• OUTDOORS: Free fishing weekend

    If you haven’t been fishing for a while and would like to try it again, or if you’ve never tried it, or want to help someone experience fishing for the first time, this weekend is just for you. It is a free fishing weekend, June 4-5. No license required.

  • OUTDOORS: Worms catch variety of fish

    Most anglers started fishing with live worms before they later tried artificial worms or other baits. And live worms remain a favorite for many. Worms are inexpensive or free, and they catch fish.

    There are many different types of worms. Some work better than others for various species of fish. The availability of the various worms also is a factor.

    Certainly, there are other types of live fishing bait. There are minnows, crawfish, crickets, leaches and more, but worms probably top the list for freshwater anglers.

  • OUTDOORS: Why did the turtle cross the road?

    So, why did the turtle cross the road? No, not the chick — the turtle. What’s the reason for this dangerous trip, one that could leave it splattered in the middle of the highway?

    Last Friday, while driving U.S. 60 and a couple of blacktop back roads, I was happy to see flood waters have receded, and I also counted more than a dozen box turtles making their way across the hot, dangerous road. It is a spring ritual, but why?

  • OUTDOORS: Farm pond fish concerns

    Last week, an interesting e-mail arrived from a reader. He was seeking help related to his small farm pond, usually a good fishing spot for him.

    I used to have a similar pond and it provided many wonderful hours of fishing experiences, even though it was quite a small pond. I was amazed how many fish it produced.

    My mother spent many pleasant days, including Mother’s Days, catching fish from her lawn chair on the dam. Not only did she enjoy the fishing, she loved to watch the red-winged blackbirds and other wildlife using the pond.

  • Fishing tough in high water

    Frankly, the rain and accompanying lousy weather has been pretty depressing for many anglers. Every spring has rain and high water, but this year has led to thoughts of building an ark rather than fishing from one — a boat that is.

  • OUTDOORS: Smallmouth author provides tips

    Whenever anglers gather around the fireplace or are seated at the liar’s table in the local coffee shop, a debate often ensues about which freshwater fish fights the hardest.

    Some anglers will debate ounce for ounce or pound for pound, it is the bluegill, or maybe its cousin, the redear. One guy might even say it is the carp. Yes, the carp, they are real fighters. But you can bet a cup of coffee the smallmouth bass probably will top the list.

  • OUTDOORS: Brujes outlines case for hunting sandhill cranes

    To hunt or not hunt sandhill cranes, that is the question. A proposal to hunt the big birds in Kentucky is before the Department of Fish And Wildlife Resources for consideration.

    Opposition to the proposal has appeared in the past several months. Those who oppose hunting sandhills appear to have several reasons. The controversy may be much like the opposition raised in some states over the years related to dove hunting. It is more based on the heart or general opposition to hunting than wildlife biology.

  • OUTDOORS: Stewart's project races ahead

    Tony Stewart ran out of gas on the final lap of Saturday night’s NASCAR race, and dropped him from third to a 12th-place finish, however a favorite project of his continues racing ahead.

    Stewart owns more than 400 acres near his hometown of Columbus, Ind. It is named Hidden Hollow Ranch and is a place for Tony to get away when he isn’t battling on the NASCAR circuit.

  • OUTDOORS: Morel mushrooms fun to find, good to eat

    It’s morel mushroom time again — a time many people wait for all year.

    Depending on weather, morels usually make their short-lived annual appearance for about three weeks in mid-April into early May.

    Veteran mushroom hunters say a late snow also forecasts more morels, and we meet that qualification this year. Two indicators I have found over the years which are important to morel production are moisture and warm days during the April-May time frame.

  • OUTDOORS: When dogwoods bloom, sucker fishing is tops

    Almost no one sucker fishes anymore. There are some valid reasons, but there also are reasons to give it a try.

    As a kid growing up in Eastern Illinois, there were far fewer fishing opportunities than there are today. Few lakes existed to fish for bass, crappie and bluegill in early spring. Fishing was limited to streams and a few farm ponds, if you were fortunate enough to have access to them.

    However, there are still anglers who look forward to sucker fishing — one of the earliest opportunities as spring arrives.