Comprehensive Guide to Trout Fishing in Kentucky

Comprehensive Guide to Trout Fishing in Kentucky

Trout fishing in Kentucky is a popular recreational activity, with the state boasting over one hundred trout waters stocked by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. This guide will provide comprehensive information on the best places to fish for trout in Kentucky, the trout fishing season, and the necessary fishing licenses.

Understanding Fishing Licenses in Kentucky

Before embarking on your fishing adventure, it’s crucial to understand the fishing license requirements in Kentucky. Fishing at Hatchery Creek, for instance, requires a fishing license and trout stamp for anyone 16 and older. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources provides detailed information on fishing licenses, which can be accessed through their official website.

Comprehensive Guide to Trout Fishing in Kentucky

Best Trout Fishing Locations in Kentucky

Kentucky is home to over one hundred lakes, streams, and rivers that house the three most popular freshwater trout species – brown, brook, and rainbow. Some of the best places to fish for trout in Kentucky include Floyd’s Fork, Rock Creek, Otter Creek, and Cumberland River.

Floyd’s Fork

Floyd’s Fork hosts both rainbow and brook trout and is located in Jefferson County near Louisville. The best times of year to fish for trout in Floyd’s Fork are in early spring or mid-autumn. A great way to fish Floyd’s Fork is on the water, as most of the riverbank is under state protection.

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is found in McCreary County in Daniel Boone National Forest. It is stocked with both brook and rainbow trout. Spring to early summer and fall to early winter are the most optimal times of year to fish for trout here. This area is especially attractive for fly fishing, with some ideal shallow spots for wading where the trout love to hang out.

Otter Creek

Otter Creek has all three trout species, although brown trout can only be found close to Fort Knox Military Reservation. The best time of year to fish Otter Creek is late winter through late fall. Located south of Louisville, this is truly one of the best spots to fish for trout as it offers family-friendly camping and hiking areas, and the trout are stocked in high numbers.

Cumberland River

The Cumberland River boasts one of the most well-stocked rivers in Kentucky, with almost 200,000 brown and rainbow trout fish stocked annually. The Cumberland River stretches almost the entire length of southern Kentucky and dips into Tennessee. The best times to fish for trout are from mid-spring through fall.

Trout Season in Kentucky

The trout fishing season in Kentucky is all year round, with stocking seasons varying by water body. The harvesting season for brook trout extends from April 1 to November 30 for most trout waters. It’s not allowed to harvest brook trout during the off-season (between October 1 and March 31). However, catch-and-release fishing is allowed.


There are many great spots to fish in Kentucky including Floyd’s Fork, Otter Creek, Rock Creek, and Cumberland River. Rainbow, brown, and brook trout are abundantly stocked. But, brook trout does have a catch-and-release-only season in most waters. Before you go, make sure to check the latest regulations and obtain the necessary fishing licenses. Happy fishing!

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