Annual Prospects Report
Anglers can expect fair to good success fishing for most species in 2024. Fishing for black bass (smallmouth spotted, and largemouth bass) should be good on most stretches. Spotted bass are very abundant on the Franklin County part of the river and with the liberal daily limit of 12 fish and no length limit, anglers have the opportunity to take home several meals. In last fall’s sampling, black bass densities were similar to past years, but sizes of smallmouth and spotted bass were noticeably larger, indicating anglers should have better chances of hooking into large bass in 2024. During fall sampling, half of the smallmouth bass captured exceeded 12 inches in length and one third of smallmouth were greater than 15 inches in length. Half of the largemouth bass sampled were over the 12-inch length limit and one in eight were greater than 15 inches in length. Spotted/Kentucky bass, although numerous, had only one in eight fish greater than 12 inches and one in 25 over 15 inches. Channel catfish numbers and sizes should be fair in 2024; fall sampling indicated lower numbers of channels, but half of the channels captured were over 20 inches in length and one in 10 were over 24 inches in length. Flathead catfish were less abundant than channels, and their sizes were fair – one in eight were over 20 inches and one in 10 were over 24 inches. Several young of year flathead were found which should help the population grow in years to come. Popular methods to catch catfish include limb lines, set lines, and trotlines. Live sunfish usually work best for flathead catfish; nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbaits are good for channel catfish. Suckers are abundant and giggers should have a good season when the river is low and clear enough to identify fish properly; several species were present in good numbers, and sizes ranged from young of year to greater than 20 inches. Fishing for crappie should be fair in the many deep, slow moving pools with woody cover; crappie numbers were present in low numbers but when found were of good size.