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Bass Fishing In Kentucky

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Guide to fishing for spotted, redeye, smallmouth and largemouth bass.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Kentucky Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in Kentucky is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Kentucky

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Kentucky. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in Kentucky. The state record largemouth bass is over 14 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Anglers can target these trophy-sized fish in popular destinations like Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Lake Cumberland. From topwater lures to plastic worms and crankbaits, there are numerous techniques that can entice these feisty predators.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In Kentucky

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 11 pounds.

The state's clear, flowing rivers and streams provide ideal conditions for smallmouth bass to flourish. The Cumberland River, the Green River, and the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River are popular spots for targeting smallmouth bass. These bronzebacks are known for their fighting spirit and can be caught using a variety of techniques such as casting jigs, crankbaits, or live bait like crayfish.

Spotted Bass Fishing In Kentucky

Spotted bass, often referred to as Kentucky bass or Kentucky spotted bass, can be found in many of the state's lakes and rivers. They share similarities with both largemouth and smallmouth bass and are known for their aggressive nature. Lakes such as Laurel River Lake and Cave Run Lake have healthy populations of spotted bass. Anglers can target these fish using techniques similar to those used for largemouth and smallmouth bass, making for an exciting fishing experience.

Redeye Bass Fishing In Kentucky

For those seeking a unique bass fishing experience, Kentucky is home to the rare redeye bass. These beautiful and elusive fish are native to the state and can be found in certain waters like the Rockcastle River and the Cumberland River. Redeye bass, also known as Coosa bass, offer a challenging pursuit, requiring finesse and precise presentations to entice these wary fish. Fishing for redeye bass in their natural habitat provides anglers with a true Kentucky bass fishing adventure.

Bass fishing in Kentucky

Whether you're chasing largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, or redeye bass, Kentucky's diverse bass fisheries offer a wealth of opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. With its picturesque lakes, winding rivers, and knowledgeable fishing community, the state provides an unforgettable bass fishing experience. So grab your fishing gear, explore the bass hotspots in Kentucky, and get ready to reel in some trophy fish in the Bluegrass State.

Bass fishing basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Kentucky

Bass fishing lures

Finding bass in Kentucky is not difficult. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing. Private ponds, small lakes, rivers and large impoundments have bass. The larger populations of bass tend to be found in major lakes including Barren River Lake, Buckhorn Lake, Carr Creek Lake, Cave Run Lake, Cedar Creek Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Dewey Lake, Fishtrap Lake, Grayson Lake, Green River Lake, Herrington Lake, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland, Lake Malone, Laurel River Lake, Martins Fork Lake, Nolin River Lake, Paintsville Lake, Rough River Lake, Taylorsville Lake, Wood Creek Lake and Yatesville Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Kentucky

Bass In Kentucky

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 14 lbs 9.5 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz*

State Record: 11 lbs 15 oz*

Redeye Bass

Coosa/Redeye bass

World record: 8 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 1.21 lbs

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 10 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for Kentucky this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top water lures are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

Kentucky State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Highsplint Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Dale Hollow Lake.

The state record redeye/Coosa bass came out of the Cumberland River.

The state record spotted bass was caught out of Nelson County.

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in Kentucky.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Bluegrass State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass in Kentucky!


Bass fishing information by state.

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