Outdoors Newsletter
July 24, 2014

Kayak fishing tournament to be held at Tuttle Creek State Park

A Wamego fisherman is holding the Kaw Valley Kayak Classic at the River Pond at Tuttle Creek State Park on Aug. 2.

Kevin Slifer, 26, has been angling from a specially designed fishing kayak for about three years, and has caught Kansas fish up to around 20 pounds. He just placed third in a kayak tournament series with about 150 participants.

Slifer said the tournament below the dam at Tuttle Creek will be for saugeye, a species he catches often from his kayak. He also said it is the first kayak fishing tournament he knows of in Kansas.

Look for more details on Sunday’s Outdoors page in The Eagle and at kansas.com/outdoors.


Warmer weather seems to be improving fishing on most area lakes. Some of the best reports have been from El Dorado Reservoir where anglers have been catching lots of nice wipers drifting with white perch. Remember, all white perch caught by anglers must be killed immediately, rather kept or not. Some anglers pull a gill, which is eventually fatal, and keep the white perch on ice to later use them for bait. A bit of worm on a small hook, fished near the bottom, at El Dorado normally produces plenty of white perch for bait.

Wednesday evening El Dorado guide Shane Eustice and a friend caught limits of two wipers each over 21 inches, plus a 27-inch walleye. They were fishing vertically with heavy spoons that imitate dying baitfish. They also caught, and released, a stunning 19-inch smallmouth bass, too.

Some friends have had some good days trolling at Cheney Reservoir, too. Most of the wipers are just below the lake’s 21-inch minimum length limit but there have been some keepers. It’s the same for walleye. Vertical fishing has been producing some good catches of white perch and white bass.

Antler growth appears to be pretty good on this summer’s crop of whitetail and mule deer bucks, probably because of all the rain and plenty of lush food supplies. One eastern Kansas landowner, an avid trophy hunter who manages his lands more for wildlife than crops, said it may be the most mature bucks he’s seen. Hard to believe the youth deer season is only about five weeks away. Wow.


Saturday’s front page should have my fourth of six monthly articles featuring a state park in Kansas. This month’s article and photos are on Tuttle Creek State Park, with the main focus being the variety of waters available in that area for kayaking and canoeing. There are two options available in that area for those who want to rent kayaks or canoes, such rental options are a rarity in Kansas, unfortunately.

As already mentioned, Sunday’s Outdoors page will be dedicated to kayak fishing in Kansas. It’s pretty amazing the kind of equipment and gear Slifer has on his kayak. The boat has plenty of storage, rod holders and foot pedals so he can troll or hold his position while casting on windy days.

Down the road I’ll have an article on the Aug. 8-10 Midwest Huntfest here in Wichita. This the event’s third year and it appears to be expanding nicely. I’m also planning a feature on the lack of qualified candidates to become game wardens in Kansas, and exactly what it takes to qualify for one of the jobs. The article will also tell how Kansas game wardens are taking to social media to get a better relationship with the general public.


I’ll be celebrating Father’s Day again a bit late on Sunday. We’re heading up to Jerrod’s in Overland Park and he’ll be smoking a shoulder and loin from one of feral pig sows he bow-killed about a month ago in Oklahoma. It will be good, no doubt.

Well, I survived a long weekend in Los Angeles and Los Angeles survived having me around, too. Actually the only hectic part was at the airport. Other than that, it was a great, relaxing trip.

I was out there to see Lindsey, and celebrate a late Father’s Day with her, too. On the second day I got to meet her boyfriend, Lance, and we all went out and had some amazing sushi. It’s strange, but I’m a wimp with chili peppers but I can’t seem to get enough wasabi.

Sunday afternoon I tagged along as they rock climbed near a great beach in Malibu. I’d estimate the cliff was every bit of 100 feet tall. Lance attached their rope atop the cliff, with two back-up anchors, and then he and Lindsey rappelled down the rock. I headed over to the base of the cliff, and then watched them scale a rock face that sure looked unclimbable to me.

Even though they were connected to the rope for safety, it was still a bit tough to watch Lindsey head up those heights. I so remember when she was taking her first wobbly steps, and I also remember after very few of those wobbly steps she started running and she hasn’t slowed down much, yet. She’s 30, though, and really loves Southern California because of the warmth, mountains and beaches. Even before she ever saw her first beach as a small child, she’s shown an interest in spending time near an ocean.

I feel better about her climbing because Lance seems to be a stickler for safety details. Sunday evening he cooked probably the best seafood dinner I’ve ever had with copious amounts of huge shrimp, mussels, oysters and Alaskan king crab legs. It’ll take several trips to the gym to work that meal off.

Of course one of the main highlights of the trip was getting to spend a lot of time with Lindsey’s dog, Lady Bird. She’s the Australian Shepherd Lindsey adopted from a rescue facility in Texas, when she lived there.

Lady bird is, well, special. She’s unusually calm for a herding dog, extremely affectionate, clean and gorgeous. Even with all of that, she seems to draw positive attention more than any other dog I’ve ever been around. It’s honestly hard to go for a walk with the dog because people keep stopping to pet and talk about the dog.

As we were leaving the rock climbing spot, we walked across a beach where a wedding was just ending. Pictures were being taken and people were standing around talking. Lady Bird trotted over like she had an invitation and was immediately just part of the group, getting petted and talked to by at least a dozen different people. Mostly black and white, she even looked like she arrived in a tuxedo.

She has that way of winning people over instantly. I wish I got to see her more. Oh, and Lindsey, too.


Michael Pearce