Summer months slow in the outdoors

Thursday, July 26, 2018

There's really not a whole lot going on in the outdoors this time of year except for some fishing and squirrel hunting.

Fishing has been pretty slow, except for some catfish being caught.

Cut-bait, small sunfish and stinkbaits are the best producers for catfish, and fishing at the deep-to-shallow transition along the edge of the river channel at either Clearwater or Wappapello lakes in the late evening hours should be productive.

If you do catch a nice catfish, swing it by the Chaonia Landing store, where owner Dallas Rich usually has a big catfish contest there every summer.

Crappie fishing has been unseasonably slow, and according to Charlie Brotherton, there haven't been many anglers on Wappapello Lake lately.

Squirrels seem to be pretty active lately, at least in the last few days since the brutal heat subsided. Interestingly, I've seen more moving in the evenings than early in the mornings.

I generally don't spend much time pursuing squirrels until mid-August, when they can be found feeding heavily in hickory trees. Fortunately, that time is quickly approaching.

Preparing for the upcoming archery deer season also is something you can be doing now, from setting up tree stands and getting gear ready to running trail cameras in your favorite locations. It's also a good idea to get some consistent shooting practice in with your bow so it acts like an extension of your arm once it's time to hunt.

Watching your hunting areas from a distance with optics is a good way to figure out deer movement patterns before the season opens without spreading your scent around. Of course, those patterns will change come October, when acorns start falling, but early scouting can still give the hunter a leg up for an early-season kill.

Sparse Crowd

For whatever reason, only four boats fished last weekend's USA Bassin' tournament on Wappapello Lake.

Doug Warren and Joe Dougherty ended up winning the event with 13.92 pounds, while second place went to Dallas Rich and Devlin Rich with 6.82 pounds.

The Southeastern Ozark Division of USA Bassin' has one more summer tournament scheduled, on Aug. 11.

Team Botsch Wins

Sixteen teams fished last weekend's Wappapello Crappie Club tournament, with Brad and Natasha Botsch topping the field for the win.

The pair had a stringer weight of 5.96 pounds, including the day's big fish, which weighed in at 1.32 pounds.

Second place went to Shelton and Shelton with 5.30 pounds. They also had the second-largest fish of the day, which weighed 1.27 pounds.

Third place was earned by Roper and Stearns with 4.18 pounds, and the final paying position, fourth, was taken by Tropf and Younger with 4.16 pounds.

Bass Circuit

The Wappapello Bass Circuit will host a tournament Saturday, based out of the Redman Creek ramp.

Fishing will begin at 6 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m.

As always, a pre-event meeting to determine boat numbers will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Wappapello VFW, a few miles north of the dam off Highway D.

Justun Buchanan can be contacted for more information at 573-429-6312.

Trap Championship

Poplar Bluff High School's trap team is headed to Sparta, Ill., this weekend for the AIM (Academics, Integrity, Marksmanship) Nationals at the World Shooting Complex.

Incidentally, it's the final event for seniors Hannah Cash, TJ Abney, Hunter Seal and Hunter Turner, and the first shoot for new coach, Mike Miller.

On Sunday, some team members will compete in the doubles and handicap competition on an individual basis. On Monday and Tuesday, the team will compete in the 16-yard (and some 19-yard) individual shoots.

Deadline Approaching

If you haven't yet applied for a managed deer hunt in Missouri and plan to do so, you've only got a few days left to get it done.

To apply, go online to There is a link to the application right on the main page.

Mushroom Programs

For wild mushroom fans, there are a couple a events going on locally this weekend.

The SEMO chapter of the Missouri Mycological Society will host a chanterelle and black trumpet foray and study beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The event will take place at the Missouri National Guard training site at Wappapello. To get there, take County Road 517 south from Highway T.

Those who attend are asked to bring their lunch, a basket and a knife for cutting the mushrooms.

Proper clothing and footwear also are strongly encouraged.

Dawn Lover is the point of contact for the mushroom club and she can be reached at 573-727-6440.

Coincidentally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Wappapello Lake also will be hosting a pair of wild mushroom programs on Saturday, geared toward the beginner.

The programs will begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Bill Emerson Visitor Center and there's no cost to attend.

Banding Event

Don't forget, Saturday morning also is when the Dexter Greenheads chapter of Ducks Unlimited and the Department of Conservation will host the annual dove and duck banding day for children at Otter Slough Conservation Area.

There's no cost for the event, but you'll need to be there early because it starts at Cypress Lake at 7 a.m.

Demonstrations and hands-on learning make it a fun event for the youngsters.

Deadline Extended

If you planned on entering the Mingo Swamp Friends' annual Flora and Fauna Photo Contest, you've now got a little more time to do so.

The original entry deadline of next Wednesday has been extended until Aug. 15, giving you two extra weeks to pick your favorite photographs, have them printed and get them delivered to the refuge.

As a reminder, a listing of the various categories and contest divisions is available online at, as is the official entry form and other rules.

If you still have questions about the contest, call the refuge visitor center at 573-222-3589.

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