A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Non-native mussel, aquatic vegetation have become common in Kentucky waters

A non-native mussel and three species of non-native aquatic vegetation have become established in Kentucky’s major lakes. Zebra Mussels endanger native mussel populations and affect the food chain, water clarity and spawning substrate of native gamefish species. Zebra Mussels are present in Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Dale Hollow Lake, Taylorsville Lake, Carr Creek Lake, Dewey Lake, and Fishtrap...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The yellow bass is a small, underappreciated species, but makes a tasty meal

This underappreciated native fish species is usually an incidental bycatch, most often taken by crappie anglers casting or drifting small jigs, or fishing live minnows around submerged wood cover. The Yellow Bass (Morone mississippiensis) is a member of the temperate bass family Moronidae, that includes the striped bass, white bass and hybrid striped bass. Some anglers fishing in Kentucky Lake and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Saugeye fishery has blossomed in Ky., providing a bonanza for anglers

What started out as experimental stockings in 2013 has blossomed into a bonafide fishery management success story for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), and a bonanza for anglers. The Saugeye has found a home in Kentucky. This hybrid thrives in fertile waters where shad are present, adapts well to lake environments, and tolerates turbidity and warm water better than walleyes. A...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A ‘big-time brawler,’ the Muskellunge is Kentucky’s top predator fish

The Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is king of Kentucky’s major lakes and the streams they were impounded from, a voracious predator and big-time brawler on even the heaviest fishing tackle. The subspecies Esox masquinongy ohioenis, the Ohio Muskellunge, is native to Kentucky and the Ohio River valley. Muskies are members of family Esocidae, which includes pikes and pickerels. Pollution, siltation...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A distinctive seasonal visitor, the brown thrasher is often found along roadsides

Driving Kentucky’s rural backroads during the spring and early summer it’s not uncommon to see this distinctively-marked brown bird darting into brushy fencerows or tangles of vines and honeysuckle at the wood’s edge. An adult and juvenile brown thrasher (Photo from Wikipedia Commons) A rather large bird with long tail feathers, the Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is a member of the family Mimidae,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s abundant sunfish can be caught with live bait and basic fishing tackle

They thrive in farm ponds, small lakes and tree-canopied creeks, little fish that are fun to catch and make a tasty meal when fried up with potatoes and hush puppies, and served with coleslaw. Three of the most common and widely distributed sunfish species in Kentucky — Bluegill, Longear Sunfish, and Redear Sunfish — are also found in many major reservoirs. The best fishing of the year...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: James Henshall forever remembered for introducing America to black bass

Editor’s Note: This is the last of three articles on the life and work of the father of bass fishing in America. Throughout his life, James A. Henshall vigorously praised and promoted black bass but took issue with the naming of the two most important species — the largemouth and smallmouth bass. In a trip abroad to seven countries that started in December 1886 with a 17-day voyage from...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: James Henshall moves to Cincinnati where Black Bass odyssey began

Editor’s note: This is the second of three articles on the life and work of the father of bass fishing in America. In 1852, after James A. Henshall finished high school, his family moved to Cincinnati, where his medical career and black bass odyssey began. Henshall entered medical school in 1855, and received a degree of Medicinae Doctor in May 1859. He practiced medicine for decades, into the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: James Alexander Henshall is known as the father of bass fishing in America

Editor’s note: This is the first of three articles on the life and work of the father of bass fishing in America. James Alexander Henshall (1836-1925) has been called an apostle of the black bass and the father of bass fishing in America. His Book of the Black Bass, published in 1881, is still thought of today by many bass angling historians as the bible of the sport. James A. Henshall (Image...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A look at the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on outdoor activities in Ky.

