Trout Fishing Could Be At Risk In Southern Kentucky

The Cumberland River tailrace below Wolf Creek Dam is considered by many to be the premiere place for trout fishing. But not today.

“We ain't catching nothin,” says Buster Biddle of northern Kentucky, who is used to traveling to Russell County to fish for brown and rainbow trout. But since Lake Cumberland is lower and we're in a drought; the river isn't as high and that's not good for fishing.

“Water is down so low just can't do. All we can do is fish off the bank. Ain't doing no good,” says Biddle.

The problem is that the drought and Lake Cumberland's low levels are increasing the river's temperature. Anything above 65 degrees reduces oxygen and that means dead fish.

Fish aren't dying just yet. But it could happen.

"Right, the trout are considered a cold water species. Which means they have to have cold water to thrive. And so if the water temperatures go past a certain point, the trout, it could be lethal to them,” says James Gray with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

And that's why water is being released from under the Wolf Creek Dam into the Cumberland River tailrace. Officials hope by adding cold water to the river it will save the fish.