Baileys Point, Walnut Creek campgrounds are open for the season

Baileys Point Campground and Walnut Creek Campground are open for the season. The Barren River Lake State Park Campground opened April 1.
The Narrows Campground is scheduled to open May 14, while the Tailwater Campground is set to open April 30.

Baileys Point Campground

Baileys Point is the largest campground on Barren River Lake. It is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Baileys Point offers 204 reservable campsites (150 standard electric, 53 nonstandard electric, 1 group shelter electric). It has water hookups, electrical hookups, showers, recreation activities, trails and nearby swimming. Baileys Point also has washers and dryers and a concession store with limited supplies. Click Reservations to book your stay at Baileys Point.

Walnut Creek Campground

The Walnut Creek Campground is privately owned and offers 33 reservable campsites. Some sites have electric hookups, while others are primitive. Restrooms are portables. For more information on the Walnut Creek Campground or to make reservations, log on to Walnut Creek Campground.


Fishing tournaments for April 13-19

There are three fishing tournaments scheduled for Barren River Lake this week.

April 18-
The Butler County Bassmasters  will host a tournament Saturday, April 18, at 6:30 a.m. CT from Port Oliver Recreation Area ramp, with weigh-in set for 2:30 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an open tournament; however, there is a $10 membership fee required.
For more information, contact Daniel Cardwell at 270-999-1994 or email at
April 18-
The F.T.F. Open Bass Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 7 a.m. CT from Port Oliver Recreation Area ramp, with weigh-in set for 2 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an open tournament.
For more information, contact Morris Hogue at 270-331-4117.
April 19-
The Port Oliver Bass Club  will host a tournament Sunday, April 19, at 6 a.m. CT from Port Oliver Recreation Area ramp, with weigh-in set for 2 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an open tournament. Entry fee is $20 per fisherman.
For more information, contact Chuck Bennington at 270-622-5137 or at

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.

Deals available for lodge and camping

Barren River Lake State Park is offering a variety of deals for staying in the Louie B. Nunn Lodge and the park’s campground. Deals are limited, so take advantage of them while you can.
You can find more deals on the BarrenRiverblog’s Deals page.

Spring Fever Bed and Breakfast Special thru April 30
One night in a room in the park’s Louie B. Nunn Lodge and breakfast for two in the lodge’s Driftwood Restaurant for $69.99, plus tax and resort fee, valid Sunday – Thursday, through April 30, 2015. Call 270-646-2151. for reservations.
Subject to availability. Not valid during special events or holiday weekends.
Not to be combined with other offers.

Camper Appreciation Weekend April 24-26; Two nights for Price of One
Camp two nights for the price of one atBarren River Lake State Park Campground during Campers Appreciation Weekend.
The state park campground has 100 campsites (98 electric, 2 tent).
This deal is available for all campsites.
Nature Fest activities will be offered for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
Make reservations online through ReserveAmerica or by calling the park at 270-646-2151.

State Park Campground offers Stay One Night, Get Second FREE!
Barren River Lake State Park Campground is offering a Stay One Night, Get the Second Night FREE, April 1 – May 21, Sunday through Thursday.
The state park campground has 100 campsites (98 electric, 2 tent).
This deal is available for all campsites.

When booking online through ReserveAmerica or by calling the park at 270-646-2151, use the promo code SPRING15.
The offer excludes Camper Appreciation Weekend, April 24-26.


