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Cave Run Lake

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Cave Run Lake is a Reservoir in Bath, Kentucky.

Have you fished Cave Run Lake? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about Cave Run Lake.

Do you have a question about Cave Run Lake, ask it here.

Cave Run Lake, located south of Morehead, Kentucky, USA along Kentucky Route 801, is an 8,270-acre (33 km2), artificial lake built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 148 ft (45 m), half-mile (800 m) dam (and outlet works) construction began in 1965 and was completed in 1973. Cave Run Lake is in the northern part of the Daniel Boone National Forest.[1] Cave Run Lake provides flood protection to the lower Licking River valley, supplies water to the area's communities, improves the Licking River's water flow conditions, and offers a habitat for various species of fish and wildlife.

Fishing Cover / Structure: 

The beds of aquatic vegetation (Eurasian milfoil) continue to rebound (mainly in the lower, clearer, shallower sections of the lake). If this growth continues in 2008, angling for muskellunge, largemouth bass, crappie (particularly black crappie) and other species will be good in and around these beds which show up as the weather warms and die back during the winter months.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Widespread within the lake, most 7-inches long or less, but it is not unusual to catch 7-8 inch bluegill. Look for bluegill early in the year in the back of coves or other shallow water areas that warm up first or where they may spawn. Later around stumps or sunken woody structure within many areas of the lake.

Good numbers of channel catfish up to two feet long along with a few larger fish. Many are found along shallow rocky shoreline areas in early May-June where they seek cover in rock piles and submerged logs in preparation for spawning. Later, catfish tend to be found in deeper water. Not as plentiful, but some trophy
sized flathead catfish are found in the lake.

2009 brought KDFWR personnel the most successful year sampling crappie within the lake. Numerous 2–3 year old fish were captured, meaning a few highly productive fishing years are coming. Fair numbers of 10-12 inch fish can be found during spring months, however, success generally declines through the summer
months. During spring months look for black crappie in the shallows near shore and later in association with milfoil.

Largemouth bass
The North Fork and Licking River areas of the lake (upper reaches) generally hold the largest fish. In these areas try fishing the rock banks warmed by the morning sun in April and May. For the rest of the lake, fishing is best around the edges and pockets of the milfoil beds and fallen trees. Largemouth bass are more common
within embayments especially around woody structure than along the main lake shoreline. The slot limit and the milfoil continue to help the largemouth bass population. Note: 13-16 inch protective slot limit.

Excellent angling can still be expected in 2010. 2009 was one of the better years for muskellunge fishing in the lake, excellent catches were reported well into the summer which is fairly uncommon. Trophy fish can be found primarily in the spawning month of April. Try fishing the backs of the large coves. Note: New for 2010 - 36 inch minimum size, one fish creel limit.

Smallmouth bass
While still uncommon, the smallmouth have been picking up in recent years. They are found in the lower lake areas and very rarely within the Licking River and North Fork areas of the lake. Look for them off rocky points or shoreline areas along the main lake. Note: 18-inch minimum size limit.

Spotted bass
Numerous within the mid and lower main lake shoreline; become less common within the upper reaches of the lake. Most less than 13 inches long.

White bass
Should provide some good action. Look for them up lake early in the spring and in the jumps here and there at other times. Good numbers 12-14 inches long; some larger. Many 5 - 7 inch fish were observed in fall shocking of the upper portion of the lake so this species continues to rebound. Note: No more than 5 white
bass in the daily creel limit may be greater than 15 inches long.


Located on a 355-acre wooded peninsula extending into Cave Run Lake, Zilpo Recreation Area offers family fun for everyone. This campground features 172 tent and RV campsites within walking distance of the lake. Facilities include bathhouses with showers, some electrical RV hookups, hiking and jogging trails, scenic overlooks, a boat ramp, and a country store. For reservations call the NATIONAL RECREATION RESERVATION SERVICE: 1-877-444-6777

Beautiful hills and a sparkling lake surround the Twin Knobs Recreation Area. This campground features 216 tent and RV campsites. Facilities include bath houses with showers, three group-use areas, foot trails, a scenic overlook, a boat ramp, and a beach. Weekly amphitheater programs, volleyball courts, basketball goals, and horseshoe pits provide family fun and entertainment. For reservations call NATIONAL RECREATION RESERVATION SERVICE: 1-877-444-6777

Conveniently located close to horseback riding trails, this campground features 30 back-in parking slots for rigs up to 50 feet long and 7 parking slots for vehicles without trailers. The campground also has vault toilets, picket lines, wooded primitive camping areas, and a pond with water trough for the horses.

Located near a quiet stream, this recreation area features 21 campsites, 14 picnic tables, and boat ramp providing access to Clear Creek Lake. Visitors may hike Clear Creek Trail or enjoy a visit to the historic iron furnace.

This remote lakeshore campground offers primitive camping at 20 sites, accessible by boat or a short hike from Clay Lick Boat Ramp.

Boat Ramp: 

You must display a pass in vehicles at Alfrey, Claylick, Poppin Rock, Long Bow, Scott Creek and Warix Boat Ramps.

Pass Information

Hang-tag type passes will be sold through local stores near these areas and in larger towns such as London, Morehead and Lexington. Current information on sales locations will be displayed at charge sites, and at your nearest Forest Service office.

* Each ANNUAL pass will be valid for up to two household vehicles (not at the same time, each motorized vehicle taking up a parking place will need a pass).
* Annual pass expire December 31st of year purchased.
* Pass for 1 and 3 days expire at noon of the day after the last day of the passes.
* Each pass user is responsible to properly fill out a pass in non-erasable ink and properly display a pass with unaltered entries for it to be valid.
* Failure to display a valid pass can result in fines.
* Extra 1 and 3 day passes can be purchased for future use.
* Boat trailers at boat ramps are allowed only if attached to a vehicle with a valid pass.
* Trailers not attached to a vehicle are not allowed.
* 1-DAY PERMIT - $3.00
* 3-DAY PERMIT - $5.00
* ANNUAL PERMIT - $30.00


Gigging and Snagging is prohibited in the main lake and all tributaries up to the first riffle.

Directions to Lake: 

I-64 E of Owingsville; KY 801 S (Exit 133); right on KY 826; first road to right after crossing dam.

Cave Run Lake
Waterbody type: 
United States
Surface area: 
Standard elevation: