By Jeremy Patton
Fishing Creek is a tributary of Lake Cumberland in Pulaski County, Kentucky.
There are numerous waterfalls on this arm of Lake Cumberland, some leaping from its limestone cliffs, others cascading gently into its coves. Many are only accessible by boat.
This article is a work in progress. There are several sections of Fishing Creek that I have not explored. Also, there are numerous waterfalls I have discovered, but will not write about at this time because I did not get good photos or coordinates.
A word of caution: Fishing Creek receives a lot of traffic in the summer, which makes the water choppy and increases the risk of collision. When I kayak there, I hug the cliffs and avoid the middle of the lake. It does not matter that I am sitting in a neon green kayak, wearing a neon orange life vest and waving my paddle. A drunk tourist could easily run me over with his speed boat. It is much safer to go waterfalling here in autumn.
The following four waterfalls north of Needle Point are the best that I have found on Fishing Creek so far. See the map below for their approximate locations. I put in my kayak at David H. Godby Boat Ramp (locals know it as Slate Branch Boat Ramp). From US-27 in Somerset, drive west on KY-1642 then continue straight onto Lake Walk Drive, which terminates at the boat ramp.
Fishing Creek Falls #1 slides and drops from a cliff directly into Lake Cumberland. It is multi-tier, but its upper levels are difficult to see due to foilage. I believe that its source comes from underground, but I have yet to determine if it is a spring or cave. It lives at the back of a calm cove.
Fishing Creek Falls #2 and #3 share the same cove, but few other similarities.
Waterfall #2 cascades to its confluence with the lake. On 6/24/17, Shane and I waded upstream and confirmed that it was spring fed, gushing from a bowl-shaped bluff. The upper section of the spring appeared to be on private property; we spotted a bunch of cows grazing above.
Waterfall #3 was another multi-tier beauty. It could be an above-ground tributary or a spring.
Fishing Creek Falls #4 was the highest, plummeting into a quiet cove. On 4/8/17, my ex-girlfriend and I paddled behind it. Shane, Angie and I returned on 6/24/17. The lake level was up and the waterfall was not as high. It was still gorgeous, but a tourist had tied off his houseboat and hogged the cove. They could not block me from visiting the falls in my compact kayak, however. I ducked under the ropes and paddled right up to its base. This is another reason why waterfalling on Lake Cumberland is better off-season: Fewer houseboats mar the scenery.
After looking at satellite images, I suspect that Fishing Creek Falls #4 is fed by an above-ground stream.