Hatchery Creek – Wolf Creek Dam – Lake Cumberland

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Welcome back to 2018. Seems like it has been one of the longest winters in memory…but alas, over spring break, I was back at it again. I had read a few times about the new facility that had been built at the Wolf Creek Dam facility in southern Kentucky and decided to spend a few days checking things out.

If you don’t know or aren’t familiar Wolf Creek Dam sits at the bottom of Lake Cumberland. The lake itself is the largest man made lake east of The Mississippi River. All of this water was harnessed back in the 1930’s as a way of doing three things; preventing the inevitable floods, creating electricity and creating a recreational area that is quite frankly second to none. Wolf Creek Dam is like any other tail water in that the cold water (42 to 65 degrees) flows out from the bottom of the reservoir and by doing so provides the cool water needed to raise and propagate trout.
Lower Hatchery Creek SignThe folks at the facility took things a step further and they diverted enough water through the hatchery and down a man-made trout stream. At about a mile in length and probably an average of 40-50 feet in width…there is enough cool water provided year round to provide a nice trout stream. Hatchery Creek is basically a side-shoot of the Cumberland River and parallels the river, eventually rejoining it at a unique spot called the ‘staircase’.

This is a beautiful facility and the possibilities are limitless…in fact it is my hope that other states with such a facility will consider this as an option; guess time will tell. Now for a bit of reality. I was on the property for 2-3 hours three days in a row…and caught a total of 4 trout. If you have followed my site for a while then you will know that typically I am capable of significantly more. At this point I am going to give the stream a pass and won’t in fact pass judgement as the weather during my stay was not only cold, but we were under a large high pressure area. Lord knows trout are a fickle group on any given day or period of time!

I am not sure what the issue was as I can promise you that I tried every trick in my bag; yes, I even nymphed and high sticked for the better part of one afternoon…still no results. I didn’t see many trout; in fact the second and third days-I hardly saw any activity on the stream at any point. Now, this being said, you may have been there and done great. I hope in fact you have. As for me and chucking streamers…just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Sign for Wolf Creek National Fish HatcheryIf you do go…dead-head directly to the fish hatchery itself and visit the Visitors Center. The men and women there couldn’t have been any nicer! They were able to hook me up with a license ($50 for non-resident annual…plus a $10 dollar trout stamp) and give me directions and info about the stream. The Visitor’s Center also has lots to do; old photos, wildlife exhibits and there is an 8 minute video that can be cued up for you that will explain the history of the facility; my wife and I watched and found it to be very interesting.

Just up the road (north on 127) is Jamestown and Russell Springs, Kentucky. Both towns offer anything you could want or need. Russell Springs is the larger of the two and had a wider variety of vendors. However, in Jamestown we ate at Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant…and it was excellent.

So, hope this and the video gives you some clarification on the site and what it has to offer. While my venture didn’t prove so profitable….make the trip and decide for yourself. It is truly one of the most scenic areas we have visited while crossing the great country of ours!

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