Besides all things beer, another passion of mine is fly flying, more importantly, fly fishing for trout. The best water in the state is the Cumberland river at 2 1/2 hours away. With current gas prices, I find myself heading down that way only a few times each year. It's also quite finicky being a cold tailwater with a leaky dam. That being said - I am a fly fishing nomad. I travel the country in search of that next trout. The tug is the drug. The closest trout water and the water I claim as my home is Otter Creek.
Otter is a tributary of the Ohio River in Meade County, KY. Most of the water containing trout is located within Otter Creek Park. The park is maintained by Louisville Metro Parks. There is a second portion of water located within Fort Knox that requires a special permit to fish.
I'd venture to say that I've put more time on Otter than any other water I've fished. It holds sentimental value as it's the site of my first encounter between a fly rod and a rainbow trout (10” caught on a hand tied Prince #14.)
What can I say about Otter Creek.
It's a quick 45 minute drink to the entrance of the park. Listed as having 9.7 miles of trout water starting at the confluence with the Ohio, it's very accessible with a trail system running along most of its length. Blessing or curse it holds numerous other species. On my last trip I managed to catch smallmouth bass, bream, a freshwater drum, and a small catfish.
Part of Otter's problem is a lack of stream side stability. It's prone to washouts after heavy rains. The water muddies up quickly and stays that way for way too long. In June 2007 the local chapter of Trout Unlimited joined forces with metro parks as steward of the stream. Hopefully there are plans in place to remedy the situation. It's a put and take fishery with stocked trout. There are a few holdovers. The water just gets too warm and oxygen levels too high to support a sustaining population. The trout average 10-12” and in my experience are taken more on nymphs than dries. The exception is during the fall when Otter gets it's last stocking of the year and goes into a seasonal catch-and-release season from October 1 - March 31. During this period a size 22 cream midge is my go to fly. Otter also holds a surprising population of small stream smallmouth. I find myself fishing for them more often than trout.
As for linking it to a specific beer I have the following criteria
1.Has to be one easy to find and drink.
Otter Creek is very close and accessible and this beer can be found in most stores, bars, and bowling allies.
2.Has to be a gateway beer being familiar yet a just a tad different.
Otter Creek is pretty easy to fish with nothing really standing out. The water is easy to read and wade and offers very few surprises. This beer is quite ordinary with nothing jumping too far out the bottle. It's neither too sweet, roasted, or hoppy. The beer has an overall slightly sweet smooth malty taste with a simple hop character.
3.Has to be drinkable all year long.
Otter is a year round fishery and a good place when I feed a fix. While I wouldn't purchase this beer on a regular basis, I wouldn't turn it down if bought for me or if it was the best option on a night on the town. I could drink it year round - if I had to.
Otter Creek would be...
you guessed it - Michelob's Amber Bock