A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Ideal habitat conditions should make for a productive dove season

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward For the middle of August, much of Kentucky looks as green as late May. Corn is high and robust, pastures are green and streams run bank full. The lush conditions should translate into productive hunting when the dove season opens Sept. 1. “Sunflowers look great overall,” said Wes Little, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Stick it to dangerous currents and uneven terrain with a wading staff

Those of us who wade rocky streams for smallmouth or tailwaters for trout sometimes bite off more than we can chew. An eddy on the other side of the stream looks inviting and the more you stare at it, the more you want to cast there. The only problem is a waist-deep run with strong current lies between you and the enticing water. You begin crossing the stream, but about halfway, the current begins...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Wild weather makes deciphering Spring white bass runs challenging

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward This spring seems like one long continuation of late winter. As soon as we get a warm day, the temperature plunges and we are back in February again. It even snowed on Monday of the third week of April. This up and down weather combined with cold rains has the spring fishing season behind by a few weeks. The spawning runs of white bass into the headwaters of reservoirs...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Kentucky announces updated 2018 fishing regulations effective March 1

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward A reduction in the statewide daily creel limit from 30 fish to 20 fish for crappie highlights the new fishing regulations for 2018. The regulations go into effect March 1. “Anglers requested this regulation,” said Ron Brooks, director of Fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The amount of hours spent crappie fishing and the...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Tail waters of Lake Cumberland offer excellent winter fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Consistency is a trait all anglers love in a body of water. Most lakes and rivers in Kentucky go through seasonal temperature swings that make fishing tough during the hottest and coldest months of the year. The Cumberland River below Lake Cumberland fishes as consistently as any body of water in Kentucky. The water temperatures of the Cumberland River at Burkesville...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Conditions are ideal across the state for opening of waterfowl seasons

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The outlook for the upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons looks as promising as any seasons in recent memory. “It is shaping up to be a phenomenal year,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We are still at all-time highs for duck numbers with as many breeding ducks as we’ve ever had. It’s...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Take advantage of falling temperatures to find fall spots to bank fish for bass

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The length of day relative to the time of year never changes. As the nights lengthen slightly with each passing day in fall, the overnight temperatures drop and pull heat from the top layers of lakes. This development is already underway, but will peak over the next month and make excellent fishing conditions for black bass. “The cooler, oxygenated water in...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Signs are positive for a better state dove hunting season this fall

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The morning fog we’ve seen a few times lately portends that fall hunting seasons are right around the corner. For many Kentuckians, the best time of year begins on Sept. 1, the traditional opener for dove season. Dove hunting is a social event as old friends reunite while standing on the edge of a field, telling stories and keeping their eyes peeled for incoming...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Wade the Cumberland tailwater if you want to beat the summer heat

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The dog days of late summer slow everything down. The heat and humidity along with the long days make outside work sweaty and arduous. Fishing slows during the dog days as well. Catching game fish from a lake or stream during a 90-degree plus day provides a challenge that anglers often fail to conquer. Wading the cold waters of the Cumberland River below Lake Cumberland...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Use the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website to find a great place to fish

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Two employees of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recently used the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov to glean information on catching saugeye. They used the 5-foot contour maps on the “Find a Place to Fish” to study the bottom of Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County and determine a place to fish. They later fished those areas and caught...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Like the summer temps, Lake Cumberland striped bass are heating up

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Few things in the outdoors in Kentucky can top being on Lake Cumberland at daybreak on a summer morning, watching a planer board or large bobber disappear, followed by the sound of a slipping drag. Striped bass pull like no other fish in Kentucky and landing a 22-inch or longer keeper brings a rush of adrenaline that gives you the shakes. Now in the fourth year...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: A few tips on how to choose the best kayak for flat water fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward A car, truck or sport utility vehicle with a couple of kayaks on the roof with fishing poles visible through the back window is an increasingly common sight on Kentucky highways. Sales data shows kayak fishing and related kayak accessories increasing in popularity. Some of this popularity has to do with many baby boomers reaching retirement age and wanting a new...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Here are two excellent options for combating early summer fishing blues

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the ninth and final installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). June is one of the best months for outside activities such as fishing. However, many predator species,...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Two good state resort parks for early summer largemouth bass fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the eighth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The months of May and June make for two of the best for catching largemouth...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Late spring great time of year to take the kids fishing for some bluegill

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the seventh installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). It is Kentucky Derby week, a fantastic time of year. Summer is around...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: What is old becomes new again — swimbaits will fool that trophy fish

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the sixth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Anglers with a bit of salt in their hair remember fondly the venerable...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Weather is just one of three things to consider for spring fishing

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the fifth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The weather forecast calls for a redbud winter to hit this week. This...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Forget the Final Four, early April is the time to hook trophy largemouth bass

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (Note: This is the fourth installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). Now that the Kentucky-based teams are no longer in the NCAA basketball...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Ahead of schedule, white bass spawning runs just around the corner

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward This is the second installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). February days in the 60s make for crowded boat ramps and golf courses...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Up and Coming Fisheries a savory menu of potential fishing trips

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward (This is the first installment of the “Spring Fishing Fever” series of articles, detailing productive fishing techniques and opportunities across Kentucky. The series will continue until early summer. An archive of past articles is available on the department’s website at www.fw.ky.gov). The Fisheries Division’s Fishing Forecast each year presents its “Up...