Monday, March 30, 2009

Menendez wins Elite Series event

Congrats are in order for Kentuckian Mark Menendez. The Paducah native used an aluminum boat to access a shallow backwater area on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle and bagged 55 pounds seven ounces over three days. That was good enough to capture the Bassmaster Elite Series Diamond Drive and earned Menendez $100,000 and valuable points toward qualifying for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.

Kevin VanDam made a charge and finished second and took over the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year lead.

You can read more about the tournament at

You can also watch Menendez’ victory Saturday April 4th at 9 a.m. on ESPN2.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cumberland bass future looking bright

I recently completed an article on the effects of the lake drawdown on Lake Cumberland’s bass population and while researching the article discovered that there is plenty of good news for Kentucky bass anglers.

For those who were not aware, in 2007 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lowered the lake level to 680 feet above sea level while repairs are being performed on Wolf Creek Dam. The project is expected to take a few years to complete and has worried the tourism businesses that surround the lake.

In talking to John D. Williams, fisheries biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, I learned that the bass populations are doing well and the future look bright.

Williams told me there was a very good spawn in 2008 and populations of all three species of bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spots) are thriving. He expects the fishing to only improve in the next few years and that when the water level is eventually brought back to normal, there will be lots of new cover for the fish.

You can catch the entire article in the May issue of Midwest Outdoors.

News from KDFWR

We have a little news concerning the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).

First, congrats are in order after the KDFWR received the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Award from Quail Unlimited (QU).

"We are humbled and honored by the recognition that this award brings to our Commonwealth,” Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett said in a press release. “It reinforces and strengthens our mission to restore the northern bobwhite to the numbers enjoyed by our parents and grandparents."

QU cited numerous reasons for the award. Since the launch of the department’s private lands program two decades ago, biologists have helped more than 11,000 landowners and managers improve their property for wildlife. During that time, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has restored more than 163,500 acres of quail habitat in the state through federal farm bill programs alone.

Also from the KDFWR, they are holding an archery event at the Salato Center on Saturday April 4th from 11 a.m. to3 p.m.

The event is open to the public and there is no cost. If you are a beginner wanting to learn how to shoot a bow or a veteran who just wants to get in a little practice, it should be a good time by all.

The event could be cancelled by bad weather. If you would like more information you can call KDFWR at 1-800-858-1549 or check out

Farm pond fishing

On Monday I decided to get out from the computer, take a break and go hit a local pond. This particular pond is about 4-acres and sits in a bowl surrounded on three sides by woods. The farm is a 250-acre working cattle farm that also harbors a good population of whitetail deer.

The property belongs to a friend’s uncle and I don’t fish it without him, so when the invitation came I jumped. We proceeded to catch four bass in an hour of fishing from a johnboat. Each of the fish were 15-16-inch fish and were caught slow rolling a spinnerbait parallel to an emerging grass line. These were not vicious strikes, but more lethargic. You were working your lure along and suddenly it would feel heavy and the blade would stop turning. That was the key to set the hook.

We didn't have time to thoroughly fish the pond, but felt good that we did figure out a pattern. All in all a good day, but still waiting for the opportunity to get the boat out and hit one of the bigger lakes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fantasy Fishing

Fantasy Fishing has become very popular recently. Currently both of the major tours, FLW Outdoors and Bassmaster offer fantasy fishing leagues. In these leagues you can compete in private leagues against your friends as well as competing nationwide.

FLW Outdoors pays $100,000 to the winner of the national contest after each tournament. The overall winner of the league will be presented with $1 Million first prize. Last week saw Bruce Curtis, a retired educator from Florida collect the $100,000 first place prize after the Table Rock Lake event.

In the first FLW event, held at Alabama’s bass factory Lake Guntersville, Kentuckian Terry Moberly took the top cash prize. Moberly has a good story about how he got involved. You can read it at the Louisville Courier-Journal web site:

I compete in both the Bassmaster and FLW Leagues. Of course you would think that a professional outdoor writer who makes his living fishing with and writing about the pros would have a decided advantage. This appears to not be the case as I continue to struggle putting together a line up for each tournament.

If you would like to sign up for fantasy fishing with FLW Outdoors you can visit:

To play the Bassmaster version go to:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kentucky's conservation camps

Conservation camp sign ups are now being taken through the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).

KDFWR operates camps at three different locations across the commonwealth and these camps provide an opportunity for youngsters to learn a variety of skills including boating, swimming, fishing and many others.

