The Louisville Kayak Fishing group tries to get out onto the water once every other week. The last three trips I’ve taken with them have been to the Elkhorn Creek in Frankfort KY. Why, because it’s one of the premier Smallmouth fisheries in the Bluegrass state and we just plane catch fish.
"When you compare it to other streams, it really amazes you how good the Elkhorn is, and you start comparing all other streams to it," says Jeff Crosby, central region fisheries biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). "This creek has good habitat and water quality, decent water flow through all seasons, and active management from the KDFWR." These things combine to make the Elkhorn a thriving fishery.
Aside from smallmouth, the Elkhorn also supports largemouth, Kentucky (spotted) bass, rock bass and white bass. These fishes' natural prey includes minnows, crawfish, insects, frogs and even small rodents.
Lately we have been throwing one lure and one lure only the Rapala Countdown
CD05 or CD07. Color depends on the water clarity, brighter colors if the water is stained and more natural colors in clear water. Focus on the quiet eddies alongside swift current; I will often throw my lure up current retrieving across the swift current. You will often get hit right at the transition out of the swift current. Another good technique is to look for the deep pools and rocky ledges scattered all over the creek.
Although the Elkhorn does not produce the same number of large bass as many reservoirs, big bass are still present, and numbers are always high. The average fishing day produces many strikes, and it is possible to hook into Smallmouth exceeding 4 pounds. These bigger fish usually hang in deep pools, while smaller bass can be found almost anywhere cover is present.
Besides great bass fishing, Elkhorn Creek offers a variety of other species you will catch during your days hunting for Smallmouth. Last week while using a Rapala Countdown CD07 in Bleeding Hot Olive I caught Sauger, Crappie, Bluegill, and Drum. Add to this the countless number of Rock and Smallmouth Bass and several missed Gar in the 36-45 in. and you’re having a pretty good day!
The Elkhorn offers a combination of beauty and serenity unique to stream settings. There is no roar of large outboards or buzz of busy lakes. Instead, wading or paddling the creek is an experience free of technology, but with excitement and success equal to those of big boats and crowded lakes. This scenic waterway almost never fails to provide visitors with its special brand of Southern hospitality and abundant smallmouth action.
For trip plans and other information about the Elkhorn Creek stop by and see Nathan and Allison at Canoe KY
. They offer shuttle services at several pickup points along the creek and also rent canoes and kayaks if you’re just getting into our sport. I have always found them more than willing to answer any questions I had