Time to catch smallmouth in streams

By Lee McClellan
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Many of us who remember the March 1997 floods in Kentucky recently had uncomfortable pangs of foreboding as storm systems dropped heavy amounts of rain freight-trained across the state.
It looked like another 1997 for a day or so. Small, normally docile neighborhood creeks suddenly filled basements, eroded roadways and carried away belongings. Lexington set an April record for rainfall over the span of one day.
“The biggest problem from all of this rain is not only is the flow too high to fish, but it will take awhile for the clarity to come back,” said David Baker, stream biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Temperatures are in the mid-to high 50s on some streams, so it will soon be a good time for fishing. We just need a little more time.”
Baker believes smallmouth bass waters lying downstream of major lakes such as Green River or Barren River will likely be blown out for a considerable time. Smaller streams clear and return to normal much quicker than larger streams and make the best option for smallmouth bass right now.
“This is a time when you can catch some of the biggest stream smallmouth of the year as they prepare to spawn,” Baker said. “They are a little more accessible and easier to catch.”
Wading is an excellent way to fish smaller streams for smallmouth bass, especially after the recent high water events likely undercut many streamside trees, tipping them over into the stream, providing potentially dangerous impediments to paddling.
The streams in south-central Kentucky near Bowling Green in the Barren River drainage such as the Gasper River and the Drakes Creek system are good places to try.
“The Gasper usually will come down pretty quickly,” Baker said. “We do see smallmouths up to 18 inches and we get reports of 20 inchers from Gasper.”
Baker said the Drakes Creek system drains a large geographical area in karst topography and takes longer to flow out, but contains a healthy population of smallmouth bass from 12 to 16 inches long, with a few in the 18-inch range.
The Drakes Creek system and Gasper River are part of the Warren County Blueways, a cooperative project from governmental agencies, Western Kentucky University and other groups to provide access to streams in south-central Kentucky. The website at contains good information on access points with a detailed map.
Baker said those streams flowing through public land in eastern Kentucky provide productive wading fishing opportunities for smallmouths. The Middle Fork of the Red River inside Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Powell County holds a decent population of smallmouth bass with good access.
Rock Creek inside the Daniel Boone National Forest in McCreary County offers wading anglers easy access with roads paralleling the creek for most of its length. The best fishing is upstream of Rock Creek’s junction with White Oak Creek. Rock Creek is known as one of Kentucky’s true mountain trout streams, but the creek holds a stable population of smallmouth bass.
The Russell Fork in Pike County offers several productive public wading spots for smallmouths. The public river access at Ratliff Hole (also known as Potters Ford) inside the boundaries of Breaks Interstate Park on KY 80 south of Elkhorn City makes one of the most scenic wading spots in Kentucky.
Wading anglers may also access the Russell Fork at Carson Island Access via Carson Island Road off KY 80, just east of Elkhorn City. The Elkhorn City Park in downtown Elkhorn City grants anglers public wading access to a productive stretch of the Russell Fork.
Elkhorn Creek in Franklin County fishes well even when the water is up a bit. Anglers may wade fish the Elkhorn at T.N. Sullivan Wildlife Management Area off KY 1262 and at the two Voluntary Public Access spots near the junction of Peaks Mill Road (KY 1900) and KY 1262.
All the lures you need for a successful wade easily fit inside a cigar box. A pack of 1/8-ounce leadheads, some black finesse worms, a bag of green-pumpkin tube baits along with a bag of 4-inch Senko type soft plastic jerkbaits in the same color all catch stream smallmouths. Add a floating/diving minnow lure like a Rapala and you’re set.
“Look for gravelly bottoms adjacent to the current,” Baker said. “A lot of times you can see the smallmouths in spring. Pitch a tube or soft plastic bait rigged on a leadhead near them and they will attack. Also, work areas adjacent to current with a soft plastic jerkbait or a floating/diving minnow for smallmouths.  The thing I love most about smaller streams is that any cast can be a good one.”
For more information about smallmouth streams in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website. Click on the “Fish” tab, followed by the “Recreational Fishing” tab and then the “Kentucky Smallmouth Streams” tab under the “Where to Fish” banner.
The license year expired Feb. 28, so remember to purchase your fishing license before fishing this year.


