By: Johnny Rush
Trout fishing has been slower than normal on the Cumberland River late this summer. However, trout fishing should get better now that it’s going to start cooling down in Kentucky. We’ve had to work harder than we are used to, but the trout we are catching are larger than normal.
The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife usually puts 160,000 rainbow trout and 30,000 brown trout in the Cumberland River each year. The truck was down there a few days ago so I know they’ve stocked it recently, but fishing has been tougher than we are used to. It doesn’t seem like they’ve stocked as many trout this year, which could be a reflection of those fish going into Hatchery Creek. These fresh stockers are usually 8-10 inches. We try not to target those so they can grow.
Numbers are down, but size is up. We’ve been catching some large fish this summer. We’ve had browns up to nine pounds and rainbows to 20 inches. There’s been a few brook trout around, but they don’t get larger than 14-15 inches. On a good day right now we are catching 20-25 fish. Last year at this time we caught up to 65 a day.
I’ve been doing a lot of striper fishing, but am switching back over to trout. They should start biting better as it cools. Cooler weather is a double edge sword, however. In the fall sometimes the leaves get so thick in the water it slows the bite down. Fortunately, the leaves aren’t falling too bad yet. Usually it’s started by now, but we’ve had a hot, unusually wet summer and the leaves are still mostly green. The next few weeks should be good before the leave drop hits us and slows it down for a week.
The trout I’ve been catching have been on salmon eggs fishing on the bottom. They love Silver Label eggs. I’ve caught some monster trout this summer with eggs on the bottom. What’s been interesting is we’ve been catching brown trout on the Gold Label (which I’m out of and can’t find anywhere right now) and more rainbows on the Silver Label. I’m fishing with Bass Pro Shop Excel 8-pound test and Eagle Claw No. 2 Aberdeen hooks.
Normally, I’m drifting from hole to hole. Right now, I’m pulling over to the bank and fishing eddies instead. I’m fishing solely on the bottom. It’s odd, last year all I did was drift with Fire Bait and saw constant action. This summer the only way to catch them is sitting salmon eggs on the bottom.
Trout are scattered throughout the river right now, but there’s a lot of trout from Burkesville to the Wolf Creek Dam. There’s more trout in this section than from Burkesville down to the Tennessee line.
Editor’s Note: For more information on Rush’s Cumberland River fall trout trips please visit www.rainbowguideservice.com or call 270-433-7674. Anglers may five rainbows per day, four may be under 15 inches and only one can be greater than 20. On brook trout, anglers may keep one greater than 15 inches and with browns anglers may keep one greater than 20 inches. Therefore, there’s a seven fish limit, if the above criteria is met. Click the following link to view a recent episode of Pautzke Outdoors filmed with Rush on the Cumberland River: https://youtu.be/5U-jJs7nUNY.