The Parklands


“A River Runs Through It” inspires many people to wonder if they would enjoy the sport of fly fishing. The good news is, you don’t have to travel to the Rockies or Blue Ridge to enjoy this activity. Thanks to the support of many anglers, conservationists, and public land managers, fly fishing can be a year-round pursuit in the Louisville region. Winter and spring bring trout fishing to selected lakes and streams in Louisville, while summer brings the opportunity to pursue warm water fish with light fly gear on most local waterways.

Fly fishing is a great way to experience local waters in a relaxed, calm, and peaceful setting, leaving all of the concerns of a busy life behind. And the best thing about it – you can learn to do this close to home and have a blast.

To get started in fly fishing, you need three things:  1 – A great group of fellow anglers to learn from and with whom to tell your big fish stories.  2 – The proper fishing gear.  3 – Knowledge of where to fish and what species to target.

We are fortunate in Louisville to have two very active fly fishing clubs in the Derby City Fly Fishers ( and the local chapter of Trout Unlimited ( Both of these clubs are deeply engaged in conservation activities in local waterways and in expanding the joy of fly fishing to the next generation. You’re never too young or too old to get started with these folks.

The gear needed to get started is not as intense or expensive as it may sound. Go to your local outdoor sports store, find someone knowledgeable about fly fishing, and let them know you want to get started. They will get you pointed in the right direction. When you start with these folks, make sure you let them know where you will fish and what types of fish you want to catch. Hint – the lighter the equipment you use, the more fun you’ll have in local waterways.

Finally, anglers have to know where to go.  Fly fishing immediately brings to mind trout.  While Louisville is too warm in the summer to support naturally occurring trout populations, thanks to the support of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, trout are available in the cooler months in many local park ponds.  Additionally, the Department stocks two flowing streams in the area, Otter Creek in Meade County and Floyds Fork in Beckley Creek Park of The Parklands of Floyds Fork.  These two streams offer anglers the opportunity to wade, and paddle, to more remote settings than are typically found in public park ponds. For a full listing of the ponds and creeks that are stocked by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, check out

The beauty of living in Louisville is that fly fishing really takes off here in the summer months.  These months produce great opportunities on just about any body of water to use top water (lures that float on the surface of the water) patterns to catch loads of bass, sunfish, and redeyes.  While these fish don’t have the front cover appeal of trout, speak to any local angler and they are likely to tell you that pound for pound, nothing beats the fight in a summer smallmouth bass.  The aggressive nature of these fish also helps ensure that if you take a young one with you, the odds of them catching a fish are often quite high.

To read this article in the Courier-Journal, click here.

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