LEE McCLELLAN KENTUCKY AFIELD
October 9, 2013
FRANKFORT - With cooler weather and shimmering fall days, the Fishing in Neighborhood (FINs) lakes are a great place to spend a gorgeous afternoon fishing lakes chock full of fish that are close to home for many Kentuckians.
“With our recent stockings of catfish and fast growing hybrid bluegill, these 39 lakes across Kentucky give anglers a great opportunity for a productive day of fishing,” said Gerry Buynak, assistant director for fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We manage the lakes in the FINs program to provide maximum fishing enjoyment and a high probability of success.”
The fisheries division recently stocked 22 lakes with around 40,000 4- to 8-inch hybrid sunfish in lakes stretching from Marshall County in the west to Knox County in the east. Lakes in Jefferson and Fayette counties enrolled in the program received these fish as well as lakes near Paducah, Elizabethtown and northern Kentucky.
“These hybrid sunfish grow quickly and should provide great fishing and eating,” Buynak said. “They bite willingly.”
The fisheries division also stocked all 39 FINs lakes with catfish ranging from 10 to 24 inches long. “Some of these catfish weigh up to five pounds,” Buynak said. “They should provide excellent sport.”
Unfortunately, the rainbow trout that usually comprise part of the fall stocking effort on the FINs lakes will be delayed until further notice due to the federal government shutdown.
The FINs lakes also have more restrictive special regulations to spread out fish harvest over a longer length of time. Anglers fishing these lakes may only keep 15 bluegill or other sunfish, four catfish or five rainbow trout daily all with no minimum size limit. They may keep just one largemouth bass daily with a 15-inch minimum size limit.
The lakes in the FINs program lie in Kentucky’s most densely populated areas. “More than half of Kentucky’s population lives in the 24 counties that have lakes enrolled in the FINs program,” said Dane Balsman, program coordinator for the Fishing in the Neighborhoods program (FINS). The program began in 2006 on five pilot lakes.
“We want to provide productive fishing opportunities to people living in urban areas,” Buynak said. “They won’t have to drive across several counties to get to the good fishing. They have it close to home.”
The dense stocking rates on the FINs lakes make them excellent places to bring children fishing, especially for sunfish. They won’t wait around for long stretches before seeing their bobbers disappear. This is all important in an era of children used to the fast pace of video games and electronic media.
For more detailed information on Kentucky’s FINs program, including lake maps and directions along with fish stocking schedules, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov and click onto the “Fishing in Neighborhoods” logo.
Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.