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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Greenbo Lake may be small, but it carries a big reputation among Ky. anglers


This is the tenth article in an ongoing series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs.

Lodge at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park (Photo from Kentucky State Parks)

Greenbo Lake is 113 miles east of Lexington in Greenup County. The lake is 11 miles south of Greenup, Ky., off Ky. 1. The major access highways are Interstate 64 and U.S. 23.

Impounded in 1955, the lake was built at a cost of $235,000. The Greenbo Lake Association raised $110,000, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources chipped in $125,000, which paid for the design of the lake and construction of the concrete and earthen dam.

Size

(Photo from Kentucky State Parks)

The 181-acre impoundment, surrounded by woodlands, is steep-sided and has a maximum depth of 60 feet. There is little or no pool fluctuation. The lake is not fed by any streams of substantial size, so the major influx of water comes from runoff after heavy rainstorms.

State Park

Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, 3,008 acres on the south side of the wishbone-shaped lake, is reached via Ky. 1711.

Facilities include a lodge (36 rooms), gift shop, restaurant, conference center, 28 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, 79-site full facilities campground, 10-acre scuba diving refuge, miniature golf, swimming pool for lodge guests and campers, and playground. For information telephone 606-473-7324.

Managing Fishery Biologist

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Northeastern Fishery District, Tom Timmermann, District Assistant Biologist, 120 Fish Hatchery Road Morehead, KY 40351, telephone (606) 783-8650.

Marinas

There is one marina.

Greenbo Lake State Resort Park Marina is open seasonally. Facilities include boat launching ramp, 25 open boat slips, and rental boats. The address and telephone number are 965 Lodge Road, Greenup, KY 41144, 606-473-7324.

(Photo from Kentucky State Parks)

Boat Launching Ramps

There is one boat launching ramp.

It is adjacent to the marina. There is no fee to launch.

Local Tourism Information

Greenup County Tourism & Convention Commission, Greenup County Courthouse, Greenup, KY 41144, telephone (606) 473-6440.

Fishing

Greenbo Lake, an oligotrophic lake of low productivity, is surrounded by woodlands and has an abundance of rooted aquatic vegetation.

The lake is clear for most of the year which makes it very challenging to fish. Structure in the lake includes deadfalls, beaver dams, sunken wood debris, and weed beds.

Many fish species have been stocked in the lake through the decades, but today the managed fish species include largemouth bass, two species of sunfish, and two species of trout.

The possession and use of shad for bait is prohibited.

No jet skis are allowed on the lake. The entire lake is idle speed only.

Largemouth Bass

Michael Carter with a 9.3 lb largemouth bass caught from Greenbo (Photo from KDFWR)

Greenbo Lake has a unique status that earned it a special place in Kentucky angling lore — the only body of water in Kentucky to produce two consecutive state record largemouth bass.

What makes the story truly amazing is that both fish were caught by the same man. Delbert Grizzle, of Flatwoods, caught the bass within eleven months of each other, on September 21, 1965, and August 3, 1966.

Grizzle’s formula for success was simple. He fished at night and cast an unweighted, 6-inch plastic worm (wine, black, blue, and purple were favorite colors) to the bank and worked it back to the boat with a slow retrieve. His cardinal rules were to be absolutely quiet and if you get hung up, break your line rather than go to the bank.

Today, the largemouth bass fishery is rated good, with good numbers of fish over 15 inches long and chances for trophy-size fish over 20 inches.

Anglers find success fishing deep wood structure, bottom features such as channels and humps, and in and around the lake’s extensive weed beds.

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout fishery is rated excellent.

About 11,000 trout are stocked annually, in February and October.

Arguably, the rainbow trout is Greenbo Lake’s most sought-after species. Trout have been stocked in the lake since the early 1990s.

Some of the best fishing occurs during the late winter and early spring when the fish come up shallow, and are more accessible to anglers.

Most of the fishing is at the dam from the banks.

Red worms, bits of nightcrawlers and other organic baits are a top choice with anglers. Trout can also be caught trolling or casting small spinners, jigs and crankbaits on light line.

Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for KyForward. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

Brown Trout

The brown trout fishery is rated good.

This up and coming fishery appears to have a bright future. Brown trout were first stocked in 2019.

Sunfish

The bluegill fishery is rated fair. Fish in and around weed beds, beaver dams and logs.

The redear sunfish fishery is rated fair. Numbers are low, however, some 11-inch fish are present.

Minimum Size Limits and Daily Creel Limits

There’s a 15-fish daily creel limit on bluegill and other sunfish.

There’s a 1-fish daily creel limit on brown trout and a 16-inch minimum size limit.

Tailwater Fishing Opportunities

The dam is earthen fill, with a concrete spillway. The tailwaters are too small to support game fish.

Invasive Plants and Animals

Two exotic, non-native plants, hyrilla and elodea have become established in Greenbo Lake.

Grass carp are stocked in the lake to control the nuisance rooted aquatic vegetation. The stockings have continued annually since 1989.

Grass carp cannot be kept by anglers and must be returned to the lake immediately if caught.

Fish Attractors

There are fish attractors in Pruitt Hollow and on the main lake near the boat ramp.

Bank Access and Fishing Piers

There is good bank access at the dam and a fishing pier allows anglers to get past some of the shoreline vegetation.


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