Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

March 26, 2014

Corps raising Cumberland water levels to pre-2007 numbers

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — There is great news this week for those who regularly use Lake Cumberland for fishing or water sports.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers announced Monday that after months of study, and with the assistance of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cumberland will return to their traditional 723 (feet) lake levels which existed before work started on the dam in 2007.

I have friends who dock both houseboats and fishing boats there and I know they will be excited.

The Corps will begin immediately holding water in order to meet the summer levels prior to 07.

The decision came after the Corps and KDFWR reached an agreement on saving the endangered Duskytail darter discovered recently in Cumberland’s tailwaters.

  The three conservation measures are: Capture and Hold – capturing duskytail darters and establishing a temporary, captive population of the species for future recovery efforts of the darter; Water Quality/Habitat Improvement – the Corps will remediate two acid mine drainages on tributaries of the Big South Fork and also complete one sediment abatement/soil stabilization project; and Interim Dam Adjustment - the Corps will modify operations at the Wolf Creek Dam to follow the Top Southeastern Power Administrative (SEPA) Curve during the Winter and Spring filling cycle with an overall goal of reaching elevation 723 around the middle of May.

This interim operation will last for a minimum of three years, or longer, if the water quality improvements have not been completed.

The darters will be maintained and propagated at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Russell County as part of the recovery effort and will, over time, be used in introduction or population augmentation efforts.

Governor Steve Beshear and others praised the decision.

 “I am pleased that the Corps and U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service have expeditiously resolved the issues facing endangered habitat within the water, and that the lake will be open at conventional levels in time for the summer season. This is wonderful news for Lake Cumberland residents and everyone who enjoys fishing and boating at this first-rate Kentucky tourism destination.” 

“This is great news,” said Bob Stewart, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “This will have an immediate and significant impact on this year’s tourism season on and around one of Kentucky’s most popular recreational destinations.” 

One of our Oldtimers group is a dedicated muskie fisherman and regularly fishes Green River Lake for the brutes. One of his best catches came a couple of years ago when he landed a big one fishing from the bank. This week’s report from Kentucky Afield addresses that scenario.

Anglers looking to tangle with a big muskie are fortunate to have an abundance of options in Kentucky – from Cave Run, Buckhorn and Green River lakes and their tailwaters to native muskie streams like the Licking River along with Tygarts and Kinniconick creeks.

Not having a boat doesn’t mean you have to sit idly during this active time.

“You can definitely catch them from shore,” said David “Crash” Mullins, a longtime muskie guide at Cave Run Lake.

“You’ve just got to be on your game a little bit.” Lure selection is not drastically different for bank fisherman targeting muskies.

Minnow lures or twitch baits and 1-ounce spinnerbaits with two single hooks work well in the spring. As the water warms, top-water baits can entice a curious muskie into striking.

This week’s writer is Kevin Kelly.