A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Sparrows swarm backyard bird feeders during Kentucky’s cold winter months

When you feed songbirds during the winter months sparrows are likely to come in droves. The little brown and tan birds are seed eaters and they relish the small seeds commonly found in wild bird mixes — black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and milo. They will feed on hanging feeders, or trays laid on the ground where the seed is just piled up. sparrow feeds on black oil sunflower seeds. (Photo...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cutthroat trout is newest species of trout introduced to Kentucky waters

The Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is native to the cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, from California to Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America. Its species, clarkii, was named to honor Captain William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition (1803-1806), who described the fish in his diary. There are 14 sub-species of cutthroat trout, two...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Brook trout are one of four species in Lake Cumberland tailwaters

The brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a cold-water species native to the eastern U.S. and Canada. Populations in the U.S. are mostly confined to higher elevations of the Appalachians. Its preferred habitat is small, clear streams in unspoiled backcountry. The brook trout is a member of family Salmonidae. Brook Trout (Photo by Charlie Summers Flickr Commons) Size and Coloration The “brookie”...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Fall and winter are ideal times for brown trout fishing in Kentucky waters

The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is a European species that has been widely introduced. In April 1884, the U.S. Fish Commission, released 4,900 brown trout fry into the Baldwin River, a tributary of the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. This was the first release of brown trout into U.S. waters. By 1900, 38 states had received stocks of brown trout. Their adaptability resulted in many of these introductions...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rabbit hemorrhagic disease threatens North America’s wild rabbit population

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate, is threatening North America’s wild rabbits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service classified the virus serotype 2 (RHDV2) “as a foreign animal disease…for the first time in the U.S., detected in wild rabbits.” The black-tailed jackrabbit is one of the species...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A scenic mountain reservoir, Carr Creek Lake is an overlooked walleye fishery

Editor’s note: This is the ninth article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. For more than twenty years it was known as Carr Fork Lake. In January 1997, Congress officially changed the name of the project to Carr Creek Lake, in honor of long hunter William Carr, who explored the area in the 1770’s, and the community’s legendary high school basketball team that won the state championship...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Eastern Kentucky’s Dewey Lake, a mountain reservoir with a mix of fish species

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Dewey Lake is a mountain reservoir located near Prestonsburg in Floyd County. (Photo from Kentucky State Parks) Dewey Lake is in eastern Kentucky’s Floyd County. The dam is about 4 miles northeast of Prestonsburg, off Ky. 3. Impounded from John’s Creek, a tributary to the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Richard Taylor’s Girty melds myth and fact to tell story of notorious frontier traitor

In this classic work, Richard Taylor artfully assembles passages from diaries, travel accounts, biographies, poems and monologues to tell the story of Simon Girty (1741-1818), branded as a notorious traitor, and one of the most hated men in the Ohio River Valley and Kentucky frontier. Girty survived important battles in two wars that had a profound impact on Kentuckians, the American Revolutionary...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Laurel River Lake offers good fishing for cool water species fall through spring

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Laurel River Lake is located in Laurel and Whitley Counties in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Laurel River Lake is in Laurel and Whitley Counties, just off Interstate-75 in Daniel Boone National Forest. The dam is about 20 miles east of Corbin, on Ky. 1193, about...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: One of Ky’s oldest reservoirs, Dale Hollow offers good fishing, exceptional scenery

Construction on Dale Hollow Lake began in 1942, and was completed after WWII. (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Dale Hollow Lake is one of Kentucky’s oldest major reservoirs. Construction began in 1942 but the project was not fully functional until after World War II, built at a cost of $52.3 million. Straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border, in Cumberland and Clinton counties in Kentucky...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s white-tailed deer harvest is off to strong start as gun season looms

Kentucky’s 2020-21 white-tailed deer season got off to a fast start as the main event, our statewide 16-day modern gun season looms on the horizon. Ideal hunting conditions, cool, dry weather, were a major factor in the record harvest by archers in September. Bowhunters reported taking 7,981 deer, eclipsing the old record of 6,650 deer arrowed in September 2015. Kentucky’s modern gun season...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Buckhorn Lake offers beautiful mountain scenery and muskie hideaway

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth article is a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Buckhorn Lake is located west of Hazard in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Buckhorn Lake is in Perry and Leslie Counties, about 28 miles west of Hazard, in the Redbird Purchase Unit of Daniel Boone National Forest. Completed in 1967, the lake was built by impounding...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s Green River Lake features a mixed creel of quality fisheries

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Green River Lake is located in Taylor and Adair Counties in south-central Kentucky. (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Green River Lake is in south-central Kentucky, east of Ky. 55 between Campbellsville and Columbia, in Taylor and Adair Counties. The dam is 26 miles upstream of Greensburg, and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky fall fishing update — watch the weather and monitor water levels

Fall has arrived with a blast of cool air, invigorating both fish and fishermen. Two sure signs of the season are shorter days and cool, foggy mornings. Some of the best fishing of the year has started and if favorable weather and water conditions continue, the good fishing could last into late November. (Photo by John Lander) Generally in major reservoirs, black bass, crappie and other game fish...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s newest major reservoir, Yatesville Lake offers excellent fishing

Editor’s note: This is the third article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Yatesville Lake (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Yatesville Lake is Kentucky’s newest major reservoir. Located 5 miles west of Louisa in Lawrence County, the backdrop is piney, forested hills. Impounded from Blaine Creek, which flows into the Big Sandy River about 25 miles upriver from Ashland,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cave Run Lake is Kentucky’s top destination for Muskellunge fishing

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series about Kentucky’s major resevoirs Cave Run Lake Dam (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo) Cave Run Lake, Kentucky’s top muskie fishing destination, is in Menifee, Morgan, Bath, and Rowan Counties, about 15 miles southwest of Morehead. The major access highways are Interstate 64, U.S. 60, Ky. 801, and Ky. 1274. The project was completed...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Taylorsville Lake one of Kentucky’s most popular recreational resevoirs

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about Kentucky’s major resevoirs In part because of its close proximity to Kentucky’s largest metropolitan area, Taylorsville Lake is arguably central Kentucky’s most popular reservoir. Located about 25 miles southeast of Louisville in Spencer, Anderson, and Nelson Counties, Taylorsville Lake offers excellent fishing and is a convenient...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Spring spawning runs of white bass in Ky. waters a favorite with anglers

Editor’s note: This is the tenth article in a series about Kentucky’s gamefish species. The white bass (Morone chrysops) is found in rivers throughout the state, and fishable population are present in many of Kentucky’s major lakes. For most of the year it is an open-water (pelagic) species in lakes, but in the spring the spawning urge makes schools of white bass congregate in rocky headwater...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Primarily a river fish, sauger are also present in Kentucky’s Lakes and tailwaters

Editor’s note: This is the ninth article in a series about Kentucky’s gamefish species. The sauger (Sander canadense) is a river fish that isn’t as widely distributed or abundant in Kentucky as it once was, due primarily to the blocking of spawning routes. Since sauger prefer current to slack water, high-rise dams are a hindrance to migration. Sauger do not thrive in lake environments. Populations...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: 2020-21 Kentucky Deer Season set to open on rescheduled Derby Day

In what must be characterized as the most unlikely juxtaposition of sport, Kentucky’s spring horseracing classic, the Kentucky Derby, will be run on the opening day of white-tailed deer season. The 146th running of America’s most famous horse race, rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will be Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. By regulation, the first Saturday in September is opening day of Kentucky’s...