The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More

Thursday, March 27, 2014


It's a little-known fact, I'm not much of a fan of winter.  Actually, my coworkers and friends know my feelings all too well.  I even wrote a poem called "I Hate Winter."  But for accuracy-sake I usually only recite it during bitter cold conditions.  Extended periods of single digits make me grumpy...and cold.

Don't get me wrong, many of the things I truly enjoy happen during the winter.  I love waterfowl hunting and trapping gets good when conditions chill out.  And some of the best crappie fishing of the year occurs in December and January and I'm game for that, too.

This winter was particularly troublesome for me, as it was a realistic Kansas winter for a change.  It was cold and snowy, off and on for a couple months.  While some are fans of ice fishing, I did my share back when and don't enjoy fishing through an 8-inch hole much anymore.  That's what they make boats for but it's hard to do when it kept freezing and thawing.  That's normal Kansas, though, and we've been spoiled the last few winters.

But long last I think spring is here.  It was only a few weeks ago and we were still breaking ice on early morning boat fishing expeditions.  I'm glad when ice leaves for good.  My favorite ice serves solely to keep a drink cold.  Good riddance. 

Late February and March can still find crappie, wipers, white bass, walleye and saugeye still roaming their winter haunts.  It's been good at times, too, in the last couple weeks.  Provided the wind isn't blowing 40 m.p.h. it's worth a shot. 

If crappie break up and bug out of their big winter schools look for them in brush piles or on the edges of river or creek channels.  Numbers of fish are often easy to come by, size is another matter depending on the body of water being fished.  Fish can be found from 10 to 25 feet of water.

And it's not uncommon to catch white bass or wipers in these same areas.  Oftentimes you'll catch a bunch of one or the other, but seldom both as these fish tend to school up according to their own kind.

Jigs, many anglers choose 1/8-ounce, others 1/4-ounce, fished with a plastic body are good bets.  Most are fished down in the brush or just above it.  If there's no brush, fish near the bottom within a foot of it.  And if that doesn't work, and you can mark fish with your electronics, adjust accordingly.     

There's no guarantee we're done with winter as it could still snow in April.  But here's hoping ol' man winter packed his bags and is gone for good. 

For the absolute latest up-to-date information on quantity and quality of any fish species, check out the 2014 Kansas Fishing Forecast.  Be sure to check out the 2014 Kansas Fishing Regulations as well.  And if you want to get maps of some of the best Kansas fishing waters (both private and public) open to angler access, don't forget the 2014 Kansas Fishing Atlas.  All of this information is available from regional or state park offices of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, or online at     

Good fishing!