Cast and Blast Vacations for Fall

Mild temperatures and scenic beauty attract thousands, each fall, to western Kentucky. Some come for late-season fishing, others are early season hunters. Some prefer the hiking and still others to view the historical sites. Whatever the reason, fall visitors find the food, lodging and recreational facilities in western Kentucky an excellent base from which to begin their adventures.

From a comfortable base in a town or from local resorts, it is possible to forage out in all directions for a day of adventure.

Anglers find excellent fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, crappies, bluegills, white bass, hybrid stripers and sunfish in the waters. Lakes ranging from a few acres to over 20,000 can be found in and around this portion of the state. Large tracts of public water await anglers in search of a trophy or just some relaxing time on the water. Both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers are nearby. Numerous marinas are to be found in the area which provide boats, bait and tackle as well as information on where the fish are biting.

Hunters in search of everything from squirrels to whitetail deer find them in the forest tracts of western Kentucky. Thousands of acres of public land available for hunting are found in this part of the volunteer state. In addition to the squirrels and white-tailed deer, upland hunters pursue quail, turkey, and rabbits. Waterfowl hunters find Canada geese and most species of ducks.

LBL—a destination worth exploring every year
Perhaps the most popular and expansive hunting and fishing is found in the Land Between the Lakes. LBL is exactly what the name implies, land that lies between Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake. The 40-mile length of land offers 170,000 acres of prime hunting habitat with excellent deer and turkey hunting. The two lakes provide excellent fishing, as do the numerous ponds within the park.

Kentucky Lake is an impoundment of the Tennessee River that is 184 miles long and covers 160,300 acres. About 50 miles adjoins the LBL. Numerous coves along the 2,400 miles of shoreline range from secluded palaces to fish to boat docks and resorts.

Barkley Lake is an impoundment of the Cumberland River and runs parallel to Kentucky Lake. At the north end, about 1 mile upriver from the dam, is a canal connecting both rivers. In total, Lake Barkley is 134 miles in length with 1,004 miles of shoreline.

Both of the manmade reservoirs (Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley) have similar characteristics. A favorite type of fishing is structure fishing. Anglers fish deep structure with crankbaits as well as other techniques. One frustrating thing about these lakes is the changing water levels.

As the water levels change, the fish adjust to it. In fall, as the water begins to fall a lot of, fish will back out onto the points. They become a bit more predictable. Key factors of interest to anglers are current and shad. As water levels recede, the best locations to find forage and predator fish are current breaks on the main lakes, points, the mouths of ditches and like areas.

Bass are a little more predictable in fall. Current as well as lake levels falling definitely helps to find them.

Off-water sites to delve deeper into history
For the history buff, this is a gold mine of information. The early days of “Kentuck” and of the United States, in general, are preserved in sites throughout this part of the state. Most counties have local historical societies that have preserved the local history of their communities.

Travelers visiting Kentucky are well advised to contact local chambers of commerce for local information. They can provide information about hunting and fishing, as well as local state parks in western Kentucky.

For more information…
In addition to the local resorts and national chain motel accommodations, one can also find rooms and restaurants in the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (800-325-0146) or Lake Barkley State Park Resort (270-924-1131). Both can be reached online at ky.gov/parks/resort parks/.

Those who make Gilbertsville, Ky. (800-467-7145) their base of operations can enjoy western Kentucky to the max.