Michael Pearce

Colorado expert to talk trout at Great Plains Nature Center

Landon Mayer, a Colorado fly-fishing guide known for his ability to get clients on to large trout, will speak and give demonstrations at the annual winter program for the Flatland Fly Fishers at the Great Plains Nature Center on Saturday.

During the program scheduled to run 8:30 a.m. until mid-afternoon, Mayer will give presentations on best times and techniques for fly fishing for trout in Colorado. He will also give fly-tying demonstrations and have a question and answer segment.

Mayer will be signing copies of his book Colorado’s Best Fly Fishing: Flies, Access and Guides advice for the state’s premier rivers.

Admission cost is $25. The event is open to the public, and club member ships is not required.

The Flatland Fly Fishers is a Wichita-based group of fly-fishermen, and women, who meet regularly and host club trips from the Ozarks to the Rockies. The group also specializes in working with beginners, offering fly-casting and fly-tying clinics, as well as local trips to help show how to catch fish, often lots of fish, on flies in Kansas.

The club also assists in youth fishing events, including the Wichita Eagle’s Kids Fishing Clinic, held every June within the Great Plains Nature Center’s annual Walk with Wildlife.

Other updates

Things continue to take some possibly alarming twists concerning the Kansas outdoors in the Kansas legislature. As well as a bill that would charge anglers and state park users an extra $10, a bill has been introduced that would basically take power away from the state as per the Kansas endangered and threatened species acts in Kansas.

I will have coverage of it next week, so check on kansas.com/outdoors.

Things ended pretty well for most who went out for the close of duck, pheasant and quail seasons last weekend. Monday I got a nice email from a Flint Hills’ rancher who called the hunting “good, but not great….we averaged about one covey per hour.” The same hunter said he’d about given up ever getting decent quail hunting on his ranch near Moline. In fact, he hadn’t shot a bird for more than 10 years and hadn’t gotten a dog to replace the pointer that died about then. He was enthused that he’d gotten a pup he’d purchased last summer into enough quail that it pointed several coveys on Sunday and made some nice retrieves in heavy cover.

Duck success was spotty, but I’ve talked with several groups that had good hunts on ducks that were probably migrating northward. You can read about our closing hunt under “Michael’s world.”

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s Outdoors page is the annual fishing forecast for the three major reservoirs within an hour of Wichita – Cheney, El Dorado and Marion. All three have some pretty good news, especially for those who like catching nice walleye and wipers.

When you read the story, pay attention to some length limit changes for blue catfish at El Dorado. This year anglers will be able to keep some fish with a slot limit that still protects 25-35-inch blues.

Down the road, I’m hoping to have an Outdoors page dedicated to a couple of local sportsmen who’ve taken their love of the outdoors and turned it into some successful businesses. One markets garments. The other sells specialized equipment.

On Sunday, Feb. 21, we’ll have the winners of our annual Great Outdoors Photo Contest. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12.

Michael’s world

The seasons ended pretty well for me. Last Thursday, as I blogged, I had a fun pheasant hunt in Wichita County, taking a limit of four roosters in a little less than an hour. It was just Cade, our Lab pup, and me in about 120 acres of tall grass. For some reason things really kicked in for the dog and he hunted like a four-year-old with a lot of experience. He worked up all four roosters and found two I may not have recovered without him.

On Friday I was in southwest Kansas for the article on Ed Anderson, of Rolla, and his love of hunting scaled quail. I spent most of the day taking photos but did manage to shoot a few scaled quail, bobwhites and a rooster pheasant. It’s a pretty good day when you can take three different species of upland birds on one hunt.

I have a habit of ending a good hunting or fishing trip saying something like “…that was the best (whatever) of the year.” Well, I’m pretty sure Sunday’s last morning duck hunt with three friends, and Cade, really was.

For about seven years we’d hunted the big, private marsh with other friends, sitting in a pit blind on a raised island. We usually shot ducks, and quite often limits of ducks, but it was usually more a case of pass-shooting as the birds flew by, headed for more secluded parts of the marsh.

Sunday morning, Andy Fanter, Justin Bremer and Brandon Engelland and I got to the marsh about 90 minutes before legal shooting time and put out a nice spread of decoys in some shallows sheltered from the north wind. It’s where Justin had seen the birds loafing under such conditions many times.

We hid in layout blinds we covered in grass to match the tall CRP like vegetation that grew to the edge of the marsh. We shot limits of six ducks each by 9:20 that morning, but the great part was how well the mallards and pintails decoyed right down into the spread.

Many times we looked up and saw little specks way up in the sky falling towards the marsh. As they neared we would see they were ducks with their wings upped.

We shot most of the birds a few yards over the decoys, at 20 yards or less. We kept Cade busy, but only two or three of the retrieves were out past the edge of the decoys.

The last duck of our season was a stunning drake pintail with tailfeathers as long as a stick of black licorice. We let Justin shoot the bird, since he’d put a lot of time into managing the marsh.

From the way things look this morning, we won’t be closing the goose season, which ends Feb. 14, with nearly as much action. Monday I had huge flocks of geese all over the fields and ponds I hunt around Newton and El Dorado. By Tuesday afternoon, 90 percent of those geese were gone.

There’s always a chance they may come back or migrating geese may take their place. No matter, it’s been one of the best bird hunting seasons of my life.

(See, there I go again...)


Michael Pearce