Reige: Headin’ for the hills in Kentucky

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When you hear the word “Kentucky” you probably think of Kentucky Derby, mint juleps, coal mines and Daniel Boone.

When Ginny and I hear the word “Kentucky” we think of the old boss gobbler strutting his stuff in our direction. Periodically he would stop and puff himself up and then let all the air out in one rackus gobble.

We think of the hills of Western Kentucky and the rich Cumberland impoundments of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. This area is a sportsman’s paradise teaming with a bonanza of black bass and world-class crappie fishing.

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Bass fishing on Lake Barkley is a winner from the first mild days of early spring well into late autumn. Those inclined might find great catches even in winter. Crappie fishing is legendary during the spring spawning cycle, late March to early May, when big slab crappie move shallow for nesting duties.

For us there aren’t many things we enjoy more than catching crappies in the spring. For us, crappies provide the first open water fishing of the year.

From the first time you cross into Western Kentucky on the free ferry at Cave-In-Rock and travel through the Amish countryside you will be struck by the outstanding craftsman and artisans, making furniture and quilts. Small farms dot the landscape providing excellent habitat for quail, pheasant, deer and turkey. Wood smokers fill the air with smoked meats and fish. Flocks of turkeys can been seen feeding along the edges of fields and in the draws along the creek banks. Contact Michelle Edwards;

WingHaven Lodge (formally known as Tradewater Outfitters) owned and operated by Russell Edwards, wife Michelle, and son Cameron, the family-run lodge all started as a 50-acre getaway for family and friends. Today, WingHaven prides itself on southern hospitality and world class hunting with nearly 5,000 acres of farmland reserved for upland bird, turkey, mallard and deer hunting.

The main guest lodge, which looks out over two stocked ponds, is equipped with six spacious guest rooms and a great room with an assortment of mounted game from hunting expeditions across North America. A stone fireplace casts light on an attractive mahogany bar that boasts over 30 top-shelf bourbons, fine wines and other spirits from around the world. Russell explains, “when folks decide to spend their leisure time with us, we view that as an honor, and we enjoy treating them to a first-class affair. One of the best compliments we’ve received was from a repeat client who told us upon departure that they felt we were part of their family. It’s makes you feel good to know they are happy you were part of their experience.”

With the setting sun and the rising quail, WingHaven Lodge is a gorgeous balance between adventure and pleasure. For many this lodge has been discussed as one of the prestigious hunting lodges and resorts across the United States.

Further west is Eddyville. Eddyville is the home of Eddy Creek Resort and Echo Charlie’s. Eddy Creek Resort/Marina is where the many anglers stay, with accommodations at both cabins and efficiency hotel rooms. Anglers can walk down the hill to their boats and then out of the harbor, to Lake Barkley or Kentucky Lake. Contact Mandy Carney Eddyville has the largest water park in Kentucky, along with being adjacent to the Land Between the Lakes Park. Lake Barkley and Lake Kentucky are very large lakes/river systems and they have an abundance of fishing and recreational activities for the entire family. A number of campsites are located around these lakes. Eddyville has an 18-hole state park golf course with 9 holes on the water and 9 holes inland. It is spectacular, and so besides your shotgun and fishing poles you might want to bring your golf clubs. You can view the federal prison, both on land and water. It sits on some of the most prime real estate on Lake Barkley and it was built in the 1800’s. Locally it is referred to as “The Castle on the Cumberland.”

When we hear the word “Kentucky” we think of fishing and hunting, wood smoked hams, quilts, recreational activities in the outdoors and most importantly we think of new friends and memories. This is why we are headin’ for the hills of Kentucky. Hope to see you there!