Barkley Lake Fishing Report Guide

Barkley Lake Fishing Report Guide

Hey there, fellow anglers! If you’re looking for an amazing fishing destination in Kentucky, Barkley Lake is the place to be. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Barkley Lake offers a fantastic fishing experience. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about fishing at Barkley Lake. So, grab your fishing gear, and let’s dive in!

About Barkley Lake Fishing

Barkley Lake is a stunning reservoir located in western Kentucky and northern Tennessee, surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of several counties. This scenic lake was created in 1966 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) when they constructed the Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River. Spanning an impressive 57,900 acres, Barkley Lake is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. It is a popular destination for fishing, boating, hiking, and camping. The lake’s serene waters and picturesque surroundings make it an ideal spot for a relaxing day of fishing or a fun-filled weekend getaway with family and friends.

Barkley Lake is part of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which offers a wide range of recreational activities and amenities. The park’s facilities, including boat ramps, picnic areas, and hiking trails, make it easy to enjoy all that the lake has to offer.

Barkley Lake Fishing Details

Let’s take a closer look at some important details about Barkley Lake:

  • Water Surface: 57,900 acres
  • Shoreline: 1,004 miles
  • Average Depth: 12 feet
  • Max Depth: 68 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 359 feet above sea level
  • Location: Western Kentucky and Northern Tennessee
  • Coordinates: 36.9333° N, 87.9333° W
  • Accessibility: Accessible by car with several boat ramps and fishing access points
  • Type of Lake: Reservoir
  • Lake Amenities: Boat ramps, picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, fishing piers, and a marina

Types of Fish in Barkley Lake

Barkley Lake is home to a variety of fish species, making it a prime location for anglers of all skill levels. Here’s a rundown of the types of fish you can expect to find and where they’re usually located in the lake:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are one of the most sought-after fish in Barkley Lake. These fish are typically found in shallow waters near submerged structures like fallen trees, stumps, and rock piles. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to catch largemouth bass, especially during the spring and fall seasons.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass prefer clear, rocky areas with good water flow. Look for them near the dam, rocky points, and along the shoreline where the water is deeper. Smallmouth bass are more active during the cooler months, so spring and fall are prime times to target them.

Crappie

Crappie can be found in abundance at Barkley Lake. These fish tend to gather around submerged brush piles, docks, and other structures. They are most active in the early spring when they move into shallower waters to spawn. Night fishing with lights can also be very productive for crappie.

Bluegill and Sunfish

Bluegill and sunfish are plentiful in Barkley Lake and are often found in shallow waters near weed beds, docks, and submerged structures. They are active throughout the year, but summer is the best time to catch them. These fish are great for beginners and make for a fun and easy fishing experience.

Catfish

Barkley Lake is home to both channel catfish and flathead catfish. Channel catfish are usually found in deeper waters, particularly near the dam and along the main river channel. Flathead catfish prefer areas with cover, such as fallen trees and underwater ledges. Night fishing is especially productive for catfish.

White Bass

White bass are common in Barkley Lake and can often be found in schools. They prefer open water areas and can be found near points, humps, and along the main river channel. Spring and fall are the best times to target white bass.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle Recommendations

Choosing the right bait and tackle can make all the difference in your fishing success. Here are some top recommendations for Barkley Lake:

Largemouth Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows, nightcrawlers, and crayfish
  • Lures: Plastic worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwater lures
  • Tackle: Medium to heavy spinning or baitcasting rod with 10-20 lb test line

Smallmouth Bass

  • Baits: Live crayfish, minnows, and leeches
  • Lures: Jigs, tube baits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits
  • Tackle: Medium spinning rod with 6-12 lb test line

Crappie

  • Baits: Live minnows and small worms
  • Lures: Crappie jigs, small spinners, and tube baits
  • Tackle: Light spinning rod with 4-8 lb test line

Bluegill and Sunfish

  • Baits: Live worms, crickets, and mealworms
  • Lures: Small jigs, spinners, and flies
  • Tackle: Ultralight spinning rod with 2-6 lb test line

Catfish

  • Baits: Chicken liver, cut bait, stink bait, and live baitfish
  • Lures: None (catfish are primarily caught with bait)
  • Tackle: Heavy spinning or baitcasting rod with 15-30 lb test line

White Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows and shad
  • Lures: Jigs, crankbaits, and spinner rigs
  • Tackle: Medium spinning rod with 8-12 lb test line
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TOOLSSIDE 1 Dozen Rubber Maggots Fishing Bait #10 (12 Pcs) Crappie Jigs, Fishing Maggots, Bulk Fishing Grubs for Trout, Crappie, Pan Fish, Bluegill, Fresh Water Fishing Lures Set (Hooks and Worms)
  • ✅ Purpose and Size: These grubs for fishing attract a wide variety of fish including trout, crappie, panfish, bluegill, bream, roach, carp and more. Using grub fishing lures that imitate worms offers many advantages over live worms or minnows. These crappie lures are equipped with an optimal size hook and a rubber grub. The hook dimensions are 10 mm wide and 25 mm long, and the length of the larva itself is 22 mm.

Best Fishing Spot Locations at Barkley Lake Fishing

Finding the right fishing spot can greatly enhance your chances of success. Here are some of the best fishing spots at Barkley Lake:

The Dam Area

The area near the dam is known for its deeper waters and rocky structures, making it a prime location for smallmouth bass, white bass, and catfish. The currents and drop-offs create ideal conditions for these fish.

