A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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: The striped bass is now present in Kentucky’s lakes, tailwaters and rivers

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis), a sleek, powerful fish with firm, white flesh, has long been regarded as one of the most important game and food fishes in the U.S. Until the late 1940s striped bass existed only as an anadromous species, a fish that was born in freshwater but spent most of its life in salt water, returning to freshwater to spawn. Naturally occurring populations are found along...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The largemouth bass remains most popular gamefish in Kentucky waters

(Editor’s Note: This is the seventh article in a series about Kentucky’s gamefish species.) The largemouth bass is Kentucky’s most popular gamefish. French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1756-1825) was the first to publish information on this black bass in the scientific literature, based on a drawing and simple description obtained in 1802 from the Carolinas. He named the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Spotted (Kentucky) Bass — most common in the streams of Northeastern Ky.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth article in a series about Kentucky’s native gamefish species. Once thought to be a hybrid between the Largemouth Bass and the Smallmouth Bass, the Spotted Bass is easily confused with the Largemouth Bass by inexperienced anglers. The species was first described in 1819 by French naturalist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, who collected a specimen at the Falls...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The return of Kentucky’s native river-run, southern strain of Walleye

The Walleye is native to Kentucky. The so-called river-run, southern strain of Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum)` once inhabited the Ohio River, and many of its tributaries throughout the state. Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783-1840), a naturalist at Translyvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky, was the first to describe the Walleye in the scientific literature, from a specimen he took in Kentucky...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Live bait catches fish and is the best approach for beginners, anglers on a budget

Live bait catches fish. A slithering worm or wiggling minnow is something fish can’t resist. The natural action, smell and mouth feel of a live organism is something adult fish experience whenever they feed. They know it’s food, but yes fish can be fooled into striking artificial lures. For beginning anglers or anglers on a budget, fishing with live bait is a win-win approach, effective and inexpensive....

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...