Fisherman’s paradise

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Contributing writer

Herrington Lake has always been considered a “fisherman’s paradise” by local anglers and others across the state.

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The 2,335-acre lake was built 1925 by Kentucky Utilities by damming on Dix River to generate hydroelectric power. It is located in Boyle, Garrard and Mercer counties and draws fishermen from all over the state with its many boat docks.

It is the deepest lake in Kentucky and has many species of fish: bluegill, catfish, crappie, striped bass, spotted bass, and white bass.

A search of the Kentucky Advocate archives shows thousands of articles about Herrington Lake which has been a favorite for fishing and swimming since it was built.

Lake draws crowd

“More fish were caught on the opening of the fishing season at Herrington Lake this year than have been taken during the past three years, according to the Kentucky Game and Fish Commission,” according to a June 1935 article.

The fishing spot drew Bob Hunter of Nicholasville, and others to organize a sportsman’s association in Fayette County.

Herrington Lake draws fishermen from the Fayette County area where there are fewer places to fish.

There were more than 1,500 fishermen counted during the opening day and this did not include anglers on many of the creeks.

“Bass dominated the catch with 1,791 bass registered and 37 reports that the legal limit had been reached were registered in the commission’s survey.

The Lexington-Herald reported that the report of the state fish and game commission made in Frankfort reveals the interesting facts that 624 fishermen registered at the lake on June 1, and caught a total of 3,131 pounds of fish,

an average of 5.1 pounds per man.

Heavy rains

The May 1931 bulletin of the state Game and Fish Commission states: “Due to heavy rains and high water during our spring months, game fish will have had an unusually hard time in bring off a brood of young fish.

“Strong currents and muddy water have made it practically impossible for bass to reproduce in any of our streams.”

The effect of this short spawning season will not be noticed by the fishermen for approximately two years, but after that time these effects will be noticed.”

Statistics from the state commission on the amount of fish caught on opening day, contradicts the belief of many of Central Kentucky’s wisest angles that there is already a scarcity of fish in Herrington Lake.

Some say there is fewer fish in the lake now than three years ago.

The newspaper suggested new conservation clubs take some action regarding the lake.

“The lake is a priceless asset to the Blue Grass Region and is worthy of being protected and conserved.

“Herrington Lake as a fishing ground, as a camping site, as a resort is valuable as such only so long as fishing remains good. It is to the advantage of sportsmen and property owner that Herrington Lake is kept full to the brim with fish.”

Angles compete

Fishermen competed in fishing derbies during summer and fall seasons for cash prizes.

Roy Lee Fowler Jr. of Danville came out the top winner in the November 1972 competition. During the two-day tourney, Fowler caught 13 pounds of fish. He used a Mud-Bug lure. John Brittingham of Harrodsburg cause the largest fish, a 3-pound, 13-ounce bass.

A public notice appeared in the May 1, 1931, edition of The Advocate about a large catch by two fishing buddies the last three days of the spring season.

N.K. Cross and Everett Cox of Danville caught 18 pounds of fish on April 29, 22 pounds on April 29, and on the third day, they hauled in 35 pounds, all bass, the largest weighing 6 ½ pounds.

John E. Cocanougher, of Perryville, spent the 1963 spring vacation visiting relatives and fishing at Gwinn Island on Herrington Lake. He was pictured in the April 8, 1963 edition of The Advocate.

Cocanougher used a Shanon Spinner during and afternoons and jiggled with nightcrawlers at night.

All his fish were larger than the average catch, mostly 3 to 4 pounders with one about 6 ½ pounds.

Weekly reports

The newspaper had weekly reports of good fishing places to keep fishermen in touch with the good fishing lakes.

“The only good fishing on Kentucky lakes is reported at Herrington Lake, where some limits of big bass have been taken, The Advocate reported in January of 1963.

“Herrington had ice on the upper half of the lake, casting dollyflies has produced good strings of bass on the lower end. “The lake was clear, stable and 44 degrees.