Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report
April 10, 2013 Share

Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report


It has been 3 weeks since my last report.   Greetings to my readers! I hope the world finds you and your family doing well!

As a former United States Air Force Airman – military veteran and as a current U.S.  Merchant Marine Captain and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol Coxswain (Captain), I understand the great importance that our brave service men and women play in our society. Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do! 

We also cannot forget the duty and service provided by our Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen.

STRIPERFUN OFFERS A 10% DISCOUNT on all charters to currently active Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen as well as to all active military AND retired military veterans (with proper verification ID provided by the person booking the trip).

This is our way of saying “THANKS” to these important men and women for your service.


For those sportsmen that have been following the issues regarding the Army Corp of Engineers and restrictions on the Cumberland River, here is an update. It is thought by many that the conclusion of this issue as it pertains to the Cumberland River will set the premise for all other waterways under Army Corp of Engineers authority. It's important to all sportsmen.


Senate Passes Alexander, McConnell, Corker, Paul Amendment Opposing Corps’ Fishing Restrictions
Amendment would allow Congress to prevent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from erecting physical barriers to tailwaters fishing areas on Cumberland River
“This amendment sends a clear message to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: that it should stop wasting $2.6 million in taxpayer money enforcing these unnecessary and unreasonable fishing restrictions.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, March 21 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced today that the Senate passed the budget resolution amendment he sponsored with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would allow Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing proposed fishing restriction on the Cumberland River.

“This amendment sends a clear message to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: that it should stop wasting $2.6 million in taxpayer money enforcing these unnecessary and unreasonable fishing restrictions,” Alexander said. “Instead, the Corps should work with the wildlife agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky to develop a sensible plan to promote public safety when water is spilling through the dam.”

Alexander’s amendment opposes a $2.6 million Corps plan to erect physical barriers restricting access to tailwaters fishing areas below 10 dams on the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The senator has asked the Corps to explore alternatives – such as signs, sirens and lights – and work with wildlife agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky to satisfy safety and regulatory requirements to improve safety.

Alexander continued, “The tailwaters are only dangerous when the water is spilling through the dam, which on average is about 20 percent of the time. Closing off the tailwaters 100 percent of the time would be like keeping the gate down at the railroad crossing 100 percent of the time. The track isn’t dangerous when the train isn’t coming, and the tailwaters aren’t dangerous when the water isn’t spilling through the dam.”

In addition to various legislative efforts, Alexander has also held several discussions with Corps officials, including Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, whom he encouraged to reconsider the $2.6 million expenditure in light of the sequester’s automatic spending cuts.

For more information contact: Jim Jeffries< (202) 224-8816


We had a really strong rain for several days almost 3 weeks back now and the lake (and the creeks) came up and got really muddy.  This made fishing more difficult for about 2 weeks.  Not impossible, but harder as we had to find areas of clear water.

Such is the life of a Lake Cumberland Striper guide.

The water in the creeks has finally begun to clear and is currently in the mid 55°F range.  However, the main lake water temperature remains nearly 8°F colder (deeper water takes longer to warm – plus the creeks are fed by warmer rain water!).  Thus, the majority of the big predator Stripers are still be staging in all over the creeks (between the headwater to the main lake).  You may find them in as little as 10 feet of water or holding in 65 feet of water.  Learn to use your topographical maps and electronics.  If you are looking for new electronics, feel free to call me and I can make some solid suggestions on Humminbird units.

As always when we have heavy rains there is floating wood everywhere. You have to learn to work around it.  You must be careful.  It is really easy to bust off a transom mount transducer smacking a log you will not see under water, or even worse a lower unit on your outboard

That can make for a lousy and expensive day.  SO SLOW DOWN when you see lots of wood!

As it is throughout early spring, the continual warming water will cause the Stripers (and other species) to really begin to get active near the surface!  This is where casting artificial lures can really pay off!  PLEASE READ THE EQUIPMENT SECTION BELOW IN THIS REPORT to learn about lures to throw that will produce big fish for you!

We are still hitting lots of good numbers on most days (yes, there are the occasional “slow” days – they would call it “catching” instead of “fishing” otherwise!) with some really fat 26 to 33 inch plus 14 to 20 pound keepers. 


Check out the photo of the Dennis Dixon group that fished with me personally.  Who says you cannot catch big Stripers in murky wood filled water!