Little River

Little River is a popular fishing spot for crappie, largemouth bass, and bluegill. The river’s shallow waters and abundant cover attract a variety of fish species, making it a productive spot year-round.

Eddy Creek

Eddy Creek offers excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill. The creek’s meandering course and submerged structures provide ideal habitats for these fish.

Brush Piles and Submerged Structures

Throughout the lake, you’ll find submerged brush piles and structures that provide habitat for crappie, bluegill, and bass. These spots are particularly productive in the spring and summer months.

Shoreline Areas

The shoreline areas, especially those with weed beds and fallen trees, are great for targeting largemouth bass, bluegill, and sunfish. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to fish these spots.

Main River Channel

The main river channel running through Barkley Lake is a hotspot for catfish and white bass. The deeper waters and underwater ledges provide excellent habitat for these species.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations

To make the most of your fishing trip to Barkley Lake, keep these tips and recommendations in mind:

  • Time of Day: Early morning and late evening are generally the best times to fish, as fish are more active during these cooler periods.
  • Season: Spring and fall are the most productive seasons for fishing, but each species has its own peak times.
  • Weather: Overcast days and mild temperatures often lead to better fishing conditions.
  • Patience: Fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t be afraid to try different spots and techniques until you find what works.
  • Local Advice: Talk to local anglers or visit the marina for tips on current fishing conditions and hotspots.
  • Safety: Always wear a life jacket when boating and be aware of weather conditions.

Barkley Lake Fishing Reviews

Here are five positive reviews from anglers who have enjoyed fishing at Barkley Lake:

  1. John D.: “Barkley Lake is a fantastic fishing spot! I caught my personal best largemouth bass here last summer. The scenery is beautiful, and the fishing is top-notch.”
  2. Sarah K.: “I had a great time fishing for crappie with my family. The lake is well-maintained, and there are plenty of fish to catch. We’ll definitely be back!”
  3. Mike R.: “I’ve been fishing at Barkley Lake for years, and it never disappoints. The variety of fish species and the peaceful setting make it one of my favorite places to fish.”
  4. Jessica T.: “We had an amazing weekend at Barkley Lake. The kids loved catching bluegill and sunfish, and I managed to reel in a nice catfish. Highly recommend!”
  5. Tom S.: “The fishing at Barkley Lake is excellent. The marina staff is friendly and helpful, and the lake is beautiful. Caught several smallmouth bass on my last trip.”

Top-Rated RV Parks, RV Resorts, and Campgrounds Near Barkley Lake

If you’re planning to stay overnight, here are five top-rated RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds near Barkley Lake, along with their features and amenities:

1. Lake Barkley State Resort Park

  • Features: Full hookups, shower facilities, picnic areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, and a marina
  • Amenities: Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, boat rentals, and a restaurant
  • Distance to Lake: Located within the state park, with direct access to Barkley Lake

2. Canal Campground

  • Features: Electric and water hookups, shaded sites, and fishing access
  • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings
  • Distance to Lake: Located on the shores of Barkley Lake

3. Prizer Point Marina & Resort

  • Features: Full hookups, shower facilities, and hiking trails
  • Amenities: Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and a playground
  • Distance to Lake: Approximately 10 miles from Barkley Lake

4. Hillman Ferry Campground

  • Features: Electric and water hookups, spacious sites, and a quiet setting
  • Amenities: Restrooms, laundry facilities, and a recreation room
  • Distance to Lake: About 5 miles from Barkley Lake

5. Kenlake State Resort Park

  • Features: Electric and water hookups, shaded sites, and fishing access
  • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic areas, and fire rings
  • Distance to Lake: Around 15 miles from Barkley Lake

Barkley Lake Fishing Summary

Barkley Lake is truly a fisherman’s paradise. With its diverse fish population, beautiful surroundings, and excellent facilities, it’s no wonder that anglers from all over flock to this Kentucky gem. Whether you’re after the thrill of catching a trophy bass or just looking to spend a relaxing day on the water, Barkley Lake has something for everyone. So, pack your fishing gear, gather your friends and family, and head out to Barkley Lake for an unforgettable fishing adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Barkley Lake Fishing

1. Do I need a fishing license to fish at Barkley Lake?

Yes, a valid fishing license is required for anyone aged 16 and older. Kentucky and Tennessee residents must purchase their respective state’s license, while non-residents can choose either state’s license. You can purchase a license online or at local retailers.

2. What are the best times of year to fish at Barkley Lake?

Spring and fall are generally the best times to fish, but Barkley Lake offers good fishing opportunities year-round.

3. Are there boat rentals available at Barkley Lake?

Yes, the marinas at Barkley Lake offer boat rentals, including pontoons, fishing boats, and kayaks.

4. Can I fish from the shore at Barkley Lake?

Yes, there are several accessible fishing spots along the shoreline, as well as fishing piers and docks.

5. What types of accommodations are available near Barkley Lake?

There are several options, including campgrounds, RV parks, cabins, and lodges. Barkley Lake offers a variety of accommodations with direct access to the lake.

I hope this guide helps you plan your next fishing trip to Barkley Lake. Tight lines and happy fishing, everyone!

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Best Fishing Bait, Lures & Tackle

Here’s some of the best fishing bait, fishing lures and fishing tackle Barkley Lake Fishing Report Guide: