Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Bluegrass boating, pontoon style

When the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) selected Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park to host its 58th Annual Conference in Gilbertsville, Ky., little did we realize the tremendous outdoor opportunities that existed in this section of the Bluegrass State. On our doorstep was Kentucky Lake, the largest manmade lake in the eastern United States with some 2,300 miles of shoreline. Formed in 1944 after the Kentucky Dam was constructed, this lake is a boating and angling haven. We needed to sample a little bit of both and did just that when we grabbed a rental pontoon boat out of Kentucky Dam Marina (800-648-2628;, immediately adjacent to Kentucky Dam Village.
My wife Sandy and I have been discussing the possibility of purchasing a pontoon boat for a number of years – a versatile watercraft that can serve a wide variety of purposes. It only takes one successful journey on the water to really get energized and get those creative juices flowing. As we headed out into the lake our first full day in the area, we felt comfortable in our 24-foot floating “deck” that was pushed adequately by our 50-horse outboard. We had packed a lunch and all of my fishing gear to check out the local sights and spend the afternoon enjoying some “unbridled spirit.”
The weather was ideal. While it had been cool early in the morning, it was in the 70s by noon when we headed out. It wasn’t the best time to go fishing, but it was a perfect time to enjoy the outdoor splendor of Kentucky. We motored up the lake near the dam that stretches 8,422 feet long and stands over 200 feet high. The purpose of the dam is to help control floods on the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Finding a place that seemed to attract a few anglers, the mouth of a creek, we shut the motor off and I made a few casts. Sandy laid out our picnic lunch and we were lost in the scenic beauty as we relaxed in comfort. It caused us to forget that the Buffalo Bills were playing arch-rivals, the Miami Dolphins. “Bills are up 16-10 with three minutes left in the third,” came the text from brother in law Joe in Portland, Ore., who shocked us back into reality.
We finished lunch and made a few more casts. A few bites were felt and one decent hit almost pulled the rod under the boat. It could have been a big bass … or one of the many silver carp that inhabit this lake system now. It was a great escape from the rest of the world before the work was to begin in a few hours with a president’s reception.
“Bills up 26-10 with 10 minutes left. They are fired up!” The text told the whole story of the game. They ended up winning by 19 points. It was the icing on the cake we needed to hear, 750 miles from the game in Orchard Park. The main course, though, was the pontoon adventure that allowed us to get up close and personal with the natural resources of this state. It’s not crazy to think that the AGLOW group needed to be here to experience these “great lakes” of the Bluegrass State.
As far as the pontoon boat push, this trip probably put it over the top and we’ll be starting to price these out during the trade show season coming up. Things happen for a reason, for sure. In the meantime, think about Kentucky Lake for a vacation. If you don’t have your own boat, Kentucky Dam Marina has four different styles of pontoon boats for rental, as well as 17-foot Triton bass boats, 18-foot Sea Ray Runabouts and two-person SeaDoos. If you really want to go out in style, the marina also offers a 58-foot houseboat and an 80-foot houseboat that is absolutely incredible. 

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