Chris Poore blog

Chris Poore, Stokley’s blog master

This blog started more than 10 years ago when Ralph Stokley and I started talking in earnest about fishing and boats.

I was the editor and owner of The Kentucky Fishing Journal (later to become The Kentucky Outdoor Journal.) Ralph was one of our first advertisers. We talked about fishing, about boats, and about the customers both of us were hoping to reach. We both thought at the time that there was a dearth of good fishing and boating writing in Kentucky.

Flash forward. (The journal closed in 2005.) With print newspapers and magazines cutting back across the country, there is an even greater need for good local information about fishing and boating.

And Ralph and I still have a strong desire to provide that information.

We’re hoping that in the weeks and months to come you’ll find this to be your go-to spot for fishing and boating news in and around Kentucky. On this blog — and on our Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter pages — we’ll provide information that you won’t find anywhere else, and especially not in one place.

Here’s some of what you’ll have to look forward to:

Great fishing stories

We’ll take you virtually to the places you want to visit in person. From creeks to lakes to rivers to ponds, we’ll offer tips and tricks that help you plan and have the fishing trip you’ve been looking forward to. After all, if you can’t be fishing right now, you might as well be reading and learning about it.

Ralph Stokely showing file

Ralph Stokley, Owner of Stokley’s Marine

Lots of boating tips

Stokley’s takes care of boats every day. Water pumps. Fuel lines. Oil tanks. You name it. Their folks do it better than just about anybody locally because they’ve done it forever. They have a lot of great tips to share; they just need a venue in which to share them. This blog will be a place for that, starting with a post this month on winterizing your boat. Tune back in often for tips.

Fishing reports

We’ll be gathering fishing reports from around the state to give you some idea of what you’ll be facing when you head out to the lake. We know, those reports are old the day you get them. But we think there’s a lot of value in hearing what people are using and where they’re fishing. These tips will offer a good place to start when you hit the lake.

How-to videos

Stokley’s has already published a few videos. We hope to publish a lot more. We want to offer step-by-step guides for some of your routine boat maintenance.

A reader’s digest of fishing and boating publications

There are still some folks out there writing and reporting on Kentucky fishing and boating. There’s also a good bit of information coming out of marinas, from Kentucky Afield TV and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, as well as a number of other venues. We’ll compile a running digest of those for you so you can come here and get your fill all in one spot.

An entertainment reporter and good friend once asked me back in my magazine days what I would do if I ran out of fishing story ideas. I was actually startled at the question and laughed without realizing it. The thought had never occurred to me.

How could you ever run out of ideas — or enthusiasm — for fishing and boating?

I was reminded of this at Stokley’s the other day. Ralph gave my boat a once over and decided he wanted to change the water pump. (I’m not the best boat owner, but I’m working on it.)

As my pump was being changed, Ralph started talking about smallmouth fishing on Lake Cumberland. He’s been honing his skills lately and having some success. He was excited to get back and try for even better fish.

Stokley’s is a busy place. They can almost never catch up with repairs and sales and helping customers. But Ralph’s fishing stories reminded me of that day in 2004 and those conversations we had about fishing and boating. We’re both a little older now, but as Ralph grabbed a Diet Mountain Dew the other day he seemed as excited as ever to share some of his recent successes.

I love stuff like that. They call fishing and boating leisure activities, but they feel essential to me.

So do the stories. Those moments in all of our busy lives when we stop to talk about the fish we caught, the ones that got away, or the day on the water with a buddy or a son or daughter.

I can’t get enough of those stories, and we’re hoping you can’t either.

I hope you’ll come back here often and share them with us.

—Chris Poore

Chris Poore is the former owner and editor of the Kentucky Outdoor Journal and a former reporter and editor at the the Lexington Herald-Leader. Check this blog and Stokley’s Facebook page often for updates and news.

Tim Farmer

Tim Farmer, the award-winning TV host of one of the popular outdoor show Kentucky Afield TV, announced on the show’s Facebook page today that he is retiring from the show. Farmer, who has hosted the show since 1994, is planning to continue his two other shows, Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen and Tim Farmer’s Homemade Jam,, a music show. Farmer’s easy-going […]

black crappie

There are lots of fish to catch in fall in Kentucky. Right now is a decent time to catch black crappie up tight to cover at Kentuckiy/Barkley, according to Paul Rister, western fisheries district biologist., pictured above. Photo: Kentucky Afield Early and mid-November Kentucky Lakes and streams fishing reports Rob Rold, northwestern fisheries district biologist: Rough […]

Fly and rind combo

The swim jig and the swimming retrieve are now mainstays for trophy largemouth from heavy cover or weeds. They also shine for catching suspended largemouth bass in clear lakes. Anglers fishing the world class smallmouth reservoirs in Kentucky and Tennessee fished a swim jig for decades, but they called it the fly and rind. A […]


Art Lander Jr, a veteran Kentucky outdoor journalist and former Kentucky Fish and Wildlife writer, offers some tips on catching fish in late autumn and early winter. Among them: finding fish congregating below dams, and look for catfish lingering just above the edges of creek and river channels. READ MORE

Kevin Van Dam fishing

There’s not as much outdoor writing as there used to be. So it’s altogether pleasant to run into a story like this one about Kevin VanDam’s choices in charitable giving. This story is a great read and great look into how one of the legendary angler’s of our time has decided to give back. READ MORE

winterize your boat

(In the picture: Ben at Stokleys works to winterize an outboard motor this week) By Chris Poore We call boat care this time of year “winterization” because there are a few vital pre-winter steps to protect your boat from cold temperatures. But there’s a simpler term: routine maintenance. “There are a few things we have […]

Kentucky Lakes Fishing Report

Editors note: Lots of great fishing reports or the end of October. Fall fishing seems to be ON! Dave Stewart offers lots of great tips for Kentucky Lake. Also look below for reports on Rough River Lake, Nolin River Lake, Lake Cumberland, Cumberland River, Hatchery Creek on the Cumberland RIver, Cave Run Lake, Licking, North […]

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Fisheries division workers will draw down Lincoln County’s Cedar Creek Lake 5 to 7 feet in early November to improve fishing in the 784-acre lake. “We want to knock back some of the vegetation and get the sunfish out of the cover and into the mouths of bass,” said John Williams, Southeastern Fisheries District biologist […]

This blog officially launches today. But in reality it started more than 10 years ago when Ralph Stokley and I started talking in earnest about fishing and boats. I was the editor and owner of The Kentucky Fishing Journal (later to become The Kentucky Outdoor Journal.) Ralph was one of our first advertisers. We talked […]