Spring is time for trophy largemouth bass

By Kevin Kelly
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
A winter back-loaded with cold, snow and high water can make the season’s stay seem unusually long and especially harsh.
The first warm days of the year never come soon enough. But when they do, a feeling of euphoria sweeps over anglers because springtime offers some of the year’s best opportunities for trophy largemouth bass.
“Fall is a great opportunity to catch a big one, but your best shot at the biggest bass of the year or your life is right now,” said Geoff Roberts, a conservation educator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and an avid bass angler.
The longer periods of daylight and the warming water temperatures of springtime tell largemouth bass that it’s time to move shallow. It’s also at this time when the big bass are at their heaviest, especially ravenous females that must pack on weight in preparation for spawning.
Kentucky boasts numerous lakes that hold “good” to “excellent” populations of largemouth bass. In its annual Fishing Forecast, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife classified almost 40 fisheries in those two categories.
Anchoring the list of “excellent” largemouth bass options are Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in the west and Barren River Lake in the southwest. Also making the cut were 760-acre Beshear Lake in Caldwell and Christian counties; 8,270-acre Cave Run Lake in Bath, Menifee, Rowan and Morgan counties; and 784-acre Cedar Creek Lake in Lincoln County; 32-acre Fishpond Lake in Letcher County; 767-acre Lake Malone in Muhlenburg, Todd and Logan counties; 169-acre Wilgreen Lake in Madison County and 36-acre Spurlington Lake in Taylor County.
Fish population survey work conducted by fisheries biologists last May on Cedar Creek Lake found vast numbers of 19- to 21-inch largemouth bass. There is a one-fish daily creel and 20-inch minimum size limit on the lake. Anglers have been catching bass in the creeks, and the areas around the KY 1770 bridge and mid-lake boat ramp near old U.S. 150 are two proven spots in a lake full of them.
“The number of really large fish is impressive,” said John Williams, southeastern fisheries district biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “The area by the U.S.150 ramp has a lot of cover and shallow water with access to deep water.”
Wilgreen Lake’s bass population stood out in last year’s research in the northeastern fisheries district. It yielded good numbers of fish over 15 inches and 20 inches, but bass don’t have to search hard for food with gizzard shad prevalent in the lake.
“You can fish pretty much across the whole dam on that lake,” said Tom Timmermann, northeastern fisheries district biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We see some nice fish across the dam. That would be a nice place to try. If you’re fishing Wilgreen, Lake Reba is just on the other side of Richmond. It has nice numbers of fish over 15 inches as well, and half of that is bank accessible. Those two lakes being the size that they are, it might make for a good day to fish one in the morning and then try to fish the other in the evening.”
Grayson Lake in Carter and Elliott Counties showed improvement last year, earning the 1,512-acre reservoir up-and-comer status in this year’s Fishing Forecast.
“There are some nice fish in there, but it’s a tricky lake to fish,” Timmermann said. “Grayson Lake and Cave Run aren’t that dissimilar in the fact that they’re deep, clear, eastern Kentucky mountain lakes. If you don’t put your time in to learn your spots you could struggle. But those guys that know what they’re doing on Grayson tend to have fun with it.”
Bass typically start to move shallow when the water temperature ranges from 55 to 65 degrees with farm ponds and smaller lakes warming up first.
“At a certain point, you’ve got fish in all three phases: pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn,” Roberts said. “If you try targeting the pre-spawners and you strike out doing that, try something a little different like sight fishing. And if you can’t get anything going there, look for the post-spawn fish.”
Good lures to have on hand in early spring are jig and trailer combinations, spinnerbaits, square-billed and lipless crankbaits, suspending jerkbaits and other shad imitations.
Try to intercept bass at spots that lead to spawning areas, Roberts said, such as deeper points and the deeper stretches of banks that lead into embayments, creeks or a big pocket, and work back.
“What you want to try to find are basically what bass use as highways,” he said. “Bass like to feel secure and they like to have ambush points, so they’re going to use whatever cover is available as they work their way back in until they go to where they’re going to spawn. And then they’re going to do the exact same thing coming back out.
“When they do get shallow, look for any stumps, lay down or structure like that because that’s what they’re either going to be spawning next to or hanging out by either in preparation for spawning or immediately after they spawn.”
Spring fishing is grateful fishing, and the thrill of an early spring reunion with the water never grows old. The pull of a trophy largemouth bass only makes it better.

April 6-12 Fishing Tournaments

There is one fishing tournament scheduled for Barren River Lake this week.
April 11-
The Barren River Fishing League will host a tournament Saturday, April 11, at 6 a.m. CT from Port Oliver Recreation Area ramp, with weigh-in set for 2 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an open tournament.
For more information, contact Ronnie Stinson at 270-618-1436 or email at
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.


Easter Sunrise Service set at 6:30 a.m.

An Easter Sunrise Service is scheduled for Easter at 6:30 a..m. at Barren River Lake State Park. The non-denominational service will be at the pavilion next to the tennis courts near the Louie B. Nunn Lodge. The service will include congregational singing and a short sermon. Dress is casual.
The park’s Driftwood Restaurant will be serving its regular breakfast buffet immediately following the service.

Barren River Lake State Park campground opens for the camping season on April 1

The Barren River Lake State Park campground opens Wednesday April 1, for the season. It is scheduled to close Oct. 31.
The campground has 100 sites (98 standard electric, two tents).
The campground is located just inside the park and has direct ramp access to Barren River Lake.
Click for Reservations.
Click for Campground Map.
Click for Site Availability.

Click for Buy One Night Get the Second One Free! offer.
Also, check the Deals Page of this blog for more offers.

March 30- April 5 Fishing Tournaments

There is one fishing tournament scheduled for Barren River Lake this week.
April 4-
The Allen County- Scottsville High School Up All Night bass tournament, to benefit the school’s graduation night party for seniors and their guests, will takeoff Saturday, April 4, at 7 a.m. CT from Port Oliver Recreation Area ramp, with weigh-in set for 2 p.m. CT at the ramp.
It is an open tournament.
For more information, contact Ronnie Stinson at 270-618-1436 or John Meador at 270-606-0554 or at

For upcoming fishing tournaments, click Barren River Lake Fishing Tournaments in the right column under “For more information.”

Easter buffet menu announced at park

The annual Easter buffet menu at Barren River Lake State Park will be served from Noon until 8 p.m. Central Time, April 5, in the park’s Driftwood Restaurant of the Louie B. Nunn Lodge.
Cost is $18.99 plus tax for adults and $8.99 plus tax for children.
The cost does include beverages.
Cheese bar
Choice Beef Carved On the Line
Chef’s Choice Local Favorite
Baked Kentucky Country Ham
Golden Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies
Garden Vegetables
Chilled Fresh Fruit
Salad Bar
Assorted Salads and Relishes
Variety of Desserts