|June 13, 2005
Frankfort, Kentucky - The thunderstorms, hurricanes and tropical
storms that occurred over the last couple of summers dumped high
amounts of rain on Kentucky. This is a good thing for farmers, but a
bad thing for night trout anglers on Laurel River, Paintsville, Greenbo, Wood Creek and Cannon Creek Lakes who got used to getting a
limit of tasty trout in less than an hour.
"All of the rain we've had over the last two years flushed the winter
stored water out of the lake," said Jim Axon, assistant director of
fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
(KDFWR) who oversees Kentucky's trout program. "The warm winters
we've had for the past few years greatly limited the amount of cold
water in the lake to being with, but the rains drastically reduced
the amount of winter stored, oxygenated water that trout need to
When the trout that live in highland, infertile impoundments like
Laurel River Lake or Greenbo Lake are squeezed into a tight band of
habitat, they get stressed and don't eat much. This makes for poor
night trout fishing.
The dryer weather this year is turning the trout back on again at
night. Recent fishing reports from anglers indicate the bite is back
on at Laurel River Lake where an angler used to get mad if it took
longer than a half an hour to get half a limit.
These fish won't jump into the boat while you sip coffee and stare at
the stars, however. Anglers must use the proper techniques in the
right areas to catch these lake dwelling rainbow and brown trout.
The main areas of these lakes for trout are the deep river and creek
channels near the dam. During the day trout in these lakes move to
very deep water sometimes as deep as 75 feet or more. They feed very
However, when the sun goes down, they rise from the depths and bite
willingly in shallower water.
The key to catching these trout is using lights. Lights must be
floated in the water or lanterns hung over the side of the boat to
cast a light onto the surface. The lights attract baitfish and
insects that attract trout.
Successful anglers must find the right depth in which the trout are
holding that night. The depth of the fish will change from night to
night, sometimes hour to hour. A good way of finding the proper depth
is the countdown method. Disengage the bail of your reel and allow
the line to free spool. Count as your offering sinks. Stop your bait
at the 15 count and fish. If you don't receive any strikes, fish
progressively deeper until you find trout.
Remember how many counts it took to reach the trout. They may be as
shallow as 12 feet or as deep as 30 feet depending on the mood of the
fish and the moon phase. Once the proper depth is found, an angler
may encounter some of the best fishing of the year.
The best baits for night trout fishing are corn, chartreuse or pink
Power bait paste or Power nuggets, small minnows or nightcrawlers.
Live bait is preferred because it offers a chance to catch a bonus
walleye as well as trout.
The rigging for this type of fishing is simple. Attach a few small
split shot sinkers about 18 inches above a size 10 or 12 hook. It is
important to use a tiny hook because these trout are talented
nibblers. They will quickly clean a hook that is too big.
Most anglers use short stiff ultralight spinning rods for maximum
sensitivity. A buggy whip ultralight pole or too powerful a pole will
not allow the sensitivity needed to detect strikes. These trout bite
lightly and it is easy to miss strikes. Don't use line heavier than
Employ the tactics of catfish angler and watch the tip of your rod.
If you see a slight tap or pull down, pick up the rod and gently lift
up to the 11 o'clock position to set the hook. Do not "cross their
eyes" on the hookset like bass fishing with plastic worms or you will
set the hook on a lot of water.
Most of the fish caught using this method will be from 10 to 15
inches long, but there is always a chance a big holdover trout will
take your offering. Night trout fishing is an easy and relaxing way
to fish and is a great way to introduce a spouse or youngster to the
delights of fishing. When they are "on" and biting willingly, the
action is constant until you run out of bait or time.