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Dive into an angler's paradise

Elmer Davis Lake takes anglers back to the basics


For Sweet Owen Magazine

Elmer Davis Lake — Photo by Brian Riddle

When the sun comes out and the waters start to warm, excitement among anglers builds.

Elmer Davis Lake, located just outside the City of Owenton, is one of northern Kentucky’s premier lakes for largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, and crappie.

Accessible bank fishing, two boat ramps with ample parking, and a handicapped accessible fishing pier provide numerous opportunities for any angler.

In the spring, black and white crappie species can be caught on main lake points around fallen timber and man-made fishing attractors, consisting of pallet beds and recycled live Christmas trees placed in various areas throughout the lake by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).

Schools of crappie are found at various depths depending on water temperature. A great way to locate them is by using various colors of curly tail grub with crappie nibbles or a wax worm, jigged and thrown around brush piles, then slowly retrieved. A sure way to catch them is with live minnows suspended under a bobber around brush piles or man-made structures.

Bluegill and redear sunfish, best known as shellcrackers, can be caught almost anywhere in the lake. A simple hook with a red worm, nightcrawler chunk, mealworm, or wax worm slowly retrieved or suspended on a floater around downed timber or weed beds are the most popular way to catch them. An old-school pop-eyed jig with a wax worm will never fail on Elmer Davis, according to the locals who fish the lake.

Elmer Davis Lake — Photo by Brian Riddle

Largemouth bass have made an excellent rebound over the last few years after KDFWR lowered the lake and eradicated an overpopulation of gizzard shad that hurt the fish quality and population on the lake. A slot limit of 12 to 15 inches is in place; this means fish caught between 12 and 15 inches must be released immediately.

Largemouths can be caught on various lures nearly anywhere in the lake, depending on weather conditions, water temperature, and clarity.

Boaters and kayakers out for a relaxing evening or day on the water can enjoy the beautiful Owen County countryside while watching whitetail deer, wild turkeys, beavers, various waterfowl, and small game. The lake has frequent visits from bald eagles and osprey, which can be seen in large snags around the lake.

Elmer Davis provides trophy fish in numerous species, according to KDFWR’s annual fishing reports.

Before fishing, always check with the current Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide for regulations on fish size, creel limits, and current boating regulations.


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