My wife and I both attended the KDFWR Conservation Camp at Camp Earl Wallace on Lake Cumberland and are two kids followed the same route. The experiences are fantastic and you can make lifelong friends there. Here is the entire press release with information about the camps from KDFWR:

Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources News
Kentucky Afield Outdoors:
Registration underway for conservation camp fun
March 19, 2009 Contact: Lee McClellan FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4443 Frankfort, Ky. – I remember the first time I operated a motor boat. It was at Camp John Currie on Kentucky Lake and I was in sixth grade. One of the counselors took me out on the lake to earn my boating patch.
I was nervous. Being on a bay of Kentucky Lake with a loud motor and driving a boat was a bit intimidating. I didn’t realize at the time that left means right and right means left when turning a boat propelled by a tiller-style outboard. My counselor made me back it down into neutral and start over after I turned the boat the opposite way he instructed.

Soon, I relaxed and my confidence grew as I successfully negotiated turns and crossed a few wakes. I earned my boating patch and bragged to my buddies when I got back to school that I could drive a boat and they couldn’t. I’ve cherished every moment spent on a boat since.

We who love the outdoors lament the slow decline in the number of young people who pursue our ancient arts. More children now live in urban areas with little chance to fish or hunt. They have video games, texting, iPods and soccer. We had bluegills, bass and squirrels.

Sending your child away for a week to one of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ summer camps is a great way to introduce them to the outdoors and help keep these traditions alive. The application period for this year’s summer camps ends April 15.

“Our summer camps provide a fun and affordable place for Kentucky children to learn how to safely enjoy outdoor activities,” said Laura Burford, assistant director of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Information and Education Division. “At camp, they will make new friends and have the chance to try things they may have never done before, such as shooting a bow or a .22 rifle.”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife operates Camp John Currie on Kentucky Lake, Camp Earl Wallace on Lake Cumberland and Camp Robert C. Webb on Grayson Lake. Campers arrive at camp on Monday morning and return home Friday afternoon. Transportation is provided.

“We have more than 4,500 children attend our camps each summer,” Burford said. “Campers earn achievement patches for activities in boating, archery, fishing, casting, swimming, nature and outdoor survival. Those campers who earn all seven patches will be awarded an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman patch. Campers may also earn their boater education and hunter education cards that week.”

Camps cost $215 a week or $200 if you apply for camp online. To apply for summer camp online, go to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s homepage at and click on the “Education and Outdoor Activities” tab and then on the “Conservation Education” tab. Conservation Education Program Leaders for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are visiting schools right now and distributing summer camp applications. You may also call 1-800-858-1549 for more information.

Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

Deer do crazy things

Veteran hunters know that deer do strange things during the “rut” or mating season, especially big bucks with love on their mind. That does not explain the recent rash behavior of a few post-rut whitetails recently.

In Baraboo, WI a whitetail broke into a motel, went for a swim and checked out unscathed on Friday the 13th.

“The front desk called me, and there was only an hour left to Friday the 13th," Manager George Zapuchlak told the Baraboo News Republic. "The phone rings at 10 (minutes) to 12 and I said, 'You've got to be kidding me.' "

Apparently a security officer was on his way to lock up the pool area when he startled four deer. Three of the deer fled to the nearby woods while the fourth busted through a glass door and went for a dip.

A deer in Clarksville, TN was evidently trying his hand at trick or treat when the young buck got his head stuck in a plastic jack o lantern.

We started receiving calls on Monday about this deer, but responding officers couldn’t get close to it,” said Deputy Chief Frankie Gray told the Tennessean. “We were hoping that we wouldn’t have to destroy it.”
Clarksville police officers lassoed the animal and were able to remove the plastic bucket and the deer trotted away unharmed.

My personal favorite is the story of three deer went on a beer run in Pennsylvania.
The deer scampered through an open door at a liquor store, shopped around for a few moments, before scampering out the back door and disappearing. The incident was caught on store security cameras and can be viewed at:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Poaching news of the weird

What is it with poachers? Could it be some genetic deficiency? I don’t have the answers, but some game law violators sure appear to be mental midgets.

In Vermont, 19-year-old Marcel Fournier was charged with illegally taking a doe and checking it in as a buck. It wasn’t his hunting prowess, but his lack of taxidermy skill that landed Fournier in jail for 10 days. The poacher used lag bolts and epoxy to place antlers on the doe and checked her in at the check station.

In my home state of Kentucky, a Morehead resident was charged with 48 counts.

A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) press release states:

“It all started when a conservation officer for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources received a tip about illegal deer kills in Rowan County.

A Rowan County man is free on a $7,500 full cash bond and awaiting arraignment after conservation officers charged him Feb. 20 with a total of 48 counts, including illegally killing deer, cultivating and trafficking in marijuana and drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, pills in improper containers and trapping without a license.

Officers arrested Kevin Watkins, 35, of Morehead at his residence and lodged him in the Rowan County Detention Center. Officers executed a search warrant after Conservation Officer Glenn Kitchen received a tip that Watkins had killed three deer illegally.During the search, Kitchen, joined by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Captain Paul Teague, Sergeant Herb Booth and Conservation Officers Loren Clark and Andrew Black, seized 94 sets of deer antlers, seven marijuana plants, indoor grow lights, a cloning system, 16 bags of processed marijuana totaling nearly 1½ pounds, more than 100 pills in plastic bags, four sets of weighing scales, 19 firearms and $1,251 in cash.

