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Cumberland River Trip (Helm’s Landing) July 2024

July 12 - July 14

Location: Riverside Retreat, Helm’s Landing

Dates:   July 12th – 14th (Fri – Sun)

Coordinator:  Joe Gahlinger (joegahl@twc.com; 502-472-3975)

Level 3 Trip:  This is a trip for experienced anglers and there will be limited opportunities for training (see Trip Suitability for details).  All boaters should have experience in moving waters.  When generation starts on the Cumberland, water levels can quickly rise 15 feet or more.  A PFD is required for all boaters.

Number of Spots: 8

Equipment:  3 to 8 weight fly rods.  Smaller rods are appropriate for nymph fishing while 8 weight rods are a better choice for streamer or “hopper/dropper” fishing.  Flies include #8 to #18 nymphs, including stone flies, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, prince, copper john’s, midges, and most other trout flies like mop and egg patterns.  Black, white and olive wooly buggers are good streamers.  Prominently white shad imitations work well and provide a visual fishing experience when fished from a boat.  Hoppers and other terrestrials will take fish in August and September when fished along walls and high banks.

Fishing License and permits:  You will need a Kentucky fishing license and trout permit. Click here to purchase. There is a $5 vehicle fee to use the Kendall boat ramp at the dam. This fee is waived with a National Park Pass.

The Plan:  The club has reserved all 4 rooms at the Riverside Retreat at Helm’s Landing for this outing.  Cost is $110 per person for the two night weekend, assuming double occupancy in each room; registration and full payment is required to secure your bed. Note that due to escalating costs, we may have a cash surcharge in addition to the registration fee.  Any refunds for cancelations are at the discretion of the DCFF board.  There are 8 spots on the sign up.  Anyone wanting to stay over only 1 night will be accommodated as floor space allows – contact Joe regarding availability of space.

Description of the Waters:  In 2024, we can expect some sort of a generation schedule with little to no flow in the early morning and generation starting sometime between dawn and early afternoon.  This trip should be considered primarily a boating or floating trip with the possibility of wade fishing on various shoals accessible by boat.  There is also the possibility to wade fish Hatchery Creek.  Go to the Stream Information – Cumberland River page on the DCFF website for more information about the river, possible floats in the upper section of the river, and alternative launch locations.  If we get a lot of rain and high-water levels on the tailwater, there is always the potential to fish for bass or panfish on Lake Cumberland itself.

Depending on water conditions and the generation schedule, virtually any small craft can be used on the river.  At 2 or more generators or during high winds, the river will be “pushy” for inflatable pontoon boats; canoes and kayaks are better, but skill will be required to safely use them under generation flow conditions.  Small motor-powered craft are the best option if the operator knows how to avoid river obstructions like rocks and logs.  It will be your responsibility to secure a craft and/or find a buddy with a craft.  You can follow other experienced members on the river, but you need to know how to navigate and operate your boat.  Also, recognize the need to practice safe boating techniques on the Cumberland; wear a life jacket when you are underway and if you get dumped into the river get to shore ASAP – hypothermia will take over quickly with the water temperatures in the 50s year round!

Lodging:  There are 8 beds available in the rooms.  Linens and towels are provided.  Each room has a cooktop stove (no oven), microwave, small refrigerator, coffee maker (bring your own coffee and condiments). Dishes, flat ware and cooking utensils are available, but if you need something specific for meal preparation, plan to bring it.  There are charcoal grills on the deck.  You are expected to do your dishes and keep the rooms clean.  Please do not leave trash or garbage on the deck – raccoons are a problem.

Meals:  Breakfast and Lunch are on your own.  We traditionally share supper; volunteer cooks are always appreciated, and your food costs are reimbursable, so save those receipts.  Bring a chair to enjoy the fire in the evening (assuming we can source the wood).  Your payment includes the cost of supper and firewood.

Sign Up:  If you have any questions, contact Joe Gahlinger (joegahl@twc.com; 502-472-3975).  You must be a current DCFF member to sign up for this trip.  Click here to sign up.


July 12
July 14
Event Category:


Derby City Fly Fishers


Riverside Retreat at Helm’s Landing
36.896105, -85.145682 + Google Map