One of the largest man-made lakes in the country, Lake Cumberland, in Russell County, Kentucky, boasts more than 300,000 gallons of water and is about 100 miles long. It was formed when the Wolf Dam was built on the Cumberland River in 1951. Among the extremely large gamut of outdoor recreational activities the area has to offer, Lake Cumberland's fishing is, perhaps the most serious. Fish grow big and healthy in the lake (part of Lake Cumberland State Resort Park) and anglers enjoy some of the best striped bass and walleye fishing in the United States. Trout, panfish, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are also abundant in the waters.
Lake Cumberland stripers grow to optimum size. The large population can be caught in abundance in spring, summer and fall, with the best method being trolling using live shad and diving minnow lures. In fall, striped bass will school in large numbers and sometimes, literally, fight over top water lures.
Brown, rainbow and river trout enjoy a large, clean home in Lake Cumberland. All three species are fairly active year-round and can be caught in great numbers using spinners flies, corn, night crawlers, spoons and fish eggs. Depending on water conditions, wading and slow, deep water trolling are preferred methods.
A true, deep-water haven, Lake Cumberland houses an extremely large population of active walleye. The key to nailing big ones lies in finding dark pools about 15 to 30 ft. deep and working the areas with bright-colored crankbaits and bouncing night crawlers and minnows off the bottom.
Crappie, Bluegill and Bass
Lake Cumberland may not house as many crappie, bluegill and bass (small and largemouth) as it does walleye and stripers, however, 10- to 12-inch crappie are common in the calm backwaters near brush. Bluegill also grow fat and fierce. Spinners, jigs, tube lures and a variety of panfish baits are suitable. Largemouths, which tend to hover around the 15-to 16-inch mark are also great fighters in Lake Cumberland. While a bit elusive, trophy smallies are also pulled out quite frequently. Plastic worms, poppers, harnessed night crawlers and standard bass lures are usually deadly.