February the month to catch walleye and sauger from the bank
February 10, 2016 Share

February the month to catch walleye and sauger from the bank

FRANKFORT — Many anglers would drive a few hundred miles for a chance to catch an 8-pound walleye or a limit of tasty sauger. Kentuckians only have to drive to Campbellsville and head south on KY 55 to the Tailwater Recreation Area below Green River Lake. You don’t even need a boat.

“We saw walleye up to 8 pounds when we did population sampling on Jan. 15, just below Green River Lake Dam,” said David Baker, stream fisheries biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “It is just impressive, we see nice fish there. We don’t see as many sauger, but the ones we see are large.”

 Kentuckians are blessed with several places to bank fish for walleye and sauger. Excellent access exists below Green River Lake, Lake Cumberland, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley as well as below several locks and dams on the Ohio River. February through early March is the best time of year to catch them.

The Tailwater Recreation Area below Green River Lake provides first-rate bank access for walleye and sauger anglers. A suspending jerkbait draws strikes from walleye in this stretch. Start with jerkbaits in natural shad colors such as grey, silver and black and work them aggressively. If the walleye show no interest, change to loud color combinations such as clown or fire-tiger.

Live minnows rigged on a No. 2 Octopus-style hook attract walleye as well as sauger in this area. Crimp enough split shot on the line about a foot above the hook for the offering to gently hit bottom on occasion.

The Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam is another excellent bank fishing spot for walleye and sauger.

“We picked up some nice walleye on Cumberland River during trout population sampling last fall,” said Jeff Crosby, Central Fisheries District biologist who helped in the effort. “We captured and released a walleye over 8 pounds and a significantly bigger one got away under the boat.”

The river produced the current 7-pound, 7-ounce state record sauger in the early 1980s.

Walleye and sauger in Cumberland River congregate below Wolf Creek Dam in February and March to devour threadfin shad and alewives. The cold water from a long winter stresses and disorients these baitfish and they get pulled through the dam and into the river.

Lee McClellan/ Kentucky Afield Outdoors