Curtis Clay

Curtis Clay shows a nice string of sauger and walleye that he and Todd Logsdon pulled from the Cumberland River Monday.

Sauger are running in the Cumberland River and some local folks are taking full advantage of the once-a-year opportunity.

As the sauger (first cousin to the walleye) head upstream to spawn, they are voracious and Todd Logsdon and his father Bill, as well as some lucky friends, have been wearing them out.

Bill and Todd invited me to tag along one evening last week and we had a tremendous trip. The limit on sauger is six and the three of us were only two short of a triple limit. Todd had been a few nights before with a friend J.R. Dakin and they had limited. They have been back since and continue to have great catches, topped by a great string Monday night along with Curtis Clay.

Sauger is one of the best tasting fresh water varieties going, comparable to the heralded walleye.

A minnow-tipped jig is the best bet. Sauger tend to hold in the deep holes in the river and catches have been reported from the Turkey Neck Bend area all the way to the dam. You may be lucky enough to hook into a walleye or a big brown trout as well as a rainbow.

One caveat: It’s been really cold on the river, so dress appropriately.I found that out the hard way. Also make sure your boat and motor are in good shape. A misstep on the river could end you up in Tennessee or worse.

I can now add sauger to the list of firsts for me. Actually, I had caught one years ago by accident in front of the dam on Kentucky Lake but I was really trying for a big cat.

In writing recently about Bill Logsdon’s crappie trip to Lake Weiss in Alabama, I told you that he had once fished on the pro bass circuit but loves to fish for all species. I found out last week he’s equally good on sauger. And Todd is as good or better. Visit them at their shop and they’ll show you the best baits to try.

Ever wonder where those bluegill-catching crickets come from? You’ll find out about one source this weekend if you tune into Kentucky Afield on KET.

Host Tim Farmer’s cousin Barry Farmer raises crickets to sell to bait shops and his operation which currently involves 7 million of the little critters, continues to grow. Tim will also have segments on habitat for small game like rabbits and on bow hunting for pheasants in Henry County.

Kentucky Afields airs on KET Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and repeats on Sunday at 3 p.m.

This week from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife we hear about an upcoming event especially for women.

Women who like the outdoors and need an enjoyable and refreshing weekend away should consider coming to the “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” workshop, at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Feb. 22-24..

These unique workshops are in conjunction with the Kentucky Department of Parks. The weekend program will offer women 18 and older a chance to learn a variety of outdoor skills amidst the backdrop of the world-famous moonbow at Cumberland Falls near Corbin, Kentucky.

This workshop will feature a guided tour around the falls, along with a night hike to observe the moonbow. Participants will have their choice of numerous hands-on classes, including the basics of fishing, archery, firearms use, hiking, camping, wildlife and plant identification, and hunting. Classes are presented in a non-threatening and relaxed atmosphere targeted to beginners.

Pre-registration is required and is now underway through Feb. 14. The workshop fee of $175 includes six meals and lodging for two nights, general sessions and materials and transportation to and from workshop class sites.

You may register with a credit card, or get a form by calling toll-free (800) 858-1549 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time on weekdays. Forms are also on the Internet at fw.ky.gov. The workshop begins with check-in at noon Eastern time on Friday, Feb. 22. It will conclude at noon Sunday, Feb. 24.  

“This partnership between Kentucky State Parks and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife gives women who want to learn about outdoor activities a chance to do that in a setting that’s very hard to find elsewhere,” said Beth Spivey-Minch, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s volunteer coordinator for the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program.

“Our park system in Kentucky has some amazing history, sights and unique opportunities that will be rolled into this jam-packed weekend about wildlife related recreation and the wonders of nature,” said Spivey-Minch. “It’s more than a good value. You’ll come away excited about what you’ve learned, more confident than when you arrived, and new friends to share your interests with, guaranteed.”

“This is where you get your questions answered, get to try what you want to learn to do, and get encouragement from others who want to see you gain new skills and succeed,” she added.

Often women are reluctant to try activities related to the outdoors because they believe that fishing, archery, target shooting or hunting is only for men. Sometimes, women simply don’t get a chance to see what these activities are about in an environment that assists them in learning how things are done. 

BOW workshops are designed for women to “get their feet wet” with professional instruction from a teacher whose goal is to ensure participants have fun and come away with confidence in their new skills.

“There’s no better way to get started in these endeavors than coming to a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop at a Kentucky state park,” said Spivey-Minch. “You make a lot of new friends and realize there are lots of other women out there who enjoy the same kinds of activities. Our classes help reduce the anxiety, and by the end of the workshop, it’s amazing how comfortable our participants become with things they never thought they‚d be able to accomplish.

“I promise you’ll want to show off your new skills when you get home. You’ll be ready to be part of the next family fishing, camping or hunting outing and it will be much more fun because you’ll know more about how to do it,” said Spivey-Minch.

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