Land Between The Lakes
National Recreation Area
100 Van Morgan Drive
Golden Pond, KY 42211

Phone: 270-924-2000
Toll Free: 800-525-7077

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2014 Angling Information

The Land Between The Lakes area has some of the nation's best sport fishing opportunities for bass, crappie, sauger, catfish, and bluegill. For anglers 16 and older (13 and older in Tennessee), a fishing license is required; no LBL permit is required. Anglers must have a license for the state in which they are fishing, except where there is a reciprocal agreement for a portion of Kentucky Lake as described below. Fishing licenses are sold at many local businesses outside LBL. Respective state fishing regulations and limits apply except for those listed in the special sport fishing regulations table (below). Anglers should carefully examine state regulations as size and creel limits can vary, dependent upon where you are fishing. The LBL Fishing Report is available by calling 270-924-2000. You are responsible for your own safety.

Click HERE for a pdf version.


LBL AreaOpen DatesSize Limit*
Black Bass
Size Limit CrappieSpecial Regulations
Bards Lake**Year-round15"10"No wake
No more than 20 shell crackers per day & 15 crappie creel limit.
Energy Lake** (KY)Year-round except western third open
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
15"10"No wake
Hematite Lake** (KY)Bank:
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
May 16-Oct. 31

No boats with gasoline engines.
12"None (0)Special Creel Limit: 10 sunfish 8" and larger; no more than 20 total redear sunfish
Duncan Lake (KY)Mar. 16-Oct. 31
No boats with gasoline engines.
12"NoneSpecial Creel Limit: 10 sunfish 8" and larger; no more than 20 total redear sunfish
Honker Lake (KY)Mar. 16-Oct. 31, 15"10"No wake
Long Creek
(Between Hematite & Honker Lakes)
Mar. 16-Oct. 3115"10" None
Long Creek Pond
(North side of Hwy. 68)
Mar 16-Oct. 3115"10"None
Visitor Center Pond
Yyear-round12" None (0)Special Creel Limit: 5 catfish, 15" minimum size
Interior PondsYear-roundKY-12"
TN-None (0)
KY-None (0)
Wildlife Refuges****
Fulton Bay
Honker Bay
Duncan Bay
Smith Bay
Rushing Bay
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
Mar. 16-Oct. 31
See State Regulations

* There is no size limit for Kentucky (spotted) bass in Kentucky or Tennessee portions.
** Trotlines and limblines prohibited in Bards Lake. Jug fishing permitted from October 1 to March 21, with limits of 10 jugs per person.
*** Other areas may be closed as indicated by buoys and signs.

Bowfishing & Frog Gigging

Bowfishing is permitted for nongame fish species along the LBL shoreline of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes and in Honker, Energy, and Bards interior lakes when open to fishing. Fishing licenses are required from the respective states where bowfishing is done.

Frog gigging is permitted by gig only (no firearms) in LBL interior ponds, Bards, Energy, and Honker Lakes from May 15 through August 31. Daily limit is 15. Frog gigging is permitted along the LBL shoreline by gig only in accordance with statewide seasons and regulations. According to Kentucky state law, either a hunting or fishing license may be used for frog gigging. In Tennessee, only a hunting license is valid for frog gigging.

NOTE: Individuals frog gigging with a hunting license in the Kentucky portion of LBL and all Tennessee frog giggers must possess an LBL Hunter Use Permit.

Monthly water levels on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes

The annual water level pattern is the same for Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley since the lakes are joined by a canal at LBL's north end. Some day-to-day variations in water levels occur, but levels generally follow this graph. Much higher water levels may occur during flooding or lower levels may occur during droughts in any season.

Seasonal Fishing Opportunities:

Kentucky & Barkley Lakes

Spring (April-June)
Fishing success is rated excellent. As waters warm above 60°F, fish move to shallow areas in protected coves to spawn. Fish for crappie, largemouth bass, and a variety of sunfish in these areas around any form of cover. Fish for catfish below the dams and in the main lakes near riprap and large rock banks.

Summer (July to mid-September)
Fishing success is rated good. As water temperatures rise above 80°F, fish move to deeper main lake areas along sand bars and old creek channels. Fish for white bass (sometimes called "stripes"), catfish, sauger, and large- and smallmouth bass near drop-offs in 8 to 20 feet of water. Sunfish can still be caught in shallows near the banks. Fish for catfish near the river channels or below the dams.

Fall (mid-September to mid-November)
Fishing success is rated good. Fish move along main lake shorelines and into the deeper bays. Fish for crappie and large- and smallmouth bass around brush, logs, and other cover near the bank in 3 to 10 feet of water. Fish for catfish and rockfish in the dam tailwaters.

Winter (mid-November to mid-March)
Fishing success is rated fair. Fish for crappie along drop-offs with cover in 10 to 20 feet of water in the main lake or in larger bays. Fish for smallmouth bass on sunny main lake gravel bars and points. fish 30-40ft. deep for catfish near the river channels or below the dams.

Eagle Nests on LBL Shoreline

Several bald eagle nests are active at LBL each year. Some of these are near the shoreline. Nesting activity generally occurs in several of these territories yearly. Please avoid disturbing eagles by not approaching too closely. Although bald eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected.

Respect the Resource

  • "Keep it Clean -- Keep it Open" Please remove bait containers, fishing line, and other trash.
  • Check the LBL Recreation Map for refuge boundaries and closure dates.
  • Thanks for helping to protect your public land!

New Reciprocal Agreement on Kentucky Lake:

Anglers can now fish, with either a Kentucky or Tennessee fishing license, from Eggner's Ferry Bridge (U.S. Hwy 68/80 in Kentucky) south to the Gov. Ned McWherter Bridge (U.S. Hwy. 79 in TN) including all embayments, except Blood River in KY. Anglers must abide by each state's size and creel limits when fishing waters in that state.

Have questions on LBL or state fisheries and wildlife management programs? Contact:

Environmental Stewardship
Land Between The Lakes
100 Van Morgan Drive
Golden Pond, Kentucky 42211-9001
Phone (270) 924-2065
(8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri)

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Ellington Agricultural Center
PO Box 40747
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
Phone (615) 781-6500

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
No. 1 Sportsman's Lane
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone 1-800-858-1549

Reporting Illegal Activities:
To report illegal fish and wildlife activities call:
USDA Forest Service: 877-861-2457 or 270-924-2196
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency: 1-800-831-1173
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources: 1-800-252-5378

For more information on LBL write: Land Between The Lakes, 100 Van Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY 42211-9001, or call 270-924-2000 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST.

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