In early spring the larger Stripers have a stronger metabolism and it is the best time of year to catch a real trophy.  The lake is certainly not disappointing us this year!

StriperFun has guides available this weekend so come see us!  To get in on the great fishing action, you can book a Striper fishing adventure with StriperFun!   Click the following link:


What to expect on the water

The fish are holding on flats early in the morning (on “sunny days” – not so much on cloudy days) and then moving to the Canyon walls in the creek turns as the day warms.  Learn to fish your creek turns!  The current builds up there as the moving water “pushes up” against the side of the canyon wall.  This highly oxygenated water is rich in algae, plankton, bait fish and big monster Stripers!

As normal in April, we are still catching Stripers throughout the day in the back sections of the creeks.  Early in the morning, do not be afraid to fish as shallow as five to ten feet deep (but only if the temperature is climbing and it is sunny!).  Many times, the warmest water on the lake will be flowing in to the very backs of the creeks.  The water is always warmer in shallow water and on the mud flats. 

Also, the water is always warmer on the north shore of the creek

The simple reason being, the Sun is in the southern sky this time of year and the majority of direct sunlight falls on the Northern shore line.  Always use your temperature gauge on your fish finder and hunt for the “warmest” water you can find.  There you will find the strongest concentration of bait fish (and large predators). 

There is a lot of truth to the old adage; “Find the bait fish and you find the Stripers”!

One of my favorite tricks this time of year is to position the boat perfectly “still” (possible only with a Minn Kota I Pilot!) and then drop a Captain Jim Striper Dominator hair jig right into a big ball of bait.  If your fish finder is high quality, you can actually see the jig going up and down.  The secret then is to be sure to let the lure drop “below” the bait ball “bail open” to let it “flutter down” at least 6 to 10 feet (below the bait ball).  Keep your thumb lightly on the line to feel for strikes, as many times the big predators will then eat the lure hard as it drops because the fluttering hair jig looks like a wounded minnow in a death spiral!  If they do not hit it, then “rip” it back up into the bait ball and “bounce it” for a few seconds in place then repeat the process.

This hot little technique can turn on the fish! Additionally, using the same technique to “drop shot” live bait also works (making a slow day into a frenzied bite)!

Check out the photo of the Hannah group with a fat limit!

The early spring Lake Cumberland fishing can be absolutely outstanding

You can find massive schools of Stripers that have trapped huge herds of bait fish back in this shallow water!  It can be “Kabam” and “Kapow” with rods getting yanked down hard with major number of nice Stripers and the occasional “wall mount” monster! 

Many times our customers do not initially realize that the Striper fishing is 365 days year round.  However, as the largest guide service in Kentucky, all of our boats are covered and heated and we virtually fish almost every day.  Do not let the cooler weather keep you away!

As always, every now and then the weather will shut the bite down for a day or so. But generally, the fishing remains strong!  Check the StriperFun website under “recent catches” for “photo after photo after photo” of nice limits StriperFun is delivering for other clients as well. 

We live for this type of fishing and you can too!  Come see us!


I also find that the very largest “older Stripers” will break away from the schools and will stay off by themselves.  Similar to how a huge buck deer will separate from the herd to live alone

This seems to be the normal life cycle of many of God’s creatures.

I also find that most of these larger older Stripers (really big targets on the fish finder!) will “strategically hold” on underwater current break points (within a few feet off the bottom) waiting to ambush prey. 

Using high quality fish finders, I search out and locate where there are channel swings in the creek bottom forming ledges (which the current washes nutrient rich water across!) or where there are sharp mud to rock transitional areas (nature’s “party zones” for the algae, plankton and bait fish!).

It is in these areas I like to target these largest of fish and usually will find them! 

To do this effectively (to narrow the focus to only larger fish), I will Slide Diver and down rig larger (3/4 to 1 ounce) Captain Jim Special hair jigs with plastics trailers.  Always keep your colors consistent!  Use white trailers with white jigs and green trailers with green (chartreuse) jigs,  Do not mix colors and you should have better luck (at least, from my experience).

I troll at about 2.2 to 2.5 MPH in this cold water.  Since the fish are holding right off of the bottom, you need to keep your hair jigs directly in the strike zone.  To do this, you have to be continually moving the downrigger ball (and subsequently the trailing lure!) up and down with the bottom contour so as to not hang up your lure or down rigger ball.  It is a constantly active moving process and is better worked by having at least two people on the boat. 

