Likely state-record trout pulled from Kill Creek Lake

03/07/2014 8:17 AM

03/07/2014 8:17 AM

Josh McCullough knew the Johnson County Park and Recreation District had stocked some big rainbow trout in Kill Creek Lake this year.

But not this big.

Fishing with Berkley Gulp bait on Feb. 23 shortly after the ice had temporarily gone off the lake, he caught a 15.72-pound rainbow — a pending Kansas state record. McCullough had the fish weighed on certified scales at a grocery store and had his catch verified.

Kill Creek Park is just south of DeSoto.

After filing his paperwork for the record, he only has to complete a 30-day mandatory waiting period. If his catch is approved, it will replace the existing mark of 15.43 pounds caught in March 2012 at Lake Shawnee.

“There were rumors going around that they had stocked a few trout up to 12 pounds this year,” McCullough said. “But I didn’t expect anything like this.”

McCullough, who lives in Spring Hill, didn’t have to wait long for the bite that mattered. Just minutes after he had cast his lines out, he watched as his fishing rod slowly bent. Then the line started to slowly move to the side.

“I really thought I had a turtle at first,” said McCullough, 22. “It just wasn’t fighting that hard.

“But then it came to the surface and my heart started racing. I had never seen a trout this big.”

The winter that won’t end

Fishermen at Wyandotte County Lake are beginning to wonder if winter will ever cry “uncle.”

For the second straight week, the season opener at the lake in Kansas City, Kan., has been delayed because of ice. The Unified Government doesn’t allow ice fishing.

The first day of the season is now set for March 15 — provided there is open water.

Conservationists honored

Ted Alexander of Sun City, Kan., was honored as conservationist of the year when the Kansas Wildlife Federation had its annual awards banquet recently.

Alexander was chosen for the work he has done on his 7,000-acre ranch in the Red Hills in southern Kansas, showing that conservation practices can be implemented without sacrificing a profitable cattle operation.

Other who received awards were Rene Gloshen, a teacher at Olathe South High School, conservation educator; Marlene Bosworth, land and soil wildlife conservationist; the Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, conservationist organization; and Logan Fuller, youth conservationist.

Michael and Bunnie Watkins were chosen as wildlife conservationists; Jessica Mounts, water conservationist; Donna Cooper, outdoor skills instructor; Dave Bruton, forest conservationist; Philip Barnes, stream monitor; Glen and Barbara Walker, farmer-rancher wildlife conservationists; and Marci Francisco, legislator conservationist.

Brent Frazee, outdoors editor of The Star, was chosen as the conservation communicator of the year.

It’s time to fish for cats

Area catfishermen will be out in force Sunday when they compete in their first major tournament of the year.

The Catfish Safari Shootout, put on by KC Catfish.com, will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the upper end of Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament will be based at Drake Harbor in Warsaw, Mo.

Entries ($145) will be accepted the day of the tournament, but it will be cash-only.

Get ready for paddlefish

Don’t expect a banner opener March 15 for Missouri’s paddlefish-snagging season.

When the snagging gets under way, the aftereffects of a harsh winter are expected to get the fishing off to a slow start.

“The heavy snowfall and extremely cold weather we experienced in February are still making themselves felt in stream temperatures,” said Trish Yasger a fisheries management biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “A spell of unusually warm, sunny weather could speed things up a little, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen before March 15.”

The peak of the paddlefish spawning migration takes place when the water temperature reaches 50 to 55 degrees and there is an increased water flow.

The water temperatures at Lake of the Ozarks, Truman and Table Rock and their tributaries is still in the upper 30s and low 40s.

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