Long before the mist had begun to rise from the water with the coming dawn, Lake Cumberland fishing guide, Eddie Tallent, was busy catching natural baitfish for his morning fishing trip with clients out of Grider Hill Dock. Though he is also a highly-respected school teacher, Eddie and his father, Miller, spend much of their time teaching visitors about the fantastic fishing on Lake Cumberland.
Part of the chain of lakes in Kentucky and Tennessee constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Cumberland is located in South Central Kentucky and is easily accessible in less than an hour from Interstate Highway 75 and from Interstate 65. Lake Cumberland’s 1,255 miles of shoreline makes it the largest manmade lake in the world in terms of miles of shoreline. This encloses 63,000 acres of placid water surrounded by scenic rugged mountains with an average water depth of 90 feet. Lake Cumberland is backed up for 101 miles on the Cumberland River by Wolf Creek Dam, a 240 foot high embankment built in the early 1950s.
The Cumberland river rises in hundreds of deep coves, valleys, and hollows far to the east in the Cumberland Mountains and flows westward through the Daniel Boone National Forest and over the Cumberland Falls. It then dips West and South toward the Tennessee border and is joined by the Big South Fork, a major tributary, before flowing into Cumberland Lake. Below the lake the river flows into Tennessee passing through Nashville before turning North back into Kentucky and finally joining the Ohio River in far western Kentucky near Paducah.
Though Lake Cumberland is nationally famous for its spring run of white bass, it is this huge impoundment’s tremendous population of smallmouth and striped bass that entices most anglers. Grider Hill Dock is the closest resort to the Wolf Creek Dam, where the water spreads out and creates many more coves, hollows, bays, and points than further up stream. This irregular shoreline offers the best fish habitat on Lake Cumberland.
From August through October, the feisty, bronze-colored smallmouth bass are caught casting the points with topwater lures, crankbaits, spinners, and live crawfish. During this same period, many bass and stripers can be seen chasing minnows near the surface of the water and are vulnerable to shad-like lures.
According to Lake Cumberland fishing guide, Eddie Tallent, striped bass fishing on the lower reaches of the lake with live bait is excellent most of the year. Late summer finds most stripers at depths of about 25 to 40 feet in the morning and late afternoon. From mid-September on, however, as the water starts to cool down, stripers are taken by trolling and live baiting during early morning and late afternoon at medium depths of 20 to 30 feet. Live baiting with shad has already produced a 58 pound, 4 ounce striper out of Lake Cumberland.
The lush, green beauty of this huge Kentucky impoundment and the layed-back atmosphere found at Grider Hill Dock is hard to describe. The deep green forests that end abruptly at high, rocky bluffs seem to flow colorfully into the bluish-green of Lake Cumberland’s fertile waters. This is a place that should be experienced to be appreciated properly.
More information, precise directions, and reservations are available from Grider Hill Dock at 606-387-5501 or at their web site: www.griderhilldock.com. Also, excellent fishing guide service and fishing advice is offered by the Tallent Guide Service at 606-387-5069.