Watkins was scheduled to be arraigned in Rowan District Court March 11 before District Judge Donald Blair.”

Monday, March 16, 2009

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and New York Newsday are all guilty of disturbing headlines in recent weeks.

With Newsday it is literally a headline. The Associated Press released a story concerning Sunday hunting in New Jersey.

The Garden State is one of a handful of states with archaic laws that prohibit or severely restrict hunting on Sunday. A bill is being debated today by New Jersey lawmakers that would allow bowhunting on Sundays. That is good news for hunters in the area; however Newsday decided to run the AP story with the accompanying headline “Deer could soon be slaughtered on Sabbath in NJ.”

Slaughtered? Really? Here is a thought, why not check into how many deer are “Slaughtered” each year in New Jersey by hunters who buy licenses and permits, buy gas for the trucks, buy food, snacks or whatever else they crave while on a hunting trip.

To overturn this law makes sense economically and in my mind, since it is a blue law designed to protect the Christian Sabbath, it would appear to violate separation of church and state.

To read more follow this link:,0,93281.story

PETA continues to amaze, this time causing a spider monkey to lose its mind.

At a recent performance of Liebling Brothers Circus PETA member Jamey Binneveld, was upset about elephant rides being offered.An argument ensued and Reggie the spider monkey went bananas.Reggie broke loose and disappeared into the nearby woods. No word yet on wether Reggie has returned.

Click here for the Orlando Sentinel story:,0,7967840.story

Finally, HSUS is using a gullible celebrity to promote their agenda and it has the potential to promote it to a large audience.

Underwood recorded a cover version of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” that is played as the farewell song on the Fox hit show American Idol each time a contestant is eliminated from the karaoke contest. The song is also being released as a digital single and partial proceeds will benefit HSUS.

Rick Story, vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance said in a statement ;
"Carrie Underwood has decided to use her talents to benefit an organization dedicated to destroying the rights of thousands of her fans, HSUS does not operate or oversee animal shelters; it is a radical organization that seeks to end hunting and other responsible uses of animals in America."
You can read the Los Angeles Times take on this at:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bass and bass tournaments

One of my favorite things in the world is bass fishing and I really enjoy bass tournaments. While not much of a tournament angler myself, I follow the tournament trails, fish with some of the pros (hey it's part of the job) and have written hundreds of articles about bass fishing. The professional circuits are in full swing and this week finds both the FLW and Bassmaster trails competing.

The Bassmaster Elite Series kicked off their first tournament of the year at bass factory Lake Amistad in Texas. A severe cold front moved through the area right before the tournament began and the temperature dropped around 40 degrees overnight. This hampered the anglers who were on bedding fish, but some anglers, Most notably Mike Iaconelli and Gary Klein are fishing more stable fish.

Iaconelli is leading with a 27-pound, 9-ounce limit. His stringer was anchored by big fish of the day, a 12-pound, 13-ounce hawg. To read all of the details check out

Cold weather is also the word at Missouri's Table Rock Lake, where the stars of the FLW Tour are battling. That didn't stop former Kentuckian David Walker from weighing a five fish limit of 26-pounds, 11-ounces.

You can check out the FLW Tour at

Finally, congratulations to the Eastern Kentucky University team of Tyler Moberly and Richard Cobb for winning the College Bass East Super Regional on Clarks Hill Lake in Evans, Ga. The duo outdistanced 38 collegiate teams to take the trophy after several near misses in recent years.

You can read all about it here

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wolves and problems

Wolves out west have been making the news quite a bit in recent weeks. Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove gray wolves from the threatened and endangered species in certain areas of the west.

When wolves were reintroduced out west, there was a lot of controversy among hunters, ranchers and animal rights activist. As numbers have skyrocketed across large parts of the west, discussions have heated up over hunting these anuimals to control the population. Here is a link to an article discussing the decision by Salazar.

In the last few days wolves have been responsible for killing a mountain lion and killing hunting dogs. Here are links to those two news stories

I will not pretend to have all of the answers, but it sure seems that a limited hunting season would help control the population and perhaps put a little fear into wolves before things get severely out of hand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crazy Weather

The weather here in Kentucky is nuts and has been for quite sometime. Today's forceast is calling for a high in the 70's with a possibility of breaking the record for this day of 77 degrees. So what does tommorow have in store? A high of 45 degrees.

Water temperatures on most lakes are climbing, but all of these cold fronts are making the fishing tough. Bass should be moving up shallow soon and the spring turkey season is just around the corner. It is a fun time of the year, but the weather certainly plays a role.