Thanks to their aggressive spirit and size potential, hybrid striped bass have become one of the more sought-after species in Kentucky. And nowhere is the fishing better than in the 10,000-acre Barren River Lake about 40 miles southeast of Bowling Green. According to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources fisheries biologist Bonny Laflin, between 200,000 and 400,000 “wiper” fingerlings have been stocked in Barren River Lake every year since 1979. The hybrid fishing has always been good here, but the result of hefty stockings in 1996 and 1997 may be weighing in on the angler’s side today. Laflin reports that last year’s sampling survey was “outstanding” in terms of the lake’s hybrid population. Many 10- to 11-pound hybrids were netted, as well as a few 18- to 19-pounders, and the fish were widely distributed throughout the lake. Gizzard shad being the primary forage bait for hybrid stripers, boating anglers will do well to follow the shad schools, especially when the schools position themselves over long points or hogbacks. Downrigging is becoming increasingly popular among the locals, with 22 feet seeming to be the magic depth when trolling white-colored baits. Shoreline anglers are in their heyday when the lake floods the parking lots and the hybrids move in to feed over the pavement and in the timbers. Here baits such as night crawlers, crayfish and even chicken livers are hot tickets. Contact: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Southwestern District (270-746-7127).
Barren River Lake