Mammoth Cave Cabin Rentals Rennaker Lake Fishing Information

All fishing is catch and release.
All fishing is catch and release!

The reason for this is fishing is the 3rd most commented part of our reviews. Many kids from various parts of the country have caught their first fish here. Kids stay interested in fishing for about 1 hour, Kids stay interested in catching fish all day long. Please do not violate this hard rule. These are not pay lakes, these are “have fun lakes.” Thank you in advance.

Thank you for choosing to join us for your fishing adventures. We offer the main lake and 3 additional stocked ponds. The lake and ponds are accessible to all guests regardless of where you are staying. It is not uncommon to catch a “trophy” fish. Take a picture and you can have a replica mount made; the link is attached below.

Ken Laudadio (321) 525-1167

We sell bait, Green and regular nightcrawlers, and redworms at the Kayak shed. Bait occasionally sells out and is also available on 728 at Webb’s Grocery about 1 mile from here.
Mini bass boats and kayaks are for rent and located at the kayak shed area.

Kentucky has one of the most diverse native freshwater fish populations in the US, only exceeded by Alabama and Tennessee. Rennaker Lake at Mammoth Cave Cabin Rentals is no exception. Farm ponds are not only one of Kentucky’s most valuable aquatic resources, but also provide one of our most loved activities, fishing! To aid in the identification of our fish friends, a photograph has been included for each species accompanied by a short description.


All paddlefish are male! There are no females with caviar in this lake. They do not bite lures as they are plankton eaters. Please do not snag, they are one of the secrets to our clear water.

The Paddlefish is the only North American representative of this family. This large, distinctive plankton-feeder lives in large turbid rivers and impoundments of the Mississippi basin. Large numbers of individuals often occur below dams of large reservoirs. The Paddlefish is a commercially important species, particularly valued for its eggs, which are sold as caviar.

Identification: A large fish easily distinguished by its long paddle-shaped snout, mostly scaleless “shark-like” body, and large pointed flap on the gill cover. Adults grow to about 5 ft. (185 lbs).

Gizzard Shad

Shads are easily recognized by their silvery, slab-sided bodies and saw-toothed keel along the midline of the belly. They generally swim in large schools and constitute an important forage base for larger sport fishes.

Identification: The Gizzard Shad has a long, whip-like last dorsal fin ray, rounded snout, and dark spot behind gill cover in young and small adults. Adults grow to 20 in.

Grass Carp

Carp have been introduced for biological control of vegetation and water quality (Grass, Silver, and Bighead carps) or fish parasites (Black Carp) in aquaculture ponds.

Identification: A large fish with a wide head, robust body, and large, dark-edged scales. Color is dark olive above, becoming silvery or white on the sides and belly. Adults grow to about 4 ft. (100 lbs), although most fish reported from Kentucky are less than 50lbs.

Bluntnose Minnow

Kentucky has a rich assemblage of minnows, with 64 native species.Minnows are extremely diverse, occur in a wide range of habitats, and usually are more numerous than all other fishes combined. They are important as forage for larger sport fishes and are valuable ecological indicators of water quality.

Identification: A small fish with a rounded snout overhanging a small, slightly downturned mouth. Other distinguishing features include scales on the back that become small and crowded just behind the head, a black spot at the base of the caudal fin, and a thin dark stripe down the side of the body. Males in breeding condition develop a darkly colored head, large tubercles on the snout, and a black spot at the front of the dorsal fin. Adults grow to about 4.5 in.

Channel Catfish

These catfish are regularly stocked in the ponds in front of cabins 1,2 and 3.

Identification: A long, slender-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin. Color is olive to pale gray on the back and sides, often with small black spots, and a white belly. It is similar to the Blue Catfish but differs by having a rounded (vs. straight) anal fin margin and dark spots on the sides of the body (vs. spots absent). Adults can grow to about 4 ft. (60 lbs), but typically range from 12-32 in. (1-15 lbs).

Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish are in the large lake and in the large pond in front of cabin 2. All of these are over 25 lbs with some in excess of 70 lbs (we know because we stocked them that size). Catfish are easily recognized by their barbels or “whiskers” around the mouth and scaleless bodies. Kentucky has 17 species, including the White Catfish, which has been introduced. The largest portion of this family is represented by the small-sized, secretive species called madtoms. The bullheads and larger catfishes are important to anglers and commercial fishers. Catfishes have sharp senses, particularly taste and smell, which enables them to be active at night and in muddy water conditions. They also possess stout spines in the dorsal and pectoral fins, which can inflict a painful wound if handled carelessly.

