Class II-III Cumberland River, KY

Cumberland River Tailwater (Wolf Creek Dam to Winfrey's Ferry)

The Cumberland River below Lake Cumberland is one of the premier trout fishing destinations in the southeastern United States. Home to the state record 21-pound brown trout and a 14-pound, 6-ounce rainbow trout, the 75-mile Kentucky portion of the Cumberland tailwater rivals the White River of Arkansas and the Caney Fork in Tennessee.

Wolf Creek Dam, which holds back the waters of Lake Cumberland, unleashes a powerful current that can be dangerous to paddlers. At lower water flows and when the dam is not generating electricity through its turbines, however, the Cumberland is ideal for small boats.

The first 16 miles of water from Lake Cumberland’s Wolf Creek Dam to Winfrey’s Ferry is a great place for canoeists, kayakers and owners of small johnboats to float and fish. A few mildly challenging shoals exist in this stretch, perfect water for beginning canoeists and kayakers to hone their skills. (KYFWR)

Section Details

Trip Length Full Day, 15.9 Miles
Fishing Yes
Camping Yes
Manager State, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
Wild & Scenic No
Water Trail Yes
Partner Information
Photo Credit: Kentucky State Parks / Kentucky Tourism