Fishing in the Mississippi River - KY

As America’s most popular river, something just feels American about fishing in the mighty Mississippi. Converging with the Ohio river just West of Paducah, the Mississippi flows for a significant stretch before hitting the Tennessee border.
A variety of species call the middle Mississippi home and nearly all of them can be pursued with a fly rod. Carp, who have gained immense popularity with fly fishers over the last 5 years or so, are particularly prolific. Though wading in the Mississippi is not feasible (and frankly kind of nasty) in most areas, a canoe or kayak is a great way to explore America’s cultural highway while looking for fish.
It’s no secret that the Mississippi has had its issues with pollution. From commercial traffic to questionable discharge from major cities, the ecology of the Mississippi below St. Louis is very different from what it would have been when Mark Twain traveled her via steamboat. However, man’s interference with the massive watershed has produced unique conditions for certain fish to thrive, giving anglers an exciting experience while enjoying America’s most important waterway. Anglers can expect to catch large striped bass, various black bass and panfish species, and the humble carp.
A lot of people believe that carp are damaging the remaining ecological importance of the Mississippi, but biologists agree that carp thrive in muddy, flat areas that other fish can’t, so they’re not really competing with native species. Carp are all the rage in fly fishing because they are so finicky, fight like monsters, and offer the closest thing to saltwater flat fishing, earning the nickname “the poor man’s bonefish”. Pursuing carp require a special approach, but a few large nymphs and a 7 to 9 weight rod is a great place to start.
You can fish anywhere on public land along the Mississippi in Kentucky, but Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site and Columbus-Belmont State Park offer access and a little local history.
If you’re the kinda fly fisher that only likes pristine trout streams, this isn’t the place for you. If you’re the kind of angler that sees a diamond in the rough, then the Mississippi is right up your alley. Aside from the surroundings, this is truly a great opportunity for the angling history buff to appreciate a crucial landmark of our country’s history while keeping an eye out for lurking bass and feeding carp. If you like to fish in a place that invokes an appreciation for the past, you’ll love this destination.
As with any public body of water, be sure to have the proper fishing license. Both parks mentioned above are great to launch your adventure from, but Columbus-Belmont State Park offers camping, several options to launch from, and cool cliffs to explore around. Columbus-Belmont is located at 350 Park Road in Columbus, Kentucky. The park and the campground here and open year round, and is rich in Civil War history, a bonus for history buffs. Columbus-Belmont State Park is referenced in the direction coordinates above.

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