Identification: A large, heavy-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin. Color is pale blue to gray on the back and sides, fading to white on the lower sides and belly. It is similar to the Channel Catfish, but differs by having a long, straight-edged (vs. shorter, rounded) anal fin and no dark spots on the body. Adults can grow to about 5.5 ft. (150 lbs), but individuals ranging from 20-50 in. (3-60 lbs) are most common.

Largemouth Bass

Bass are strong swimmers that actively pursue fast prey (e.g., forage fish), which they engulf with their large mouths. Some Florida bass hybrids have been stocked in the large lake, these are larger than normal bass with larger stomachs.

Identification: A large, slender fish with a large mouth. The upper jaw extends far beyond the rear margin of the eye in adults. Like the Spotted Bass, it has a broad, black stripe down the side that is often obscure or broken into a series of blotches. It differs from the Spotted Bass by having a plain lower side (vs. with rows of black spots) in adults, a deep (vs. shallow) notch between the spiny and soft dorsal fins, and tongue without a circular patch of teeth (vs. tooth patch present). Juveniles have a dark band at the edge of the caudal fin, but lack the 3-colored pattern of Smallmouth and Spotted Bass. The Largemouth Bass is one of the most important warm-water sport fish in North America. In Kentucky, most adults are in the 12-20 in. (1-5 lbs) range, but can grow to at least 22 lbs.

The Sunfish Family

The sunfish family includes some of the most popular and sought-after sport fishes in the state, such as Bluegill, Large- and Smallmouth basses, the crappies, and several other smaller species regarded as panfish. Kentucky is home to 19 species of sunfish, two of which have been introduced (Redbreast Sunfish and Redeye Bass). During late spring and into the summer, breeding males of several sunfish species become quite colorful and will aggressively defend their nests, which are saucer-shaped pits on the bottom near the margins of streams and lakes. Sunfish have a deep body that is thin from side to side and two broadly joined dorsal fins; the 1st has sharp spines and the 2nd has soft rays.

Green Sunfish

Identification: A large, robust sunfish with a large mouth. The upper jaw extends to about the middle of the eye. A large black spot is present at the rear of the soft dorsal fin. The soft dorsal, anal, and caudal fins have yellow to orange margins. Pectoral fins are short and rounded. Adults can grow to 12 in. (2 lbs), but usually reach 8-10 in.


Identification: A medium sized, robust sunfish with a large head and mouth. The upper jaw extends to or beyond the middle of the eye. It is distinguished from other sunfish, including the Rock Bass, by having dark red-brown lines radiating from the back of the eye and a patch of small teeth on the tongue. Adults can grow to 12 in. (2.5 lbs), but most fish are less than 10 in.


Identification: A moderately large, deep bodied sunfish with a small mouth. The upper jaw does not extend past the front of the eye. Distinguishing features include a large back spot at the rear of the soft dorsal fin, long and pointed pectoral fins, and several evenly spaced dark vertical bars on the sides. Adults can grow to 16 in. (4.5 lbs), but usually reach 6-11 in.

Longear Sunfish

Identification: A moderately small sunfish, with a deep body and small mouth. The upper jaw does not extend past the front of the eye. It is distinguished from other sunfish by having a long gill or “ear” flap, and wavy blue lines on the cheek and gill cover. Pectoral fins are short and rounded. Brilliantly colored (especially breeding males) with bright red-orange and iridescent blue spots on the back and sides, grading to mostly red-orange on the belly. Breeding males also develop red-orange color, often streaked with iridescent blue, on the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Adults can grow to 9 in., but are usually less than 6 in.

Redear Sunfish

Identification: A moderately large, deep bodied sunfish with relatively long, pointed snout and small mouth. The upper jaw does not extend past the front of the eye. Similar to Bluegill, but differs by having an orange or red margin on a black gill or “ear” flap, no dark spot at the rear of the soft dorsal fin, and body without dark vertical bars evenly spaced along the sides (in adults). Adults can grow to 15 in. (4 lbs), but usually reach 8-11 in. (about 1 lb).

Black Crappie

Identification: Similar to the White Crappie but differs by having a shorter body between the snout and dorsal fin origin, 7-8 (vs. 6) dorsal-fin spines, and sides more boldly patterned with dark green or black speckles and blotches (vs. sides with dark vertical bars). Adults can grow to 19 in. (6 lbs), but most range from 8-15 in. (1-2 lbs). 4 lbs crappie have been caught several times in this lake due to our catch and release program.


Thomas, M. R. (2021). Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from[1].pdf

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