Michael Pearce

Fly-fishers to host fly-tying workshops

Fly-fishing anglers wanting to learn to tie a certain pattern or fly, improve how they tie an old favorite or just swap fish stories with like-minded angers can attend weekly fly-tying workshops hosted by the Flatland Fly Fishers group.

Members of the group host fly-tying workshops every Friday at the Great Plains Nature Center, from 2:30-5 p.m. Guests need not be club members, but are encouraged to join. Flatland Fly Fishers hosts numerous fly-fishing events annually, take club trips and assist on assorted fishing programs to help more beginners to get into the sport.

Fly-tying anglers are also invited to attended tying workshops held the third Tuesday of every month at Zeiner’s, 737 S. Washington from 7-9 p.m.

More updates

It appears the major snow goose migrations bypassed the Wichita area, and usually good spots like around the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms. Much of this week there were about 1 million snows at Lovewell Reservoir, in north-central Kansas. Some of the larger flocks showed up on weather radar as they came and went from Lovewell.

Other bird migrations seem to be running a bit early this year for many species. I’ve been watching great blue herons adding sticks to nests in a Butler County rookery for at least two weeks.

Wednesday afternoon Jake, my 13-year-old hunting/fishing/birding partner, and I saw three little blue herons on the Walnut River just outside of El Dorado. According to some experts in the Kansas Ornithological Society, that is the earliest in the year the species has been seen in Kansas, and possibly by several weeks. There was no doubt what the birds were, and it was also the first time I’ve seen them on this property and I’ve been out there often over about the past 15 years.

Some people in rural areas are getting a bit concerned about the possibility of grass fires this spring. Last year’s great moisture left a lot of burnable fuel in most areas. A few weeks with no precipitation has that fuel pretty dry, even though sub-soil moisture is looking pretty good.

A good-looking wheat crop could also bode well for pheasant nesting this spring. If the crop ripens ahead of schedule, though, most of the nests placed in the wheat could get destroyed during the wheat harvest.

The warm weather last weekend seemed to scatter fish quite a bit. Most anglers struggled, but one friend caught about 90 nice white bass at Cheney Reservoir.

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s Outdoors page will feature the new sport of high school shotgun teams. Currently 17 Kansas schools have formed such competitive teams, including several in the Wichita area. Another 70 or so have expressed an interest in starting shotgunning teams at other schools. The concept began in Minnesota largely in 2008, and they now have 400 or more schools represented in competitions. So far, Kansas has shown the most growth for an inaugural season.

Sometime next week we’ll run a story I’ll be doing this weekend on a llama event down in the Red Hills, where llama owners test their animals on things including agility and ability to carry packs. It should be interesting, and would danged-sure be in a gorgeous setting.

Further down the road I’m planning on a fishing story at Coffey County Lake (Wolf Creek Nuclear facility) for bass, and another on the growing trend towards managing lands as much for wildlife as crops or cattle.

Michael’s world

The good part of working the Wichita Sports Show last week was that it gave me several mornings and early afternoons at home. The bad part was that I needed every spare hour to get things packed away from nearly six months of hunting seasons. Unfortunately, what Kathy has called “the decoy truck”, a.k.a. the UPS truck, had visited our place several times over those months, and I had a lot more stuff to carry up into the attic over our garage. I survived, after throwing out quite a bit of “might need it someday” gear that had been in that attic for at least 10 years, and never used.

I haven’t fished yet this year, but would like to go fly-fishing if I could find a warm, calm afternoon. I’ve done well in the past hitting the shallows where the sun had been warming the water most of the day, mostly on bass and big bluegill.

Like a lot Jayhawk fans, I’m happy, and surprised, at how well things are looking for the basketball team. A few weeks ago I was one of “the sky is falling,” crowd, figuring there was no way they could win another conference championship. I certainly wasn’t going to call the season a failure, but I just figured the streak was over. If they do continue to win, and get at least a share of their 12th consecutive conference championships, it’ll rate as one of the top sporting accomplishments I’ve witnessed. Seriously, I wonder how many highly-ranked teams they’ve had to beat during that span?

But that’s putting the cart before the horse, for sure. They could go cold and lose the next three, or get knocked out of the NCAA tournament early because a tough-match up and and off day for several key players.

I’ll just keep watching, and enjoying as long as they’re playing. It’ll be the same for Wichita State. For the first time, I’m also taking a real interest in Oklahoma and Buddy Hiedl. As well as just plain enjoyable to watch, he seems like such a nice guy. That he played some basketball in Wichita helps, too.


Michael Pearce