Between 4.5 and 5 hours’ drive from Atlanta, the Cumberland River tail water in South Central Kentucky has been a sleeper for quite some time. Only recently has the popularity of the river extended beyond locals.
The Cumberland River tail water comes from the Wolf Creek Dam on Cumberland Lake. The cold flows from the lake create an amazing habitat for trout extending for more than the 70 miles it runs from the dam to the border with Tennessee. It is truly one of the finest trout fisheries in the United States. The banks of the river are lined with hardwood forests, high bluffs, and farm land. A mostly limestone riverbed creates a fertile ecosystem that produces prolific hatches of caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies. Sowbugs are also quite numerous and provide an excellent source of protein for the trout in this river to attain size quickly. Terrestrials such as Japanese beetles provide even more food for the fish in the warmer months. These fish are gorgeous, healthy and strong. What more could and angler want?
If you enjoy fishing streamers, then this is the river for you. The percentage of large fish in the Cumberland as well as the presence of shad make this one of the best rivers around for throwing the big stuff. Using a 7 weight rod or heavier is common practice and it certainly helps if you happen to hook into one of the big stripers that also cruise the waters.
Multiple state records have come from the Cumberland River. A 21 lb monster of a brown trout was taken in the summer of 2000, breaking the old Kentucky state record by almost 3 lbs. In 1999, Gerald McDaniel scored an IGFA line class world record striped bass weighing in at 45 lbs. Fishing pressure varies by section of the river, but the quality of the angling is superior throughout the river’s run in Kentucky.
River Through Atlanta is now running a limited number of trips on the Cumberland River. Please contact Chris Scalley for information on dates and lodging. A trip to the Cumberland is nothing short of a fantastic experience from both an angling and aesthetic perspective. One trip to the Cumberland will bring you back for more!