A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Squirrel season has a long tradition in Ky; spring season makes biological sense

During the settlement era in Kentucky, squirrels were an important source of food as larger game became less plentiful (Image from Wikimedia Commons) During the settlement era in Kentucky, as white-tailed deer, bison, elk, wild turkeys and black bears disappeared from the landscape, rural folks hunted small game for food. Subsistence hunters were often afield at times other than fall and winter, and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bullfrog season opens today; delicacy has been enjoyed by generations of Kyians

Bullfrog season opens in spring, but the nightly chorus is considered by many to be the song of summer. In the still night air the bullfrog’s deep, raspy call sounds like “jug-o-rum, jug-o-rum.” The allure of the season is being outdoors at night — listening to the sounds of whippoorwills and crickets, walking through fields of tall grass by the light of the moon and stars, marveling at...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Bowfishing basics: Shooting fish is an enjoyable off-season practice for hunters

Archers who hunt deer, elk and wild turkeys should consider shooting fish in the off-season. It’s an enjoyable practice that will help keep your archery skills sharp. Legendary archer Fred Bear is considered the father of modern bow fishing in America. (Photo from Bow Fishing Association of America) Bow fishing is most popular in late spring and summer after water conditions stabilized and surface...

Louisville angler Dennis Rhea lands state record saugeye from Shelby County’s Guist Creek Lake

Louisville resident Dennis Rhea won big on Kentucky Oaks Day – not for a bet on a thoroughbred horse running at Churchill Downs, but for a state record saugeye he caught in Shelby County’s Guist Creek Lake. Rhea was fishing the lake May 3 with Brody, his black Labrador retriever and favorite fishing partner, when something struck his silver minnow-shaped crankbait. He brought the fish to hand after...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky has long history of anglers fly fishing for bass in state’s lakes, streams

The early history of fly fishing for bass in Kentucky rivers and stream traces back to single-action, English-style reels — what we know today as click-and pawl reels. Early Kentucky settlers were of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry, and they had a deep love of fishing. Their forefathers practiced the art of fly fishing so the tackle and traditions of fly fishing came to America from the British...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Cutthroat trout becomes fourth species of trout to be stocked in Ky. waters

With the recent stocking of Cutthroat trout there are now four species of trout in Kentucky waters. All four species are non-native members of family Salmonidae, and can be caught in the Cumberland tailwaters, which extends for 75 miles from Wolf Creek Dam, which impounds Lake Cumberland, downstream to the Kentucky/Tennessee line. Cutthroat Trout On April 16 the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Snakes are common across rural Kentucky, and play beneficial role in nature

Snakes are common across rural Kentucky, and play a beneficial role in nature. Warming temperatures bring snakes out of hibernation, usually by mid-to-late April. “When they first emerge, snakes are covered with soil and silt,” said John MacGregor, herpetologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). “They shed their skin within a week or two.” A telltale sign that...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Spring wild turkey season tips and strategies for a successful hunt

Kentucky’s 23-day spring wild turkey general season opens tomorrow and continues through Sunday, May 5. At our farm, the afternoon before the opening morning is filled with ritual — listening for gobbling at dusk, as birds fly up to roost, a celebratory meal, and then getting gear organized. Turkey hunters have a lot of gear to keep track of, so make sure everything you need is in one place....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s spring wild turkey season opens April 6 with youth-only weekend

A wet March, combined with the extended forecast of seasonal to above-normal temperatures in April, is a good reason to be optimistic. Kentucky’s 2019 spring wild turkey season starts tomorrow, with the opening of the youth-only season, the weekend of April 6-7. The 23-day general statewide season begins the following Saturday, April 13, and runs through Sunday, May 5. Seasonal weather is good for...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Early spring chores important part of preparation for wild turkey, deer hunters

It’s that time of the year. Early spring is prime time to complete a number of important, annual chores on your farm, or hunting property, for the benefit of wild turkey and white-tailed deer. There are several reasons why now is the time to be out there, finishing wildlife management and habitat projects, scouting and getting re-familiarized with areas not visited that often. It’s a sure sign...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Longear sunfish, the most abundant in Ky. streams, adapts well to reservoirs

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and last article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis ) is Kentucky’s most abundant stream sunfish, that adapts well to reservoirs impounded from major rivers. A beautifully-colored sunfish that is very familiar to anglers who fish rocky creeks, the longear is called a sun granny, or referred to simply...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Rock bass, at home in rocky, cool waters, are a favorite with stream fishermen

Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) is most often caught from rocky, cool water streams in Central and Eastern Kentucky. A favorite with stream fishermen, the rock bass in known by the common names of red eye or goggle-eye. Statewide, there’s no daily creel limit, with no minimum size limit. The...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The redear sunfish, mostly found in clear waters with rooted aquatic vegetation

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) is found throughout Kentucky, but most common in clear waters — farm ponds, small lakes, and major reservoirs where submerged, rooted aquatic vegetation is present. Statewide, there’s a 20-fish daily creel limit, with no minimum size limit. The redear...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The perfect fish for beginning anglers, the Bluegill is state’s most popular sunfish

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about Kentucky’s native sunfish species. The bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is Kentucky’s most popular sunfish, a native species most common in farm ponds, small lakes, and major reservoirs. A perfect fish for beginning anglers, the bluegill is a real scrapper when hooked on light tackle, and is one of our best-tasting fish. The bluegill’s...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: FINs lakes stocking begins, offering productive late winter fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The long train of heavy rain in 2019 has Lake Cumberland at its highest level since April 1998. Barren River Lake is 35 feet above winter pool while Rough River Lake is a little more than 30 feet above winter pool. Late winter fishing is one of the most overlooked, but often highly productive, times of the year to catch trophy fish. This year, however, the fishing...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Teddy Roosevelt an admired president, conservationist, American icon of freedom

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Jr. (1858 – 1919) was one of America’s most popular, admired and beloved presidents. The two-term Republican (1901-1909) was an outdoorsman, war hero, conservationist, book author and journalist, and naval historian. His likeness was carved into Mount Rushmore alongside other America icons of freedom — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. His...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: A look back at the tackle and techniques of America’s early black bass anglers

Bass anglers today have a staggering array of tackle readily available. There’s a rod, reel, and line for every lure presentation. Casting reels, spinning reels, light, sensitive graphite rods of any length and action, and thin diameter, high-test fishing lines so clear that they literally disappear in water, can be purchased off store shelves and online. What is really amazing, is the number, and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Evaluating Kentucky’s crappie populations, creel limits and regulations

Editor’s Note: This is the third and final article in the three-part series on crappie fishing in Kentucky. Fishery biologists have three ways of evaluating crappie fisheries to gain a better understanding of catch rates, crappie reproductive success and population trends. Creel surveys, which are usually conducted from March through October, provide angler input. Creel clerks talk with anglers...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changes in management of Crappie in small lakes and preferred water conditions

Editor’s note: This is the second article in the three-part series on crappie fishing in Kentucky. In Kentucky, when anglers think crappie, their go-to waters are usually major reservoirs. But in recent years biologists have found some inventive ways to increase the quality of crappie fisheries in small, state-owned lakes. Crappie usually don’t do well in small lakes because they get off massive...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Crappie a highly popular native game fish abundant throughout Kentucky

Editor’s note: This is the first article in the three-part series on crappie fishing opportunities in Kentucky. It’s cold and snowy now, but a month to six weeks from now, avid crappie anglers will be gearing up for the upcoming spring spawn. It’s the highlight of the year on the crappie fishing calendar, as fish staging in deep channels in lakes, begin moving up shallow in creeks, and eventually...