Stocking Day

It was stocking day on a small stream I occasionally fish. I usually avoid stocking day but I was in the neighborhood and stopped by. IMG_2499

I arrived around mid afternoon and the stocking truck had come and gone, leaving behind – according to the state game agency website – “1,000, 9 to 11 inch rainbow trout.”

I knew this because seven cars had crowded the small parking area and a couple more had squeezed onto a gravel bar flanking the small stream.

The highway bridge serves as the stocking site. On stocking day this is where you’ll find the fish and the fishermen. The trout that survive the stocking day angling onslaught eventually disperse and a couple of miles of the spring-fed creek, which winds through the heart of largemouth bass country, holds trout year round and is a surprisingly good fishery.

IMG_2501I walked toward the bridge. The creek became dark with trout, which were crowded into the deeper water that pools against the far bank. A guy dressed in tan shorts and a golf shirt, fly vest, wide-brimmed hat and oversized net was casting a chunk of shrimp into the pod of trout. He hooked three and landed one, adding it to the four he had clipped onto a metal stringer. Three other fishermen stood shoulder to shoulder. An older man was sitting on a step stool he’s positioned under the bridge. Two guys were on the downstream side of the stocking site but all were within casting distance of each other.

I walked back to the parking area. Two more cars had arrived. A red Jeep pulled in and parked beside me.

“Do any good?” the driver asked.

“Not fishing today.”

“They dump some fish?”

“I think so.”

“Good.”

 

KDFWR Commission Set to Hire Agency Director

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ www.fw.ky.gov nine-member commission has called a special meeting for Friday morning at the Game Farm headquarters. The board is expected to vote on hiring a commissioner. The meeting will begin at 8:30.

Commission members are appointed by the governor to four-year appointments. The nine member commission hires the agency commissioner, who essentially serves as the agency’s executive director overseeing day-to-day operations of the department. The commissioner’s job has been vacant since September, when then commissioner Jon Gassett resigned while the game and fish agency was under investigation by the office of the Office of Inspector General.

When the OIG report was released in December it found a raft of serious violations against several high-ranking agency officials.

KDFWR Elk Hunt Application Deadline April 30

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will dole out 1,000 elk tags for the 2014 season. It’s a quota draw. To get your name in the pot, apply by midnight (Eastern time) April 30.

Costs $10 to apply. The drawing will be next week.  

Apply on line at www.fw.ky.gov

Kentucky is home to the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi; about 10,000 animals. 

Kentucky Trout Stocking Time

Attention Kentuckians and anyone wise enough to fish in the Bluegrass State: Weary of winter and anxious to fish? The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources www.fw.ky.gov is pumping trout into areas waters. Get out and catch some.

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Jefferson County waters Miles Park Lakes 3 and 4, Green Heron, Angler and Fisherman’s Park Lakes 3 and 4 along with Meade County’s Otter Creek and others were stocked Thursday, Feb. 20. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Jefferson County’s Tom Wallace, Waverly, Watterson and Cherokee Park lakes are scheduled to receive 1,250, 1,250, 750 and 750 trout each.

Other Kentucky counties getting trout include Boyle, Anderson, Franklin, Fayette, Jessamine, Warren, Marshall, McCracken, Hopkins, Union, Henderson, Harlan, Lincoln, Mercer, Knox, Bell, Marion, Nelson, Madison, Montgomery, Scott, Grayson, Daviess, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Boone.

Stockings across the state are scheduled through Wednesday of next week. Click on the agency’s website for details.

Kentucky’s sport license year begins March 1. You will need a 2014-15 fishing license and a trout stamp to keep trout.

Cabela’s Kentucky Opening April 11

I got an early walk through of Cabela’s www.cabelas.com new Louisville, Ky., retail store, which is scheduled to open April 11. This will be the first Cabela’s store in Kentucky.

The 88,000 square foot store (about 100,000 if you count the boat area – still being outfitted) has everything you’d expect: fishing, shooting, archery, camping, fly shop, clothing, etc. The selection of hand and long guns in the firearm department was especially impressive.

Colt Dragoon from Cabela's Gun Library (Louisville, Ky. store)

A favorite for me was the gun library, where department manager Taylor Lee will oversee an impressive array of vintage firearms (all of which will be for sale). I particularly enjoyed seeing a Colt Dragoon, a rare Civil War era .44 caliber cap and ball revolver from the mid 1800s. I have fired reproductions but had never handled an original . . . a genuine piece of American history.

The store is located in Brownsboro Crossing, near the I-265 and I-71 interchange.

Carp Madness Wrap-up

Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources www.fw.ky.gov, didn’t get the 100 tons of Asian carp he wanted from Tuesday and Wednesday’s department sponsored “Carp Madness” commercial carp tournament on Kentucky’s Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.

IMG_6179 But he got everything else.

Mainly Brooks (pictured) got media attention to focus on the damage Asian carp can pose to a sport fishery and he made some inroads in demonstrating that commercial markets for Asian carp can and do exist for the fish.

Twenty-one commercial fishermen had signed up for the event but only 15 teams fished. Barry Mann walked away the $10,000 first place check by delivering a two-day weight of 28,669 pounds of carp. Heath Frailley was second with 22,005 pounds. That earned him $4,000.

IMG_6261They were astounding weights, given the less-than-ideal weather conditions. Temperatures barely touched the 40s and a stiff north/northwest wind kept fishermen off the main lakes, limiting anglers to bays and shore areas that afforded some wind protection.

The total tournament weight was 82,953 pounds, or about 41 1/2 tons.

After being weighed on a commercial scale (pictured) the carp were loaded into trailers and iced to be shipped to processors in Illinois and Mississippi.

One other thing came to light during the two days of Carp Madness: Commercial fishermen are some of the hardest working guys on the planet.

 

Kentucky Lawmaker Introduces “Freedom to Fish” Act

Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has introduced a “Freedom to Fish” act, that would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from blocking boating access below dams that the federal agency owns.

The congressman’s action stems from boiling public outrage over a plan introduced in December by the Corps’ Nashville District that would block boating access below 10 dams on the Cumberland River system, including four in Kentucky and six in Tennessee.

Nashville District commander Lt. Col. James DeLapp rolled out his plan to nearly unanimous criticism, including staunch opposition from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources www.fw.ky.gov and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency www.tnwildlife.org.

Whitfield’s legislative action follows a pledge last week by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) when the veteran lawmaker said he planned to introduce legislation that would require the Corps to conduct an Environmental Impact Review before it could proceed with its plan.

DeLapp has said the restrictions are needed to 1) ensure public safety, and 2) bring their district in to full compliance with current regulations.