Paintsville Lake: Anglers Improving Fishing Through Habitat, Education, and Agency Assistance

Friends of Reservoirs is proud to have such a wonderful, active group in eastern Kentucky. Read below for their inspiring work installing habitat, working with kids with disabilities, and assisting the management agency with genetic sampling. Thank you to Anglers for Improving Opportunities for your hard work!

Last year we joined FOR and started a 501(3)(c) here in Eastern Kentucky called Anglers For Improving Opportunities.  I just wanted to give an update about where we are and some of the exciting things we have happening out here and provide some photos of our efforts that you can use as you wish.  We began discussions with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife as to how we can improve our local lake.  We based our ideas on studies and science in looking at ways to improve our situation.  I included some drone photos of the lake below.

Last summer with the support of local donors and businesses we worked in partnership with the KDFWR to install 61 pieces of habitat including 51 pallet structures and 10 Shelbyville cubes.  Using live sonar, we were very encouraged by the algae growth and the fact that shad showed up on the sites almost immediately.  This year the plan is to conduct a similar effort.  I included photos of these efforts below.

One of the members of AFIO also runs Casting For Kids, a local charitable organization that has held bass tournaments in East Kentucky and East Tennessee.  Chris Ferguson started this due to his passion for helping handicapped children.  In about 8 years Chris has grown that organization to an incredible level, last year they took a $100,000 check to Shriners hospital for children from the money raised through the event.   On Paintsville Lake, we are also nearing completion on a Casting For Kids Boardwalk that will allow handicapped children the ability to safely get to water level and fish.  Casting For Kids has a kid's tournament every spring during free fishing weekend in Kentucky.  There are some before and after photos of the boardwalk below, that is not an AFIO project, but Chris Ferguson who leads Casting For Kids is one of our founding members.

Recently after 14 months of researching the issues and several meetings with the KDFWR, we announced a partnership to apply for a Friends of Reservoir grant.  We will be going forward with a fish habitat improvement project and projects attempting to bolster lake fertility and available forage  on Paintsville Lake over the next 2 years.  The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources agreed to treat a portion of the lake with fertilizer, to monitor shad spawning and any potential improvements to the productivity of Paintsville Lake. .

Our county government is in full support of any means of adventure tourism and is in full support of our group.  Many of our elected officials played a large role in supporting and helping us navigate the process of affecting positive change.  We couldn't be more excited about the potential improvements to our local lake.  We believe we can leave it better than we found it!  Please use any of this as you please, we just wanted to let you know what our organization has done in cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in our first year out here in eastern Kentucky.  We believe we can be the catalyst for other groups getting organized and making improvements in our area by forming lasting partnerships.