Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report
May 3, 2013 Share

Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report


It has been 2 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.

DATE OF REPORT: April 28th, 2013

• Latest water temperature: 63.1 ° F surface (Fishing Creek – Lee’s Ford Marina) April 28th, 2013
• Latest water temperature: 61.9 ° F surface (Indian Creek) April 26th, 2013
• Latest water temperature: 62.2 ° F surface (Fishing Creek – Needle Point) April 28th, 2013

Currently, the lake level is right at 702.58 feet above sea level. The lake is now about 23 feet below the tree line. The tree line is normally at 725' above sea level.  With the repairs finished on the dam, the lake is forecasted to be back at 725' above sea level by late summer (we will see!).


Per Gerry Buynak of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Fisheries Division (KDFWR), the following is the planned 2013 Lake Cumberland and tail water stockings: 

KDFWR normally stocks 350,000 Walleye and Striped Bass fingerlings annually with one species pulsed at 500,000 once every third year.  In 2013 and possibly in 2014 (depending on what the KDFWR sampling indicates), KDFWR will stock both species at 500,000 fingerlings.  KDFWR is also planning on stocking around 100,000 + Shell Cracker fingerlings. This number will depend on what KDFWR gets out of one of the production ponds.

In the tail water, KDFWR stocked 35,000 – 40,000 Brown and about the same number of Brook Trout in February.   They reduced the number of Rainbow Trout being stocked in the tail water in early 2013 from around 161,000 to 147,000.  The reason they did this was that so the tail water resource could later be stocked with 10,000 + “greater than 15 inch” Rainbow Trout for the anglers to enjoy.  These larger fish will be stocked later this year and because of their size will be protected by the 15-20 inch slot limit.  This will bring the “quality” aspect of the fishery back quicker.  In addition, later this fall KDFWR will be getting 10,000 to 12,000 seven to nine inch fish from Virginia and these will be stocked into the river.

If you have any questions, please contact.

Gerry Buynak
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Fisheries Division
#1 Sportsman's Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-7109 ext. 4526



The fishing the last 2 weeks was strong.  We had a huge storm and front that blew through Friday the 19th we had to contend with (Wow!  What a storm!  More on that below!), but all and all fishing has been solid.  

Captain Larry and I had the great pleasure of hosting our semi annual “U.S. Marines” trip (multiple boats) with a great bunch of Viet Nam veteran Marines that come see us frequently.  We began the trip Wednesday the 17th and fished for 2 days Wednesday and Thursday, putting some really nice fish in the boat.  Check out the photo of one of the catches below!

God bless these Marines for their service!  SEMPER FI – HOORAH!!

Then the storm blew began blowing through Thursday afternoon.  I was out at the fishing cleaning station cleaning a large mess of big Stripers and the wind began to howl, it began to rain sideways (like Forest Gump would say; “Big Fat Rain!!!”) and the clouds began to rumble loudly.  Needless to say, I began to hurry with the cleaning of the fish (I was standing at a STAINLESS STEEL TABLE holding a STAINLESS STEEL filet knife!).  Can you say target of opportunity?

Then suddenly it was “boom” with the loudest lightening strike I had ever heard!  The vets told me later (watching from cover) that I jumped a foot off the ground.  The loud and sudden lighting strike was unexpected.  You could smell the ozone from the ionized air.  Apparently the lightening had hit the building right by me (within 50 feet) as the marina lost the phones for a while.

All and all, it was an eventful day.  I always pray each morning to thank the Lord for giving me another day to fish Lake Cumberland.  Yes, I PRAYED EXTRA HARD FRIDAY MORNING when I woke up (I glad to be here and that it had not been my time that day to go the day before!).

The next morning I had the pleasure of taking my publicist from Coastal Angler Magazine (Ken Lyons) and his friends Larry Hujo and Bob Elliott out on a trip (Bob is a Field Reporter for Coastal Angler Magazine as well).  We fished in sustained 15 to 20 MPH winds with 40 MPH wind gusts all day. 

Man, it was challenging fishing in those conditions! 

Larry (unfortunately!) lost a major monster Striper that took a big live bait and was running like a breakaway steam engine, making the drag scream and complain “like an irate Duke fan”!  It had the planer board literally “suspended” in mid air as it took 50 feet of line in the first few seconds. I am clueless as to how it came unhitched, but it did and we did not land this behemoth!

It is always the big ones you lose that keep you awake! We still landed some nice keepers, despite getting the crap kicked out of us by the howling wind all day.  See the photo below of Larry Hujo with his first Lake Cumberland Stripers:

The next morning, I took out some firefighters from Indiana (the John Manley group).  The temperature had dropped 45 degrees overnight (can you say “cold front”?).  Fishing sucked all day.  It is hard to contend with such a major temperature variance.  But we rebounded the next day with some nice fish.  See the photo below:

Captain Larry and Captain Dave also smacked some nice fish this week.  The lake is certainly not disappointing us this year!  Captain Jared stumbled upon a big hungry school the last few days and hit eight (8) keepers all at once for the Lee Holmes group (see the photo below):

Such is the life of a Lake Cumberland Striper guide!

The water in the creeks is clear to mostly and is currently in the mid 65°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!) and is still full of trees and debris.  BE CAREFUL! As always in the spring of the year, there is floating wood everywhere. You have to learn to work around it.  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!

The majority of the big predator Stripers are still staging in the creeks but are beginning to matriculate towards the main lake.  You may find them holding in 40 to 65 feet of water in the creek beds and turns and on sharp points.  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 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. 

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

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:

For more information, click on to the StriperFun website:



By Captain Jim Durham

Owner StriperFun Guide Service & Captain Jim Lures
Staff Writer for