Wade fishing in the mountain creeks and rivers of southeastern Kentucky is one of my favorite things to do each summer. When you catch the water just right, you can catch fish right and left all day long. Preferably, if it hasn’t rained in a week or so the water will be clear and running at the right depth. Depending on what’s biting or how the water is acting, we typically catch our fair share of smallmouth, red eyes, bluegill, and rock bass.
In this article, I’ll give you a handful of my favorite lures that help me catch a mess of fish each time I hit the river. I also reached out to fellow Hunt Lift Eat team member Roger Simmons for his feedback on his experience of fishing the streams of Appalachian Tennessee. If you ever get the chance to fish freshwater streams in Appalachia, I’d recommend throwing all of these and guarantee one of them will be hitting!
Rebel Crawfish Crankbaits
I was fishing Tripplett Creek in Morehead KY when I was in college and I wasn’t doing much good. I believe I was fishing it with nightcrawlers and was definitely getting skunked. Like most good outdoor advice is passed on, I ran into an elderly gentleman on the creek who only used rebel crawfish lures. They’re great for shallow water because they float at the cast and only drop to depths of 2-3 feet. It must’ve been my lucky day because he had been fishing that same creek for 50 years and set me up for some awesome fishing days with my college buddies. Depending on what’s hitting that day, I start with the stream craw color and then switch to fire tiger. I keep a broad arsenal of colors in the rebel crawfish lures and they never let me down.
Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw
These 3 inch rubber craws are deadly in the fast moving water that we typically wade in. My brother in law swears by these and they are his “go to” approach when we hit the water. Depending on the time of year, we like to throw either green pumpkin or watermelon red. With these 3 inch craws, you might not catch as many smaller fish like bluegill, rock bass, or red eyes. However, the smallies love them and I’ve seen some big ones brought out of the stream!
Rebel Bumblebee Crank Bait
This crankbait that's also made by Rebel Lures is a favorite lure of my father in law. When I started writing this piece he was my first call to get some feedback. He has had a lot of success with the Bumblebee and different assorted colors of Rooster Tails and Crappie Jigs!
Florida Orange Powerbait
I also reached out to fellow Appalachian and HLE team member Roger Simmons after his fishing trip to Citico Creek near Indian Boundary in the Cherokee National Forest. Roger is a native of Tennessee and spends quite a bit of time in the streams. You can tell from the pictures that he had a heck of a trip and the rainbow trout were biting! He found the most success using a spinning reel with size 18 treble hooks, weights 18-24 inches from the hook, and Florida Orange PowerBait.