June 15 Newsletter on Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam
Friends of Lake Cumberland –
MORE RAMPS OPEN
At least two more ramps are now open at Lake Cumberland: poplar Hill and Twin Oaks. This brings the total to at least 22 ramps that extend into the lake. We are trying to verify if as many as five others are completed, which would raise the total to 27 ramps. We still expect about 50 of the 60 ramps to be extended.
The list of ramps currently open, as well as those projected to open in the next few weeks, are listed below.
Corps’ weekly report for June 13, 2007
Trout limit changed in lower Cumberland River; dam repair, drought raise water temperatures
Frankfort, Ky. – Beginning Saturday, June 16, anglers may keep 10 trout of any size taken from the lower Cumberland River from the state line to a point 100 yards upstream of the public boat ramp at Burkesville in Cumberland County. A fishing license and a trout permit are still necessary to fish this section of river.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett authorized an emergency measure liberalizing the limits on this 40-mile section of the state’s premier trout river due to high water temperatures. Because of the Lake Cumberland drawdown and the ongoing drought, water flows are lower than normal and temperatures are increasing.
Water temperatures are becoming too high in the lower section of the river to support trout, which are a cold-water species. “Under the current conditions, the odds of trout surviving in the lower river are not good,” Gassett said. “We decided to make the best of a bad situation by giving anglers an opportunity to keep more fish.”
Fisheries Director Benjy Kinman said he expects the department to rescind the special limit once water conditions improve in fall.
Under the emergency measure, anglers fishing downstream of the Burkesville location may keep a total of 10 trout, regardless of the species. Anglers are encouraged to keep all the fish they catch, as practicing catch-and-release in this section may put too much stress on the trout and result in their death.
Regulations for the river upstream of the Burkesville location remain the same: Anglers may keep only one brown trout measuring 20 inches or longer. Anglers must immediately release all rainbow trout between 15-20 inches. Anglers may keep a daily limit of up to five rainbow trout, only one of which may exceed 20 inches.
The lower half of the 75-mile trophy trout river, which extends from Wolf Creek Dam to the state line, has steadily grown warmer this spring due to restricted flows coming from the dam. Lake Cumberland, the source of the tailwater’s cold water, is being held 43 feet below normal summer pool while repairs to the dam are underway. The project is expected to take up to seven years to complete.
With no rain occurring in the lake’s headwaters for several weeks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has severely restricted the amount of water being released by the dam. The lake cannot be lowered much further without affecting water intakes for local communities.
With less cold water moving through the river and air temperatures rising, water temperatures in the river continue to climb. “With no break in the drought on the horizon, we’re concerned about lethal water temperatures for trout in the lower river,” Kinman said.
Both rainbow and brown trout become severely stressed and eventually die at temperatures of 75 degrees and higher, said Fisheries Research Biologist Dave Dreves. This week at McMillan’s Ferry, located near the state line, Fisheries Biologist Eric Cummins measured a water temperature of 75.6 degrees at 10:30 a.m. Hundreds of trout were concentrating in the mouths of two spring-fed tributary creeks with 70-degree water.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working closely with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to decrease water temperatures in the river, although the federal agency cannot increase the amount of water flowing through the dam each day.
At the request of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Corps halted the use of the dam’s generators. Instead, the agency is releasing water through sluice gates located at the bottom of the dam. The gates, which are located 50 feet deeper in the lake than the intakes for the generators, release colder water into the tailwater. Dreves said the sluice gates helped drop the water temperature an average of 5 degrees at Winfrey’s Ferry, located 16 miles downstream of the dam near Creelsboro.
Temperatures in the upper section of the river currently are suitable for trout. “We’re hoping the modified flows from the dam will protect the upper river, but there’s still the potential for crisis in the lower river through October,” Kinman said. “We need rain in the Lake Cumberland headwaters.”
Dreves said the quality of the trout fishery in the upper section of the Cumberland River is the best in a decade or more. Anglers report outstanding fishing in the river this year.
“Hopefully, our collective measures will allow anglers to utilize a fishing resource that is imperiled, and simultaneously provide adequate protection for trophy fish in the upper reaches of the river,” Kinman said.
MORE WATER INTAKES EXTENDED
The Kentucky Division of water has granted permission for the Cumberland County Water District to make modifications to their water intakes due to the lake level reduction.
--Water Intake Relocations: Somerset, Monticello, Jamestown, Albany and Burnside have all been approved, although Monticello’s plans and specs. are being revised and will require another review and approval by our engineers.
--The water line extension to Alligator 1 boat dock and residences in the vicinity has been approved, as has been the line extension to service the homes on Rocky Hill Road that had their wells affected by the lower lake levels.
We are looking to update our photo gallery with pictures of what the lake looks like with lots of boats on the water. The photos can come from the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend or any other time, hopefully showing lots of boats and big crowds.
Please send pictures to me at this e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please include a note indicating that we are free to use the photos as we wish and free of charge.
We will include them in our newsletter and on our photo gallery as soon as we receive them.
LIST OF RAMPS CURRENTLY OPEN AT LAKE CUMBERLAND
- Alligator II
- Beaver Creek
- Conley Bottom Resort
- Cumberland Point recreation Area
- Fall Creek Recreation Area
- General Burnside Island State Park
- Grider Hill Marina
- Halcomb’s Landing
- Jamestown Marina
- Lake Cumberland State Resort Park
- Lee’s Ford Marina
- Lilly Creek
- Noes Dock #2 (Bee’s Creek)
- Old Waitsboro Crossing
- Piney Grove
- Pleasant Hill
- Poplar Hill
- Slate Branch
- Twin Oaks
- Waitsboro Recreation Area
LIST OF COUNTY RAMPS TO BE EXTENDED IN THE COMING WEEKS
Russell County ramp extension projects total: $479,409. Ramps to be extended are:
Bates road ramp Pleasant Hill ramp
Campbells road ramp Poplar Hill road ramp
Clifty Creek ramp Rowena ramp
Denney Ridge ramp Twin Oak ramp
Island road ramp
Wayne County ramp extension projects total $313,505. Ramps to be extended are:
Bunkum Road/Carter’s Dock ramp Ramsey Point ramp
Clearwater/Panhandle ramp Shelton Branch ramp
Cumberland Glen ramp Stinger/Rankin-Orchard ramp
Jonesville ramp Tate I ramp
Meece-Sellars/White Oak ramp Tate II ramp
Mystic View ramp Twyfor’s Point ramp
Park Forest/Beshears ramp
Pulaski County ramp extension projects total $64,935. Ramps to be extended are:
Cave Creek ramp (Diamond Acres Community)
Doodletown road ramp (Garland Bend ramp)
Echo Point boat ramp (Aderholt road)
Jasper Bend ramp (Jasper Bend Community)
Piney Woods boat ramp (Naomi Community)
Springwater boat ramp (Pole Bridge Community)
Waitstboro Crossing ramp (End of Old Waitsboro road)
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
Jamestown Resort Marina, from the motel island looking ESE out to the main lake.
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND