For a lot of people around here, the colder weather means putting the fishing poles away and getting out the hunting gear. But from what I have seen, the cooler it gets, the more exceptional the fishing has been, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Here are three local spots that have been solid producers.
McNeely Lake, Louisville: At this lake there is a lot of beautiful scenery. On cold mornings, the bite has come from working soft plastics, like the dark-colored weightless Senko, or Texas rigged tequila-sunrise Berkley power worms. Either bait needs to be worked real slow and you need to cover all the little cutouts along the bank. I haven’t caught any monsters here, but have gotten some good sized quality fighters. I will soon have a new kayak to fish from, so I’ll be able to explore more of McNeely. I hear the best bite is in the back near the dam. I’ve caught fish from the shallows under the bridge to the left of the boat launch all the way up to the tall weeds along the ledge by the fishing dock.
Guist Creek, Shelbyville: My last trip down to the Guist Creek area was one of those special ones when a fisherman can do no wrong. It was drizzling a little, and a storm was headed in, so I think the fish were somewhat weather crazed. I caught fish in heavy cover, open water, and on structure. It did not matter what I threw that day. I used topwater buzzbaits, Gulp jerk shad, Senkos, Texas rigs, and Rapalas. The technique that triggered the best bites was using a silver rattletrap, letting it sink after the cast, then high-speed retrieving it. A few big bass responded aggressively, giving an aerial display of acrobatics on the way in.
Falls of the Ohio, Clarksville: Just 5 minutes outside of Louisville, this is one of my favorite fishing spots. I just can’t say enough about this place! It was a little tough to figure out at first, due to the many different locations to try, species and varying water speeds, but once I did, it has produced on every trip. It is the closest thing to the saltwater fishing experience that I am used to back on the East Coast. On October 15, they opened up the McAlpine Lock. This changed things at the Falls dramatically. I was there a few days before and caught a number of largemouth bass in the clear slow-moving water on roostertail and spinnerbaits. You will notice right away that the largemouth from the river are thicker, and are stronger fighters than their kin from the ponds and lakes in the area. I went back the afternoon of the 15th and the dam was open. Using Mr. Twister grubs on jig heads I caught a variety of fish including largemouth, smallmouth, river drum, and one that I had never caught before, a sauger. I hear that the sauger start to run around this time and continue to be more abundant as the water temperature cools. I have caught striped bass here also, but it has been a few months since catching any. In order to get to where I like to fish at the Falls, now that the water temp is dropping you, will need to get a pair of waders.
There is nothing like hiking to the fishiest spot you can find through the crinkling leaves and crisp air. For me, there is no season other than fishing season, so it doesn’t matter if it’s freezing or 110 degrees (like it was this summer) – I’ve got to get my fishing fix!
Billy Reynolds is an East Coast transplant currently living in Louisville. A lifelong fisherman, hiker and kayaker, he is passionate about the conservation of our fisheries and natural resources. This eagerness has prompted the creation of his website and blog, www.bucketlistfishing.com. Reynolds considers himself an amateur nature photographer and practices CPR (catch, photo and release). When not outdoors or working in retail, he spends time with his wife of 10 years and two little fishermen in training.