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Fishing Rough River Lake

AKA: Rough River Reservoir

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Rough River Lake, KY

Popular Fish Species Rough River Lake, KY

Rough River Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

Rough River Lake, largemouth bass fishing has been rated good to excellent for a few years now by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife. The quantity, and overall fishing has been good, but the number big bass which roam Rough River Lake has declined slightly. The availability of forage food and extensive cover for both baitfish and bass benefits all species here. When the bite is good, bass typically move shallow and are quite aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time fishing Rough River Lake on deeper structure where the bass spend much of their time. Smallmouth bass and spotted bass also reside here in good numbers.

Rough River Lake Popular Fish - Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striped Bass Fishing

Hybrid striped bass, also known as wipers, are stocked by KDFW to maintain a catchable population of wipers in the fishery. These hybrids are a favorite of many locals and fishing guides at Rough River Lake, as they are plentiful and grow to bragging size. As a hybrid of striped bass and white bass, they have great potential for spawning massive numbers and growing to large sizes. Fishing for hybrid stripers is a matter of locating schools of bait, and schools of hybrid striped bass are likely to be in the area. Mornings, during Fall, hybrids can be caught on topwater or shallow running lures, as they are feeding on baitfish at the surface. When they move deeper, fish finders improve your odds of locating both bait and schools of wipers. Live bait, spoons and jigs are very very effective here, and these hungry fish can be caught year round.

Rough River Lake Popular Fish - Crappie

Crappie Fishing

Black and white crappie both reside in Rough River Lake, with black crappie typically out-weighing white crappie. They do school together so when you find them you may catch both species. Crappie fishing is on the rise and they can be found in sizeable schools. Crappie always like cover and structure, so locate brush and vegetation. Using a fish finder can help locate schools of crappie, which tend to stack vertically around cover. Live bait and small jigs are the most common method for crappie here. In spring and fall focus on the 8 to 12 foot range. As the crappie move deep in summer and winter, follow points out deep, as well as find ledges near channels in deeper water.

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill and hybrid striped bass at Rough River Lake in Kentucky.

Rough River Lake Fishing Video

Catfish, bass, hybrid stripers and crappie fishing can be excellent at Rough River Lake, a 5,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Falls Of Rough. Many, many coves and fingers create over 250 miles of shoreline for boating and fishing.

Rough River Lake, located in western Kentucky, is a beloved destination for fishing, boating, and camping. This scenic reservoir offers a picturesque setting surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests, providing an idyllic backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.

Fishing at Rough River Lake is a popular activity, attracting anglers in search of various fish species. The lake is known for its populations of largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and hybrid striped bass. Anglers can cast their lines from the shoreline, fish from boats, or explore the lake's numerous coves and channels. Rough River Lake's diverse fishery ensures that anglers of all skill levels have the opportunity to enjoy a successful day of fishing.

Whether you're casting a line, exploring the lake by boat, or spending a night under the stars at a campsite, Rough River Lake offers a serene and scenic escape in the heart of Kentucky. Its diverse fish populations, calm waters, and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for fishing, boating, and camping adventures. So pack your fishing gear, launch your boat, or set up camp near the lakeshore, and immerse yourself in the tranquility and splendor of Rough River Lake.

The setting is stunning and the fishing is awesome at times. Anglers can target multiple fish species in a single day, and find success with most. Marinas, boat launch ramps, rental boats, camping, bait, stores and restaurant are all close at hand to enhance your trip here. Cruise the whole lake by pontoon boat, pleasure craft or fishing boat, or pick a cove and enjoy the day paddling a canoe or kayak. Either way, you'll find beauty, serenity and some good fishing.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Kentucky

Primary fish species residing in Rough River Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Spotted bass Channel catfish Black crappie White Crappie Bluegill Hybrid Stripers

Rough River Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating on Rough River Lake is a favored pastime, thanks to its calm waters and scenic beauty. Boaters can navigate the lake's tranquil expanse, taking in the panoramic views and embracing the serenity of the area. Whether you're paddling a kayak, piloting a pontoon boat, or cruising in a speedboat, Rough River Lake provides a delightful boating experience. The lake offers boat ramps, marinas, and rental services, ensuring easy access and convenience for boaters.

Fishing Boat Rentals

Nick's Boat Dock
Rentals: Pontoon boats
​270 257-8955

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Axtel Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off Kentucky Highway 79, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Eveleigh Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Kentucky Highway 259, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with paved parking.

Cave Creek Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southwest section of the lake, off Cave Creek Lane, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Laurel Branch Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, east side, off Laurel Branch Road, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Nick's Boat Dock & Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off Kentucky Highway 79, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

North Fork Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off Kentucky Highway 259, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Peter Cave Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Peter Cave Ramp Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Rough River Lodge Road Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, west side, off Rough River Lodge Road, this is a multi-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.


Nick's Boat Dock
​722 KY-79
McDaniels, KY 40152
270 257-8955

Fishing Guides On Rough River Lake, KY

Rouge River Lake Fishing Charters - bass, crappie, hybrid striped bass

The GoTo Fishing Guide, Tom Perkins - crappie

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a Kentucky Fishing License.

Camping at Rough River Lake allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area. The lake provides campgrounds and RV parks that cater to different camping preferences, including tent sites and full RV hookups. Campers can relax amidst the peaceful ambiance, enjoy campfire evenings, and take advantage of amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and hiking trails. Rough River Lake's campgrounds offer a family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Axtel Campground - 270 257-2584

Laurel Branch Campground - 270 257-8839

North Fork Campground - 270 257-8139

Rough River Lake KY Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Rough River Lake
Rough River Dam Resort State Park
450 Ic-1003
Falls of Rough, KY 40119
270 257-2311


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