View Full Version : Cumberland River Report

09-19-2009, 06:27 PM
Does anybody have a report for the Cumberland? Going up next weekend. I have been watching the generation and it looks like they are turning on and off the Sluice gates. I havent fished it since May and I haven't ever fished it with this flow of water. I always go up when the generation is really low. I have fished it a bunch though. Does anybody have any info? I would really appreciate it. I am used to fishing some of the other TN tailwaters when they are high and i usually just throw a bunch of streamers straight to the bottom. Think that'll work?


PS I know that the cumberland underneath wolf creek isn't in TN, but I consider it one of our rivers as much as the Caney, Clinch or any of the other great tailwaters we have. I just have to remember to get a different fishing license before i go.

Ky Tim
09-20-2009, 01:07 PM
The last press release I read said that they were going to keep it at 680 until at least the rest of '09.

Here is the latest press release from KDFWR:

Emergency measures implemented on Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam
This is from LC.com

Emergency measures implemented on Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam

Sept. 11, 2009 Contact: Lee McClellan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4443

Frankfort, Ky. – Anglers may now keep an additional five rainbow trout for a total of 10 rainbow trout daily on the Cumberland River from Wolf Creek Dam to the Tennessee state line. This measure includes Hatchery Creek and all tributaries up to the first riffle. The 15- to 20-inch protective slot limit on rainbow trout remains in effect. One of the 10 rainbow trout in the daily creel may be 20 inches or longer. The 20-inch minimum size limit and one fish daily creel limit on brown trout also remains in effect.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ Commissioner Jon Gassett authorized these emergency measures on the entire 75-mile stretch of the Cumberland River in Kentucky, downstream of Wolf Creek Dam.

Trout stockings will also be moved up to ease pressure on trout production at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.

The hatchery uses cold water from deep in Lake Cumberland in normal conditions to produce rainbow and brown trout for release in waters across Kentucky. Due to ongoing repairs at Wolf Creek Dam, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is keeping the water level in Lake Cumberland at elevation 680 feet above sea level to relieve pressure on the structure.

The wet spring and summer prompted the Corps to release a great amount of cold water from Lake Cumberland to maintain that water level.

“Basically, there is little cold water left in the lake,” said James Gray, manager of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. “The water coming to the hatchery from the intakes in the lake is 70 degrees, with little dissolved oxygen. The continued decline in water quality coming from the lake prompted this decision,”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s fisheries division recently stocked 20,500 rainbow trout at Wolf Creek Dam, Helms Landing, Winfrey’s Ferry and Crocus Creek.

“We are trying to reduce our numbers a little bit to help out things,” Gray said. “The less fish you have at the hatchery, the more it helps maintain production with these water quality issues.”

Rod Middleton and the staff of Minor Clark Fish Hatchery near Morehead brought 18 blowers to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery to help inject air into the water.

Trout stockings scheduled for October will be moved up to mid-September, when about 21,000 fish will again go into the four upper release spots.

“We want these fish available to our license holders and not ship them off somewhere else,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We need to reduce the numbers of trout in the hatchery, but had no other place to put them at this time of year due to warm water temperatures.”

Later in the fall, these fish could be stocked in lakes and streams across Kentucky. “In October, we could load up the small lakes in Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing in Neighborhoods program and the smaller streams,” Gray said. “When you look across the state right now with the water temperatures where they are, the Cumberland is about the only place you can put them.”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife also implemented emergency measures on the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam in 2007.

“The growth and condition of the larger fish in the Cumberland River is rapidly deteriorating,” said Dave Dreves, fisheries research biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We want anglers to take advantage of these early stockings. Conditions will likely worsen before they get better.”

The new creel limit on rainbow trout will remain in effect until normal conditions return. Anglers fishing the Cumberland River must possess a trout permit in addition to a valid fishing license

David Knapp
09-20-2009, 01:33 PM
That press release is very interesting and definitely cause for concern. Has anyone been on the Cumberland lately to know what the water temperatures are on the river?

09-21-2009, 07:49 AM
Went last weekend. Water was at 63 below the dam and 64 at Helms and 60 in Hatchery creek. The biggest concern to me is the dissolved oxygen fish seemed to be a bit lethargic; could have been that all I caught were browns with one rainbow to make the exception and they were laiden with eggs or milt and seemed to be intent on doing the nasty. Also worried what the warmer water will do to the bug life. Did not see a lot of fish feeding on midges as is the norm. Flies of the day were a #14 Dorsey's Limeaid ( Matches damselflies somewhat) with a #22 tungsten snowcone midge dropped 24 in or so under it, weighted out with plenty of ribbon weight 6 in or so above the dropper.

Hopefully cooler weather is on the way. The rain we are getting now is probably raising the water temp but at the same time the cloud cover is welcomed. Not sure wich adds more thermal pollution bright sun or warm rains?

David Knapp
09-21-2009, 04:34 PM

Thanks for the info...if you wouldn't mind a couple more questions, shoot me an email at drknapp83 at hotmail dot com. Thanks!

David Knapp

09-21-2009, 07:05 PM
The river is still OK. Hottest temps so far are low 60's at Winfreys and while I've not personally checked the DO, the fish fight with vigor and not like fish in a low DO environment.

It's important to note that the latest press release concerns the hatchery and their water comes from much higher in the lake than the sluice gates. The Cumby is still a better option for these stockers than shipping them to Tn or other nearby fisheries. That says something.

09-29-2009, 11:25 PM
We Caught a few fish on saturday. And only a single stocker on sunday. We really worked for them too. Also we heard reports that Burkesville got 4-6 inches of rain over the weekend. And i believe it.

Only luck was on white and olive wooly buggers. We did bring in a decent bow but the rest of them were recent stockers. Also it looks like they really upped the generation right after we left. Water was pretty dirty even when the generation wasn't but 3500CFS running only the sluice. Visibility was terrible even before it started raining.

I hope the fish make it through this construction.

10-09-2009, 06:44 PM
Fished the Cumberland Wednesday and today. Fished better today. The water is up of course and wading is out of the question. The level is about 10 ft higher than ideal wading level. However the fish were biting well. I actually caught a few rising to a foam caddis today close to the banks. A friend brought in 2 big Bows ( over 20" ) this morning.
The water is fairly clear, a little warm ( 65 degrees surface ) and there is a lot of current. Float the banks above Ray Man Road on the Far side around the stick-ups, that was where most of the rising trout were.