A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Operation Dry Water in effect this weekend; conservation officers watching for impaired boaters

Conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will join law enforcement agencies across the nation for Operation Dry Water during the July 4 holiday weekend. Operation Dry Water is a national campaign designed to educate the public about the danger of boating while impaired. Kentucky will increase its law enforcement presence around the state’s lakes and rivers...

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...

In wake of recent drownings, officials emphasizing safety when swimming, boating on Ky. waterways

With the recent summer-like temperatures, many people have been getting outdoors to enjoy Kentucky’s lakes and streams. If not careful, a fun day swimming or boating can turn tragic in a matter of seconds. Conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources investigate boating accidents and fatalities on all waterways and reservoirs throughout the state. Often, they...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Hybrid striped bass in Ky. waters are result of a controlled interspecies cross

The Hybrid Striped Bass is the result of interspecific hybridization, a cross of two species that must occur in the controlled environment of a fish hatchery. It does not happen naturally in the wild, and offspring are usually sterile. The original cross is the eggs of the female Striped Bass (Morone saxatilus) mixed with the milt of the male White Bass (Morone chrysops). The so-called reciprocal cross...

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...

Fish and Wildlife Resources cancels conservation camps; decision protects families from COVID-19

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will not offer its summer conservation camps this year due to the novel coronavirus. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience,” Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Rich Storm said. ”However, this is a necessary step we had to take to protect the health and safety of our campers, their families and our staff.” This decision was...

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...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Spybait technique is an overlooked, but productive, option for March fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward New bass fishing techniques or presentations are cast into the marketplace seemingly every year and become the newest rage, pushing established techniques into the prop wash of the next new thing. The spybaiting presentation is one of those new techniques that made a splash a few years ago and faded a bit with time, but this hasn’t impacted its unique ability...

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...

State, federal officials visit Western Kentucky to observe experimental method to combat Asian carp

Tens of thousands of pounds of carp were removed from Smith and Pisgah bays Monday as part of experimental harvests of Asian Carp in Kentucky Lake. (Photo from KDFWR) State and federal officials joined local partners at Pisgah Bay Monday to observe first-hand an experimental research method to address the Asian carp population at Kentucky Lake. Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch...

Experimental Asian carp harvest method to be employed at Kentucky Lake during February

The deployment of an experimental Asian carp harvest method on Kentucky Lake will impact public access during the month of February. In an effort to rid the lake of thousands of invasive Asian carp, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Tennessee Valley Authority have scheduled a research...

Now, for a little fun, you can name this new species of crayfish to support ‘Kentucky Wild;’ clock is ticking

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is offering a unique opportunity to name a new species through an auction to help support vulnerable wildlife facing threats in the Commonwealth. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at-risk species biologist Zack Couch discovered the rare crayfish near Louisville, and it is only known to exist in a few streams in Jefferson, Bullitt and Meade counties. Funding...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky hunters post another big harvest as deer season comes to close

Kentucky’s 2019-20 hunting season for white-tailed deer ended Monday and hunters posted another big harvest, inching closer to the all-time record. Last season’s deer harvest of 145,753 was the second-highest ever, but that number was surpassed this season. Hunters reported taking 148,356 deer, 53 percent antlered and 47 percent antlerless, according to harvest data posted on the Kentucky Department...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Cedar Waxing’s unique plumage, eating habits most often observed in winter

A lasting image of the Cedar Waxwing is a beautiful tan bird perched amid the dark green leaves of an American Holly tree, eating red berries. Most often observed here during the cold weather months, the Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is a nomadic bird that moves irregularly, throughout both its breeding and wintering range, often from year to year, depending on food supplies. This bird is easily...

Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers to begin major new study on Kentucky’s elk population

Researchers will use a helicopter to locate and capture elk this month as part of a major research study on elk reproduction and population growth. The research will be conducted throughout Kentucky’s elk zone and will launch this month. “Netting by helicopter is the best way to live-capture elk for this important study on reproduction and survival,” said Kyle Sams, acting deer and elk program...

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources accepting trees for Christmas for the Fishes program

Repurposing your used cut Christmas trees helps give Kentucky’s underwater inhabitants new homes after the holiday season ends. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is collecting natural Christmas trees at 39 drop-off locations across the state for its Christmas for the Fishes program. Collection will continue until mid-January. “Christmas for the Fishes gives people the opportunity...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Explore Kentucky’s wildlife management areas during Christmas holiday

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The Christmas holiday provides most of us some much-needed days off and time with family and friends, but sometimes, it is nice to escape from all of the food and festivities and stretch your legs. For those who need to relax and get away for a bit, Kentucky’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) offer a place to go wander. “We have 89 public wildlife management...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Snowy Owl, a winter migrant rarely observed in Ky., but not unheard of

The spotting of Snowy Owls in northern parts of Kentucky is a rare occurance that only happens a few times each decade. (Photo from Wkipedia Commons) A glimpse of this winter migrant might be on the holiday wish list of birdwatchers in Kentucky, and bordering states to the north along the Ohio River. That’s because the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), a large raptor rarely observed in the region, spends...