In July 24-30 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
ON THE LAKE - Lake Cumberland's Striper fishing has been hot recently, with numerous big fish being reported caught around the lake, according to Russell County guide services.
Les Frizzell, a guide and owner of Striper Mania Guide Service in Russell Springs, said fishing had been good and that he had been catching his limit on most days.
Frizzell said although the fishing is great on the lake, many people just aren't showing up to fish.
“It's been kind of slow and I attribute that to the economy,” he said.
Frizzell mentioned high gas prices along with a sluggish economy among the factors as to why less people are fishing the lake's waters.
“Rather than come to the lake every weekend, some are only coming every three or four weekends,” he said. He said some people had even canceled their fishing trip for this year because of other expenses.
“There is plenty of water in the lake, though,” he said.
Gerald Bates, of Bates Guide Service in Russell Springs said he believed some of the notion that the lake was too low to fish or boat on, was still believed by a good portion of people not around the Lake Cumberland area and that it was hurting the number of fishing trips he books.
“The fishing has been great,” Bates said of his time on the water this summer. “We've caught a lot of big fish.”
Bates said he goes striper fishing on the lake nearly every day during the summer and that this year has been on of the most active.
Stripers, the big game fish of the lake, have a streamlined, silver body marked with dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail.
There is a two fish, per person, per day limit on the lake and each striper has to be at least 24 inches in length to be kept. The average striper weighs between 10 and 14 pounds with occasional big fish of 20- and 30-pounders — or above — not out of the ordinary.
“We've been catching them on alewives and shiners, mostly,” he said. “Usually in the summer, the fish are very consistent with their depths.
Both Frizzell and Bates said they had been fishing with alewife shad or shiners, both baitfish prey for striped bass, at depths ranging between 30 and 40 feet in the early morning hours.
Also, both guides said they have been fishing the main lake and, at times, venturing into creeks or around cove points or off of flats.
Frizzell said the fish he has been bringing in are in the 29-34 inch range. His guide service's biggest catch of the year, so far, was 38 lbs. and 46 inches long.
“If we haven't caught our limit each day, we've been very close,” Frizzell said.
Bates said he has been regularly bringing in 12- to 14-pounders with an occasional 30-pounder not out of the question.
He said back in April during one of his guide trips a 17-year-old boy caught the first fish, a 52 lb. monster.
“I'll never forget the smile on that kid's face after he reeled it in,” Bates said.
The water temperature on the lake is around the 84 degree mark and with summer slowly slipping away, both Frizzell and Bates said they think the fishing will remain consistent.
“We anticipate it will remain the same until it starts to slow in October,” Bates said. “If the weather remains consistent we will have several more months of good fishing.”
Frizzell said the rest of the summer looks good for him too.
“Unless we have a real hot spell or a drought like we did last year I don't think the fishing will be affected any and we'll be good the rest of the year,” he said.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Jamestown KY 42629