Winter Trout Fishing at The Parklands
Provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife in autumn and winter months, hatchery rainbow trout are a seasonal recreational fish in Floyds Fork and a select number of ponds within The Parklands. Winter conditions in Floyds Fork make it an ideal location for these cold-water fish to thrive (especially with the temperatures we have had in recent weeks). Low flows, clear water, cool temperatures, diminished recreational boating, and bare trees/shrubs make January through March a great time to pursue stocked rainbow trout in Floyds Fork.
Trout were stocked in Floyds Fork in October 2017 and will be stocked again in March 2018. In celebration of this amazing sport fish, we thought we’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 March 31. This regulation extends the fishing season for anglers by having more fish spend more time in the water before harvest. You may catch and take trout beginning April 1 however, there is a daily limit of 8 fish. Use this link to be a responsible conservationist and get the necessary license and permit – Fishing Licenses and Permits (https://app.fw.ky.gov/solar/)
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. However, be sure to wear warm clothing and hip waders as cold water and air temperatures make hypothermia a real possibility if not properly prepared. For tips on locations and flies visit your local fly fishing retailer.
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 in addition to Boulder Pond in Turkey Run Park. Also, be sure to check water levels. It is generally best to fish for trout when the water is low and clear. 50 cubic feet per second or under provide ideal conditions. To check the flow rate visit The Parklands home page. (https://www.theparklands.org/)
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.
Tip #6- Have fun! Trout fishing is a seasonal activity on Floyds Fork so take advantage while conditions are ideal!
About the Author
As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.