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has reached into the outdoors, where we practice social distancing on purpose. Fishing and hunting are open in Kentucky but there have been some changes enacted because of the health emergency. Here’s some news and observations about fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities in Kentucky during the COVID-19 outbreak. On its website the Kentucky Department of...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Warm temps bring out ticks early, and these bloodsuckers don’t social distance

When temperatures spiked into the upper 70s in early April, grasses and clover hit a growth spurt, flowers bloomed and trees began to bud out. Our early spring was welcomed during this mentally challenging time, but the fast warm-up brought ticks out a little earlier than normal. While doing yard work, bank fishing around ponds and streams, gardening, hunting wild turkeys or just taking the dog for...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s 23-day spring wild turkey season getting a late start in 2020

Due to calendar shift Kentucky’s 2020 spring wild turkey season is starting five days later than last year and two weeks after the youth-only season, which was held last weekend, April 4-5. By regulation, the 23-day general statewide season opens on the Saturday closest to April 15 each year. This year’s season dates are Saturday, April 18, through Sunday, May 10. Fields are greening up fast because...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: April is crappie month in Kentucky; vary tackle and techniques for success

A crappie is a crappie… well not exactly. The two species found in Kentucky waters look a lot alike, but their seasonal movements and habitat preferences are slightly different, so anglers need to vary their tackle and techniques for success. Here’s some strategies and observations about fishing in April, arguably our best month to catch crappie: Black Crappie (Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Most outbreaks of disease like covid-19 trace to consumption of wildlife in China

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses common in animals that can cause human illness ranging from the symptoms of the common cold to life-threatening respiratory infections. According to a posting on the World Health Organization website, COVID-19 is the latest version of Coronavirus, a strain discovered in 2019 that was not previously found in humans. Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Wading is an excellent and inexpensive way to fish in state’s abundant streams

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Anglers in Kentucky often learned to fish by wading the abundant streams that course over the surface of our state. Many of these streams flow over a rocky bottom and hold substantial populations of smallmouth bass. Several streams flowing in the mountains of east Kentucky or streams powered by springs receive trout stocked by the Kentucky Department of Fish and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Let’s go fishing which is best in Spring; we’re blessed with abundance of lakes and streams

We are blessed here in Kentucky with an abundance of streams and lakes, excellent fishing and no closed seasons. While the unofficial start to spring fishing begins with the new license year on March 1, we can fish year-round, weather permitting. Quality crappie is the name of the game at Taylorsville Lake, 3,050 acres in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties. (US Army Corps of Engineers photo) If...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The .357 Magnum, an American classic, for both security and hunting

Author’s note: This is the first article in an occasional series about modern rifle and pistol cartridges and their uses in hunting. A revolver chambered in .357 Magnum is an American Classic. This venerable “muscle” cartridge was embraced by law enforcement for decades, has been proven to be efficient on deer at a reasonable range and has given many a homeowner a sense of security in being...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Bobcat is a secretive carnivore found in forests across Commonwealth

Bobcats (Photo by Summer M. Tribble, Wikipedia Commons) Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in an occasional series about furbearers in Kentucky. The Kentucky Wildcat, the mascot of University of Kentucky (UK) sports teams, is a party animal on the sidelines who encourages cheering crowds at games and thrives in the limelight. But its namesake, the Bobcat (Lynx rufus), is quite the opposite....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Although rare at backyard bird feeders, the Eastern Towhee is common in Ky.

Eastern Towhee (Photo by Brian Kushner, Audubon Society) Editor’s Note: This is the tenth article in an occasional series about backyard birds. The Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is an infrequent visitor to backyard bird feeders. Consider yourself lucky to see this large sparrow, with distinctive plumage, feeding on the ground beneath one of your hanging feeders during the late winter...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Squirrel hunting for both food and sport has a long history in Kentucky

The fox squirrel, one of Kentucky’s two native species, is abundant in the park-like savannas of the state’s interior. (Photo by Gary Eslinger, US Fish and Wildlife Service) Hunting squirrels for food and sport is a tradition deeply embedded in Kentucky’s hunting culture. In early Kentucky, squirrels were present in our woodlands in startling numbers. Dave Baker, editor of Kentucky Afield...