I can teach you this technique when you book a trip!

My dad always took the time to take me fishing and taught me to enjoy and respect the outdoors.  These valuable lessons serve me even today.  SO TAKE A KID FISHING! 

Check out young Peyton Webb (Bill Webb’s grandson) with his first Striper!  It was my pleasure to put him on his first big fish! 

Fishing is “family fun”.  Come see us soon!

Wow!!!  It doesn’t get any better than this! 


If you see a school of Stripers on the surface feeding, be sure to not run your boat directly into the school.  Come down off of plane at least 150 feet away then approach by trolling motor on high speed.  Be patient as well, do not throw until your lure can reach the edges of the school (that is mentally “hard” to do).

Be respectful of other boaters as well.  Unfortunately, you will rarely get the same treatment.

The reality is that the fish usually will not stay up long.  However, check the time on your watch and stay in the general area.  My experience this time of year is that they re-surface every 6 to 8 minutes as they “herd” the large schools of shad to the surface (like any predators herd their pray).   Many times, I find that if I “run” over towards them when I see them come up, by the time I get there they are “back down”!  Then, when I look over, they are coming up “right where I just came from”!  This is a technique you just have to learn (to be at the right place at the right time). 

Truthfully, sometimes it is just “luck”.

If the Stripers are still all over the surface, we are absolutely hammering them throwing my Captain Jim “Little Friend” blade baits and my “Dominator” hair jigs, as well as the Kentucky and Tennessee “Thumper” rigs and the new “Striper Mugger” rig (multi lure casting rigs)! 


The gift of a weekend package trip (or even a one day Striper fishing trip) with StriperFun makes a great Father’s day present for Dad, a brother or for the family and kids, or can make a great bonus for an employee or a promotion for a customer! We fish year round and our trips are very popular and our booking dates fill up fast!

Fishing is family friendly and wholesome. So if you are interested in catching “trophy Stripers” or giving the perfect gift to that special someone, order a StriperFun Guide Service gift certificate today! 

StriperFun also offers an extensive variety of products that make great gifts, including numerous types of fishing lures, Super bait tanks, Hydro Glow bait lights and much more!

We take VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards!

Call me for details at 513-304-8825 or click my photo above to go to the StriperFun website to send me an email! 


Regulations that govern hunting, fishing, and habitat are formed by both the Kentucky Wildlife Commission and the legislative process. The League of Kentucky Sportsmen (League) helps keep the hunters and fishermen on top of today’s issues.  The combined voices of sportsmen are a powerful tool used to more effectively influence the decision making so that sportsmen can actually have a say in how the resources are managed.

The League works with individuals, Government Agencies, and Club Affiliates to constantly support the use of scientific wildlife management practices on public lands, private lands, and corporate lands. The League also supports the Kentucky heritage of hunting, trapping, fishing, and the right to keep and bear arms. The League also provides assistance with organizing events to bring kids and adults together in the great outdoors.

No single individual or organization can do it alone. The League needs your help. Become a member today.

Contact the LKS office and order your membership over the phone at (859) 858-0135.  Or click on to their website:

If you have any other ideas, techniques or subjects you want me to write about, drop me a line!

I am many times asked “What are the advantages to hiring a guide”? In essence, you hire a guide to utilize the guide’s many years of experience and lake knowledge, to learn new tactics and techniques to increase your chance of “landing the big one”. Guides use top of the line equipment and the freshest live bait. Also, if you cannot afford your own boat, it is a very cost effective way for you or your group to fish (cost per fisherman). Even professional fishermen hire guides to learn a lake and new techniques!

We are now moving into the early spring season.  “Twilight” now rolls around just a little later each night.  I look forward to seeing all of you this year on the water.  Count your blessings each day and live “in the moment”, not in the future and always remember to stop and shake the hand of a person in uniform or wearing garb that shows they are a veteran!  Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do! 

Remember also to always obey all Kentucky fishing regulations while on Lake Cumberland or any Kentucky waterway.  Following the rules is a must!  It is important that we all be good stewards of our fishing resources.  If you have any questions about fishing regulations or to report poachers, call Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at 800-858-1549. 

Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!