Commonwealth Journal

April 23, 2014

New trout stream to be built below dam

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Jamestown —

Fishing for trout in a cold Rocky Mountain stream is Heaven on earth for a true fisherman.
Problem is, the Rockies and its remote waters are a long way from here; not an easy destination. But a trout stream that looks and flows like a mountain creek will be a reality in this area, hopefully ready for anglers by the first of next year. The new creek will be easily accessible and be stocked with more trout than anything about which a wild mountain stream can boast. 
A cooperative effort among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is in final stages of beginning creation of picturesque stream that mimics a remote mountain creek. Construction is expected to start next month.
It’s a big deal. The new Hatchery Creek is not a branch. It will flow more than a mile –– 6,000 linear feet –– from Wolf Creek Dam National Fish Hatchery along and through Kendall Recreation Area and empty into Cumberland River below the dam. The new stream will replace an existing Hatchery Creek that flows out of the fish hatchery for about 400 feet and empties into the Cumberland River.
James Gray, project leader at the hatchery, said the new creek will have continuous flow with pools, riffles and a lot of trout habitat. Trout will be able to go from the steam into the Cumberland River and from the river into the creek.
“With the good habitat, we hope trout will reproduce in the creek,” Gray said.
Regardless, there will be plenty of fish in the stream. Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery produces 1 million –– 275,000 pounds –– of trout each year. 
The hatchery stocks 120 different waters in the state, and, obviously, the new Hatchery Creek would get its share. Trout are 9-10 inches long when stocked.
Cool water for the trout hatchery and creek comes from nearby Lake Cumberland at Wolf Creek Dam. Now that the lake is full, the water flows by gravity to the hatchery. Gray said a pumping system installed to assure the hatchery of a plentiful supply of water while Wolf Creek Dam was being repaired probably will be removed soon.