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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Easy access and great fishing make Guist Creek Lake a solid option for anglers – UGC | Gmx Pharm

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a series on small lakes in central Kentucky.

Guist Creek Marina (photo courtesy of

Guist Creek Lake is located in Shelby County, about five miles east of Shelbyville.

The lake is visible from US 60, but its facilities are on the north shore of the lake, which crosses Ky. 1779 (Benson Pike) is reached.

The lake was formed by the damming of Guist Creek, a tributary of the Salt River. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) built the lake in 1961 and opened it to public fishing in 1963.

Guist Creek Lake (Graphic by KDFWR; click for larger image)

Guist Creek Lake is 317 acres and has 27.4 miles of shoreline. The average depth of the lake is 15 feet, with a maximum depth of 47 feet.

Guist Creek Lake is one of seven small lakes in central Kentucky with lakefront residences on private lots that share a border with KDFWR properties.

Private landowners must obtain a permit to construct a floating or fixed boat dock to moor a boat on KDFWR property, and a KDFWR-supplied metal boat dock tag must be permanently affixed to the boat dock so that it is visible from the lake.

Fish Species / Special Fishing Regulations

bluegill: National regulations apply. The fishery is rated as fair. Bluegill are plentiful, but most fish are less than six inches long.

catfish: There is a minimum size of 12 inches for all catfish species. The catfish fishery is rated as excellent. There are large numbers of Channel Catfish with trophy fish potential (28 inches) and a growing population of Flathead Catfish.

A third species of catfish found in the lake is the white catfish (Ameiurus catus). The non-native species, which originated from commercial hatcheries, has been introduced to private waters throughout Kentucky.

The white catfish in Guist Creek Lake are believed to have escaped from farm ponds or small lakes in the watershed during high tides. White catfish have never been kept in Guist Creek Lake by KDFWR. Ethen Vest caught the current state record for Guist Creek Lake white catfish, a 5.27-pounder, on October 11, 2016.

Damn: National regulations apply. Both white crappie and black crappie are present. The fishing is rated as good. Most crappies are in the 7 to 10 inch range, with larger fish being possible.

Largemouth Bass: National regulations apply. The fishery is rated as good/excellent. Largemouth bass over 12″ is very plentiful with excellent potential for quality fish up to and over 20″.

(Photo by Art Lander, Jr.)

suction eye: There is a minimum size of 14 inches and a daily basket limit of six fish. The fishery is rated as fair. It is a limited population but good sized suckereyes are present and fish up to 25 inches are possible. Saugeye have been in stock since 2013.

Hybrid striped bass: National regulations apply. The fishery is rated as fair/good. There is a limited population, with most hybrid striped bass ranging from 16 to 22 inches, with potential for trophy sized fish (23 inches).

Yellowfish have also established themselves in the lake but a majority of the fish are five to seven inches long with some larger fish possible. It is not known how yellow perch found their way into the lake.

A survey of anglers’ attitudes, conducted in conjunction with a 2020 gate survey, found that the vast majority of anglers, 41.1 percent, fish for largemouth bass. Other fish species pursued by anglers included: crappie, 16.9 percent; Bluegill, 15.4 percent; channel catfish, 8.6 percent; saugeye, 3.1 percent; and hybrid striped bass, 2.6 percent.

Cover types include private boat docks, fallen timber, weed beds, shelf rocks, and gently sloping gravel points. In Lake Superior there are extensive flat plains. The main food fish is the gizzard.

New fish stockings

In 2018, 19,046 hybrid striped bass, 3,171 largemouth bass and 28,810 suckeye were stocked.

In 2019, 3,170 channel catfish, 22,190 saugeye, 19,054 hybrid striped bass and 1,537 largemouth bass were stocked.

In 2020, 9,502 hybrid striped bass were stored.

In 2021, 3,170 channel catfish, 31,726 saugeye, 9,566 hybrid striped bass and 5,255 largemouth bass were stocked.

fish lure

Heaps of brushes and stacks of pallets were set up at about 15 locations in the lower lake. View a map of fish attractors at Guist Creek Lake.

boat access

Guist Creek Marina is located at the end of Boat Dock Road (Ky 1667), off Ky. 1779. The fee to start is $6. For information call (502) 647-5359. There are no other public boat ramps on the lake.

Bank access and fishing piers

There is a 2 acre shore access area off Ky. 1779 (Benson Pike) at the bridge over the lake.

There are no fishing piers.

Guist Creek Lake supports quality fishing with good potential for boastful size Largemouth Bass, Catfish and Saugeye. The hybrid striped bass fishery is not getting the attention it deserves from anglers.

With easy access off Interstate-64, good facilities, heavy annual stock and great fishing, the lake should not be overlooked.

Art Lander Jr. is the Outdoors Editor for the Northern Kentucky Tribune. He is a native Kentuckian, graduate of Western Kentucky University, and a lifelong hunter, angler, gardener, and nature lover. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former contributor to Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-author of the newspaper column Kentucky Afield Outdoors.

Updated: September 17, 2022 — 12:32 am

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