Provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife in winter months, hatchery rainbows are a seasonal recreational fish in Floyds Fork and a select number of ponds within The Parklands. While our ponds are incredibly popular for anglers pursuing trout, aside from our resident bald eagles and river otters, I’ve been surprised by the lack of fishing activity I’ve seen on the Fork this winter. Low flows, clear water, cool temperatures, diminished recreational boating, and bare trees/shrubs make winter a great time to pursue stocked rainbow trout on Floyds Fork.
With the February stocking upon us, and March stocking just around the corner, I thought I’d share some tips for winter trout fishing on Floyds Fork.
Tip #1 – Know the regulations. First, you must have a valid fishing license and trout stamp to pursue trout in the Fork. These fees pay for the trout you are pursuing. Second, delayed harvest regulations are in place for Floyds Fork trout. You must release all trout caught in Floyds Fork through late spring. This regulation extends the fishing season for anglers by having more fish spend more time in the water before harvest. Use this link to be a responsible conservationist and get the necessary license and permit – Fishing Licenses and Permits
Tip #2 – Take the plunge and use a fly rod. Sure, light action spinning gear works great on the Fork all year long, but winter is the time to pull out the 4-5 weight fly rod. The clear water makes fly fishing the most effective method to increase your catch rate. I will not get into specific fly recommendations, but . . . nymphs, nymphs, nymphs. And mend it, mend it, mend it. (Apologies to Hank Patterson)
Tip #3 – Embrace movement. Unlike pond fishing, successfully finding fish on the Fork means moving around. Whether wading or paddling, when you strike out at a spot for a while, go ahead and move to another. Don’t hesitate. Our resident river otters, mink, bald eagles, and blue herons move around to get their fill of fish, and we should follow their lead.
Tip #4 – Know where you are fishing. While people will catch trout throughout The Parklands, most trout are between North Beckley Paddling Access and the Creekside Paddling access in Beckley Creek Park. Also, be sure to check water levels. It is generally best to fish for trout when the water is low and clear. I personally like the water to be flowing less than 50 cubic feet per second for trout fishing. Real Time Water Levels on Parklands Homepage
Tip #5 – Join a local fishing club and visit some of our great local fishing shops to get the most current information. Our local clubs and fishing retailers are great places to get expert local fishing info. They are also the frontline for supporting conservation and public fishing opportunities in our region.
Some Local Fly Fishing Retailers
Area Fishing Clubs