Fishing Drakes Creek
The Drakes Creek system offers a unique change from Kentucky’s many limestone-based rivers. The gravel substrate allows floodwaters to carve holes of varying depths, bringing to mind the famed blue-ribbon smallmouth streams of the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks. This creates a vastly different fishery than the smallmouth streams flowing through the limestone regions of Kentucky where the water remains relatively shallow.
What Makes It Great
These waters boast largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and rock bass, as well as bluegill and the local fisherman’s favorite—muskie. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly reports seeing smallmouth ranging from 15 to 18 inches in the Drakes Creek system, and the easy riffles mean the rivers are suitable for paddlers of all skill levels, including families.
Trammel Fork features riffles broken by deep, gravelly shoals, making for a habitat smallmouth bass adore. Braided stream drops draw anglers seeking black bass, sunfish, and rock bass. Floats range from a short, two-mile section from the KY 240 Bridge to the Boyce-Fairview Bridge to a full-day, seven-and-one-half mile float from the KY 240 Bridge to Romanza Johnson Park.
The Middle Fork often draws anglers seeking smallmouth bass, and for good reason—the smaller profile of the river encourages an aggressive topwater bite, especially from late summer into autumn. Black deer hair poppers and large chartreuse cork poppers are perennial favorites. The float from Goodrum Road to KY 240 Bridge offers four miles of woody cover and flowing shoal sections.
The main stem of Drakes Creek offers flowing outside bends that smallmouth bass favor. These fish also hang out along the shallow sandbars that dot this section. The river widens and deepens in the stretch between Romanza Johnson Park and Phil Moore Park, and it’s worth working the woody structure and slow holes for spotted and largemouth bass. Farther down, healthy bluegill and muskie can be pursued to great success. Overall, the system offers a range of diversity for anglers of all disciplines.
Float distances: (Trammel Fork) KY 240 Bridge to Boyce-Fairview Road Bridge: 2 miles - (Trammel Fork) Boyce-Fairview Road Bridge to Romanza Johnson Park: 5.5 miles - (Trammel Fork) KY 240 Bridge to Romanza Johnson Park: 7.5 miles - (Middle Fork): Goodrum Road to KY 240 Bridge: 4 miles - (Drakes Creek): KY 240 Bridge to Romanza Johnson Park: 5 miles - Romanze Johnson Park to Phil Moore Park: 6 miles - Phil Moore Park to KY 2629 Bridge: 5 miles
Who is Going to Love It
The wide range of water in the Drakes Creek system appeals to both paddlers and anglers of all ages and styles. Fly fishermen can run poppers and terrestrials, while spin-fishermen will find success with crankbait, soft plastic jerkbaits, and large finesse worms. Children will enjoy the relaxed pace of the river, and a variety of float durations suits both those looking for a quick water session and those seeking an all-day float.
Directions, Parking & Regulations
From Bowling Green, head southwest on Russellville Road toward Whispering Hills Boulevard. Turn left to merge onto KY-9007 S, and travel 7.1 miles. Turn right onto U.S.-231 S and travel 3.3 miles. Turn right onto Mt. Lebanon Road, then right onto Romanza Johnson Road.
Written by Jess McGlothlin for RootsRated in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.