New man-made creek so real even the fish can’t tell the difference
Trout anglers will soon be fishing in a man-made creek that looks so real the fish won’t even notice the difference.
Less than 21 months after ceremonially breaking ground, Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, along with partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kentucky Division of Water, state legislators and other officials, will dedicate and open the new Hatchery Creek below the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery and Lake Cumberland in Russell County.
Opening day is Friday, April 29. State, federal and local officials, conservation groups and dedicated anglers will join Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gregory K. Johnson streamside for a 2 p.m. (CDT) ceremony that officially opens the new area for public recreation and spotlights the uniqueness of the project.
The new stream winds through woods and wetlands for more than 6,000 feet. It flows 18 million gallons of water daily, occasionally splitting into multiple channels. It includes a variety of stream flow velocities, depths, habitat types and temperature gradients that benefit aquatic life, especially trout. The streams will interest all fish and wildlife enthusiasts. Wetlands and riparian habitats attract a wide variety of wildlife.
Trout angling devotees should especially appreciate the high quality habitat and runs, riffles, glides, pools, eddies, shoals and lunker bunkers that mimic wild, natural trout streams that are designed into the project to encourage natural behavior and spawning of wild trout.
“It’s going to be a challenging stream to fish,” said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Division Assistant Director Mike Hardin. “Anglers will find deep water in some places that likely will eclipse their wader tops. But their efforts have a great chance of being rewarded with larger, river-run fish.”
The stream loses 30 feet of elevation along its last 500 feet before flowing in the Cumberland River tailwater. Designers created a series of step pools along this stretch to allow trout from the river to migrate into the stream.
“Fly fishing a wild trout stream like the new Hatchery Creek here in Kentucky is a memorable experience right up there with the best of them,” said Johnson. “This magnificent new stream is a tremendous testament to the remarkable accomplishments possible through public/private partnerships.”
The new stream more than tripled the length of the original Hatchery Creek. The original creek, which flowed through an eroded gully, polluted the Cumberland River with sediment and affected the nearby Kendall Campground. The new Hatchery Creek is designed to prevent erosion and protect the river’s water quality.
“We all are excited about this new, pristine stream ecosystem and new fishing opportunities,” said Hardin. “But improving the water quality in the Cumberland River by eliminating a major source of sediment pollution is an even bigger success.”
The Kentucky Wetland and Stream Mitigation Program, sponsored by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, funded design and construction of the new stream. The project required no state General Fund or fishing license dollars.