Cartographer knows what lies at the bottom of Herrington Lake

April 20, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

LEXINGTON - Next to the aquarium stocked with goldfish is a map cabinet. Across from it, Clint Land sits at a computer filled with the intimate details about the topography of more than two dozen central Kentucky lakes.

"Bass aren't like goldfish," he says, gesturing toward the tank. "They don't stay in one place; they move."

Time to feed. Time for spring. Time to spawn. Instinct calls fish to move, playing on their simple nervous systems. Sport fishermen are called, perhaps by instinct, to hunt the bass, follow them and hook them. Bass still navigate the creek and river beds below these created lakes, and congregate around structures left when the lake was flooded - cemeteries, house foundations, trees.

To find the channels and structures, fishermen use maps. Land makes maps.

In 1980, he was working at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet drawing highway plans. One day his boss told him to go into the map vault and throw away these U.S. Geological Survey topographical quad sheets. Curious about them, Land asked if he could bring them home.


While he looked over the maps, he found one that caught his eye. Around the turn of the century, the USGS had mapped the area around Dix River. "I said, 'That's Herrington Lake.'"

He had a detailed description of the bottom of the lake, including where the structures were located before it was flooded. The information is thrilling for a cartographer. The lakes are in the genes, so to speak. Land's dad engineered many of the dams used to create the central Kentucky lakes.

Land has done more than two dozen maps, including Cumberland, Wilgreen and Laurel. His most recently published map was of Cedar Creek, the lake created last year near Stanford. This time, he used photographs of the lake being built, along with the topography to create a detailed map.

The lake has already been declared a trophy bass lake, and has daily limits, such as one largemouth bass, minimum 20 inches.

Land's next project is to map the Kentucky River. When he started the project, he said people asked him what part he wanted to map. All of it, he told them. It will be so detailed that it will have to be contained in a book.

The maps run from $2.95 to $7.95. Land sells them at marinas and bait shops around the lakes, and from his home.

For more information, call (859) 269-6997 or (859) 948-2235, or visit

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