Kentucky Afield Outdoors: What is old becomes new again — swimbaits will fool that trophy fish

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the sixth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Anglers with a bit of salt in their hair remember fondly the venerable...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rising water temperatures result in best largemouth bass fishing of the year

When water temperatures in Kentucky’s small lakes, streams and major reservoirs rise into the mid-to-upper 60s largemouth bass begin feeding along the shoreline, in preparation for spawning. For fly fishermen it’s the start of some of the best largemouth bass fishing of the year. This “topwater” action continues post-spawn into May, when water temperatures warm into the mid-to-upper 70s, and...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Elk quota hunt application deadline is rapidly approaching

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Twenty years ago this December, seven elk were released atop Potato Knob in Perry County in front of thousands of onlookers. The landmark restoration of a free roaming elk herd in Kentucky was off and running. Fast forward to present day. There are now more elk in Kentucky than any state east of the Rocky Mountains and each year the prospect of harvesting one compels...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Vertical jigging for walleye, sauger, saugeye — Spring’s overlooked presentation

Vertical jigging may be the most overlooked presentation for catching walleye, sauger and saugeye in Kentucky’s lakes and rivers during the spring. In March and April these fish stack up below dams in rivers and lake tailwaters, and move into the headwaters of reservoirs, drawn by the current from feeder creeks and rivers. They school by size and concentrate around bottom structure, facing into...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Weather is just one of three things to consider for spring fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the fifth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The weather forecast calls for a redbud winter to hit this week. This...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A quality decoy can provide wild turkey hunters with an advantage

It has happened to every wild turkey hunter. A gobbler responds to calling and moves towards the hunter, but abruptly stops, and hangs up just out of gun range. The hunter can see the gobbler but the gobbler doesn’t see a hen — what he thinks is the source of those seductive clucks and yelps. It’s a situation where hunting with a quality decoy could have been the difference between just another...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Forget the Final Four, early April is the time to hook trophy largemouth bass

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (Note: This is the fourth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Now that the Kentucky-based teams are no longer in the NCAA basketball...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: With warmer weather, lots of food options, spring turkey season looks promising

With Kentucky’s spring wild turkey season on the horizon, the outlook is promising. A number of factors seem to point to better than average hunting conditions and flock status. Hens and gobblers are in excellent body condition after a heavy mast crop last fall, and a mild winter. The AccuWeather forecast for Central Kentucky is calling for average to above average temperatures, with near normal...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: The time has come! Here’s your spring wild turkey season preview

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Spring turkey hunting is slipping into position before daybreak and sitting still as the sun eases over the hills. It is breaking the silence with a call and getting a response that sends a shock of excitement down your spine. It is coaxing a love-struck gobbler closer and keeping your wits as it struts into range. “There’s something about that drumming, spitting,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Nine-banded armadillo a curious critter — and an unwelcome exotic species

Their appearance is comical — a compact body, with the profile of a loaf of bread, covered by bony plates and scales. The legs seem way too short, but have grotesquely long “toenails.” The head is small with a pointed pig-like snout. The ears are pointy and erect, like the ears on a Chihuahua dog. They have a hairy belly, which is exposed when they stand upright on their hind legs. But this...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Angles stand excellent chance of catching a trophy muskellunge

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward (This is the third installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Spring break for many conjures thoughts of traveling somewhere warm and...

Becoming an Outdoors Woman one-day seminar scheduled for April 8 at Salato Wildlife Center

Women who want a relaxed setting to learn more about the outdoors can now register for a special one-day Beyond BOW (Becoming an Outdoors-Woman) seminar being held April 8 at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. Women who want to learn an outdoor skill or build upon their basic skills can sample from a variety of topics, including basic fishing, fun with air guns, beginner crossbow, bow...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The eagle has landed — survived and flourished — back from the brink

This is the last of a two-part series on the comeback of America’s national symbol. On July 12, 1995 federal biologists believed that populations had recovered enough so that the bald eagle could be taken off the endangered species list, and designated as a threatened species. That designation lasted just 12 years. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the delisting of the bald eagle...

Construction of new pistol shooting area temporarily closes John A. Kleber public rifle range

The public rifle range at John A. Kleber Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Owen County is temporarily closed while construction is underway on a new pistol shooting area. The existing facility is a rifle range. That range, however, is not open for pistols. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is constructing a “pistol pit” adjacent to the existing range to provide handgun enthusiasts...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Ahead of schedule, white bass spawning runs just around the corner

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward This is the second installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). February days in the 60s make for crowded boat ramps and golf courses...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bald Eagle nesting resurgence — back from the brink of extinction

This is the first of a two-part series on the comeback of America’s national symbol. The Bald Eagle’s comeback from the brink of extinction is one of our country’s greatest conservation success stories. In Kentucky today there are more eagle habitat, and the number of nesting pairs of eagles may actually be higher than during the late 18th century, when explorers, long hunters and settlers first...

Fish and Wildlife Department seeks angler donations as Trophy Bass Program opens for the season

When Murray resident Austin Gruner caught an 8.2-ounce largemouth bass bulging with developing eggs from Kentucky Lake on Feb. 10, he didn’t keep it. Instead, Gruner took his trophy to Fisherman’s Headquarters in Benton, where employees held it for pick up by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources hatchery truck. When Murray resident Austin Gruner caught an 8.2-ounce largemouth bass...

State anglers will get additional access to section of Salt River with opening of new road

Road access to a section of Salt River above Taylorsville Lake is now open for vehicles in preparation for the coming white bass spawning run. The gated accesses at Palmer Road and Old River Road off KY 44 at Taylorsville Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will remain open from daylight until dark through late summer, except for closures during youth and spring turkey seasons. The gates will remain...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Up and Coming Fisheries a savory menu of potential fishing trips

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the first installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The Fisheries Division’s Fishing Forecast each year presents its “Up...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The wild turkey in Kentucky and the story of the return of a native species

Second article of a two-part series on the wild turkey in Kentucky. Wildlife trades were an important component of wild turkey restoration efforts in Kentucky in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1970s turkeys were obtained from private hunting clubs in Mississippi and Arkansas, in exchange for white-tailed deer. These deer-turkey trades lasted from 1978 until 1981 and provided around 400 birds. In...