good as a 12-foot model.”
Depenbrock said a 10-foot long kayak is not a good choice for an average adult. “That length boat is really unstable for a fully grown adult,” he said. “They are okay for children, but you are better off with at least an 11-foot kayak.”
A 13- or 14-foot kayak works well for slackwater paddling, but doesn’t have the maneuverability to tackle flowing water. They are much harder to get onto the roof rack of a vehicle and too long to put in the bed of a pick-up, Depenbrock said.
The choice of paddle is important as well. Don’t buy a nice kayak and then buy a cheap, poor performing paddle. “It is like buying a Corvette and putting retread tires on it,” Depenbrock said. “Your paddle is as important as your boat. It is the engine of your boat. You need the appropriate blade style and must consider the material the paddle is made of.”
Depenbrock said the more rigidity and less weight in a paddle, the better. A rigid paddle is more efficient while a lighter paddle is less tiring. “You are going to make a few thousand strokes in a day, so efficiency is extremely important,” he said.
He also recommends getting a kayak with bright blades for those who plan to paddle where power boats operate.
“Kayaks become awfully little where there are power boats, they can easily get lost in the waves,” Depenbrock said. “I would also recommend a flag for paddling in areas where power boats operate.”
Kayakers should always wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD). “You must choose the right boat, paddle and lifejacket,” Depenbrock said. “I much prefer a traditional lifejacket for anglers with foam floatation and a horse collar that holds your head up. With the inflatable belt packs, you have to slip it over your head after it inflates and that may be impossible in some situations.”
Specially designed lifejackets for kayak anglers make a great choice. They keep you cool, have nice fold out pockets to hold a bag of soft plastic lures, hooks, pliers, jigs and other gear and still provide excellent floatation.
Don’t do like I did and try to fish from a whitewater kayak. Select the proper boat, paddle and lifejacket. Years of great fishing and memories awaits you.

Author Lee McClellan is a nationally 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.

Quarry Road Recreation Area, beach closed for clean up, maintenance

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Barren River Lake has temporarily closed the Quarry Road Recreation Area and beach for clean up and maintenance due to recent flooding.
The large amount of debris and underwater obstructions that cannot be seen are causing unsafe conditions.
The Corps of Engineers anticipates that the Quarry Road Recreation Area will be open for recreation by Friday, May 22.
In the meantime, those wishing to bank fish are encouraged to visit the Tailwater or Port Oliver Recreation Areas.


Catfish are spawning and aggressive

By Kevin Kelly 
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
A stable weather pattern this week brought an early taste of summer to Kentucky as high temperatures topped 80-degrees on consecutive days.
Warmer weather and water temperatures climbing into the 70s tell catfish that it’s time to spawn, and anglers who pursue them know from experience the period from late spring into early summer is prime time.
“The next couple of weeks look good for catfish because they’re going to be aggressive and feeding,” said Kevin Frey, eastern fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish are the most sought after catfish species in Kentucky, and the most widely distributed of those is the channel catfish.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources annually stocks roughly 100,000 channel catfish across the state. About 30 percent of that amount is allocated to Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lakes.
A 7- to 9-foot medium to heavy action spinning rod with a matching spinning reel spooled with 20-pound line and outfitted with a simple slip sinker rig is a capable outfit. To assemble the rig, tie a 4/0 circle hook onto an 18-inch fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. Tie a barrel swivel onto the other end of the leader, then take the main line and thread it through a ½- to ¾-ounce egg sinker and plastic bead before tying the line to the other eyelet of the barrel swivel.
Channel catfish have olive-brown to bluish-slate backs, white bellies and pale gray sides, often adorned with small black spots. Adults range from 12 to 32 inches long. They scavenge the bottom using their whiskers to sense the presence of food.
Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cut pieces of shad or skipjack herring, shrimp and scented dough baits are among the most widely-used and productive baits for channel catfish. Try fishing these baits in areas with undercut banks, stumps or logs and rocky banks and points.
“Catfish are going to look for a cavity to get back in to spawn,” Balsman said. “They get in there and lay their eggs and protect those eggs.”
Low-light periods – such as around dawn and dusk or at night – tend to be the best times to catch catfish.
“Sandy clay shallow areas are another alternative especially if there’s some vegetation,” Frey said. “Those shallow water areas are still going to be good into June. As the water continues to warm, catfish will come in to the shoreline at night and drift back out to the open water during the daytime.”
From Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in the west to the Ohio River to Dewey Lake, Fishtrap Lake and Yatesville Lake in eastern Kentucky, there is an abundance of places across Kentucky holding excellent populations of channel catfish.
The “Where to Fish” feature on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s website is a handy tool for those looking to find a place to fish for catfish. As an example, anglers can search for waterbodies that hold channel, blue and flathead catfish and offer bank or fishing pier access. The department’s annual “Fishing Forecast” is another valuable resource available online.
The next several weeks are as good a time as any for catfishing in Kentucky.

Fishing Tournaments for May 11-17

There are three fishing tournaments scheduled for Barren River Lake May 11-17.

Saturday, May 16-
The River Cities Bass Club will host a bass tournament Saturday, May 16, at 6 a.m. CT from the Barren River Lake State Park ramp, with weigh-in set for 5 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an CLOSED tournament.
For more information, contact David Rigsby at or 606 739-6847.

Saturday, May 16-
The Indy Bass Club will host a bass tournament Saturday, May 16, at 8 a.m. CT from T boat ramp, with weigh-in set for 4 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an CLOSED tournament.
For more information, contact Mike Botos at or 317-966-8774.

Sunday, May 17-
The Port Oliver Bass Club will host a bass tournament Sunday, May 17, at 6 a.m. CT from the Port Oliver Recreation Area boat ramp, with weigh-in set for 2 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an OPEN tournament. Entry is $20 per fisherman.
For more information, contact Chuck Bennington at or 270-622-5137.

Sunday, May 17-
The Indy Bass Club will continue its bass tournament Sunday, May 17, at 8 a.m. CT from The Narrows boat ramp, with weigh-in set for 4 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an CLOSED tournament.
For more information, contact Mike Botos at or 317-966-8774.

For more information on Barren River Lake fishing tournaments, click tournaments or click the link Barren River Lake Fishing Tournaments in the For More Information column at right.