Not all pay lakes are bad, but I'd say most of them definately are. I went to one when I was younger and it was quite memorable, because the shores of the lake were covered in the carcases of dead channels. The biggest reason these fish die is because of shock, they go from a holding tank of one temperature, then into a lake of a very different temperature. Fish need time to adjust to these changes otherwise a lot of them die.
But anyway, if your after some nice looking cats then you have a lot of options to choose from, so listen up. Your best chance of catching a hog is from the Ohio, and their are plenty of spots along the shore to try out. The dams are one of the very best places you can go. You can reel in a monster size cat and reel in other species too. Their also one of the best places for catching skipjack, which is arguably one of the best baits for cats. If you want to catch skips then sabiki rigs are a must. You can get them super cheap from Renegade Tackle, and if I were you, I would stock up on them. Now, another good bait to have would be shad, and as long as you have a cast net, then you should be able to catch tons of them. Isn't it nice when you don't have to buy bait, and if you play your cards just right, then thats exactly what you'll be looking at.
I said you have a lot of options to choose from, and in Kentucky their are tons of fishing locations that are very productive fisheries. If your after some big flatheads then the Green river is something worth considering, especially around dam 4 near Woodbury, Ky. Near Cincinnati, you have a few options to choose from too, first being the Licking River which is home to blues, channels and flatheads. Their has been 80 pounders taken of there too. You can also fish off the Serpentine Wall on the Ohio river, this is a popular location and a known area for flatheads. On the Kentucky side you can also find flatheads near the Hooters in Newport.
Taylorsville Lake is also a really good lake to fish at. It has channels, blues, and very very few flatheads. You can really catch quite a bit here especially when it comes to channels, and can catch blues up to 20 pounds, perhaps even more.
You can also try your luck at Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley, and even Lake Cumberland is a good choice. They have monsters.
So look past pay lakes and try out one of these suggestions. It will make you a better fisherman because after all the preparation you put in, all the stuff you learn, you'll know what it takes to catch catfish. Anyone can catch something out of a paylake but it takes skill to catch from a river or lake.
Mike good fishing holes there buddy, When i lived n ky fished alot of em.. Cumberland catfishing is very productive most of the time. And i liked raugh river and nolin. If fish the back waters mostly off em. Like adkins and other place.. Ky has alot of rivers and streams. Should'nt be hard to find a nice place. I no i even caught channels outta white mills.
Well, you dont have to fish paylakes if your looking to stock your freezer. Louisville has plenty of options in and around the city. There are tons of parks in the Louisville Metro area that are stocked several times a year and produce keeper size fish. Some of the best are:
Mcalpine Dam. Yeah, not a lake at all, but its probably the best fishery in the Louisville area, so I had to mention it. You can catch just about any catfish, and even other fish like stripers and sauger. So I would recommend this spot.
Fishermans Park. This is on the outskirts of J-town and stocked with catfish, bass, bluegill, and they use to stock trout in it too. Its made up of like 7 small lakes, and the largerst is stocked with the most fish and is the most productive. For the channels use chicken liver. To keep it on the hook, cut off a small piece of panty hose and wrap it around the liver, then place it on the hook.
William F. Miles Park. This is right outside Middletown off of Shelbyville Rd. This is also made up of several lakes of like 5 or 6. Lake number 4 is the most productive and is where you'll have the most luck catching catfish.
Long Run Park. This is about 3 to 5 miles outside of Middletown, again off of Shelbyville Rd. This is about 30 acres and allows small boats and canoes. It has bass, catfish, bluegill, and probably a few other species to fish for.
Reformatory Lake. This is in Buckner and can only be fished from one side of the 55 acre lake, as the other side is home to the Kentucky State Reformatory, hence the name of the lake. Its home to all major species and has been stocked with blues for the past 10 years. The largest ones are around 20 pounds or more.
Wilborn Park. This is in La Grange and I fish here the most often. It has all major species and flats have been known to be caught here. I have caught several channels at 10 pounds or more here, plus bass up to 5 pounds. Its a good lake and you can easily catch several cats in one day.
Let this be known. The people of this website do not endorse paylakes, many of them have a bad reputation, and are responsible for the death of countless numbers of catfish. They rob trophy worthy cats out of major rivers, put them into small lakes, and ultimately their lives are cut short. So if your looking for help pertaining to pay lakes, well, your not gonna get it. To do so, would go against everything we believe in, to help a industry we loathe and despise. We'll help you catch cats but certainly not from a pay lake.
MIke as someone who fishes the ohio, several Louisville lakes, and pay lakes I have to believe you don't fish the metro lakes very often. While there are a few channels over 1lb in then there is a better than average chance that it has been dumped in from the ohio. The fish that Ky stocks average about a half pound and are caught and kept by peope who just don't care would be my guess. Last spring/early summer my cousin and I caught 28 channels at Fishermans in just under two hours. The largest was maybe 3/4 of a pound. We threw them all back but a month later when I went there with my son we caught two. It is real easy to see how easy it is to completely burn these lakes out and thats what happens.
When I want fish to eat I have no problem going to a paylake and filling my cage. I have never seen dead fish all over any lake I have been to because that would be bad business. If people aren't catching fish they aren't going to come back and spend money.The eating sized fish that make up the majority of the fish sold to paylakes are farm raised! While I'm sure some pay lake buy large cats to stock these fish are caught and released many times as you aren't allowed to keep fish over 10lbs at most lakes. The commercial fisherman that catch fish to sell to be eaten I'm sure take many hundreds of thousands of more fish than the few that are sold to paylakes. I just don't see where there could be that huge of a demand for large cats when if they are sold to paylakes they aren't eaten. They are caught and released.
My dad didn't fish and neither did my cousins dad. We started fishing paylakes by ourselves at 12 and progressed from there to catching blues and flatheads in the ohio when we started to drive. Untill then if we wanted to catch fish it was paylakes or catch bullheads out of the creeks like we had for years since we were real young, but channels were a step up for us. The local lakes weren't stocked at that time. And our parents weren't comfortable dropping us off at the river all day and night like they were at the paylake down the road. I still see a lot of young teens fishing paylakes that may not get to catch a bunch of cats if it wasn't for them being there. I feel like anything that gets kids fishing and gives people a chance to fish that might not get to, isn't a bad thing.JMO