Been getting a ton of questions about fishing and boat ramp conditions. As of this writing, the Corps of Engineers is still pushing 17,380 CFS 24 hours a day and the lake level is at 723.90 and steadily dropping. The river water quality is still very chalky and sediment ridden. Spring fishing is not far off if lake levels and generation schedules would calm just a bit more. I visited the river today to get an idea of ramp conditions. I think the pictures below will answer a few questions.
View looking down Kendall boat ramp.
Erosion of left side of Kendall ramp
Erosion of left side of Kendall Ramp
Erosion of right side of Kendall Ramp
Kendall boat ramp barrier
Looking up Ray Mann Road
Additional view looking up Ray Mann Road
Helms Landing boat ramp
Looking up the access road to Helms Landing
Looking down Winfrey's Ferry
Looking at the 'bend' at Winfrey's Ferry
Here's my summation: Kendall boat ramp will be closed for a while. I don't think it will be closed all summer, but there are some major engineering design issues to overcome before repairs will be made.
Helms Landing appears to look the same as it does every year. The access road down to the ramp is just as rutted as it usually is at this time of year and the ramp is able to be used now. In fact there was a boat launching as I was there today.
Ray Mann road looks the same as it usually does this time of year. The road is rutted, but usable.
At Winfrey's Ferry the ramp is dangerous. Due to its location and how the river eddies at the ramp in its bend, there are several inches of very slick silt starting at the bend. I don't know who or when this gets cleaned up after generation ceases, but until the sediment is cleaned I don't think this ramp will be usable. So, the good news is that there are ramps that will allow access to the river once generation slows. The bad news is that there are a couple that will need some work before they can be used. I don't see any reason why fishing won't be good this spring / summer when the river lines itself out.
I also recently learned that roughly 20,000 cutthroat trout were released into the river. That makes 4 species of trout available to catch in the Cumberland.
If you need any additional information regarding the status of the Cumberland, call or shoot me an e-mail.
Thanks and fish hard!