By CRISTINA JANNEY
A crew from the Outdoor Channel will be in Trego County through today filming for "Fishing University."
Hosts Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier will be fishing for bass along with executives from Honda Marine, a program sponsor, on Cedar Bluff Reservoir.
Ingram said they monitor social media for posts about hot fishing spots, and they were seeing good reviews on Cedar Bluff.
The hosts and crew gathered at Shiloh Vineyard south of WaKeeney to meet local officials on Sunday night. They also will visit WaKeneey, as well as speak to youth at Trego Community High School about careers in the outdoors.
The hosts planned to fish about 10 hours on Monday for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in a head-to-head competition. The fishermen will catch and record the length and weight of their fish and then release them back into the lake.
The best five fish the teams catch will determine the winner.
This is the first time either host will be fishing on Cedar Bluff, although the men said they have fished at Wilson Lake and intended to stop there later in the week.
Ingram has more than 40 years as a professional angler. Ray Brazier is a veteran tournament angler with 20 plus years' experience, according to the Outdoor Channel's website. He also gained recognition in the early years as the engineer that could tweak a boat to its fastest speed, the website said.
Cedar Bluff has about 6,000 to 7,000 acres of surface water when it is at full pool. The lake is about 12 feet under conservation pool.
Matt Schmidt, local game warden, said the anglers should have good fishing this week, especially along the mile of reservoir's damn.
The lake is also home to crappie, walleye and stripper. You can find more on fishing at the state park by visiting the state park's website.
Cedar Bluff State Park is divided into two sections encompassing 350 acres. Amenities include boat ramps, utility and primitive campsites, shower houses, dump stations, rental cabins, picnic areas, sand volleyball court, horseshoes pits, shore-side basketball court, BMX track, and swimming beach.
Brazier said visiting schools helps rally the community around the goal of promoting the area as a destination.
Lynelle Shubert, WaKeeney Travel Tourism director, said she is trying to promote WaKeeney as the gateway to Cedar Bluff.
Both men said one of the most important aspects of their fishing trips is interacting with youth.
"There are so many opportunities out there that the kids don't realize that they can be outside and make a living — game wardens and biologists. It's just endless," Brazier said. ...
"We've got to get our kids off cell phones and video games."
Ingram said speaking with the youth is aimed at encouraging them to further their educations.
Visiting local schools is bringing young people back to the sport of fishing, Brazier said.
"Ten years ago the average age of a bass boat buyer, whether aluminum or fiberglass, was 57 years old," he said. "With what we're doing with colleges and high schools and programs we have, we're bringing that age down. Fishing was a dying sport."
Shubert said keeping young people in rural Kansas is important as population numbers in rural Kansas counties continue to decline.
"If they get jobs in the outdoors and they come back to the rural parts of America, for us we're talking about rural Kansas, that is such a huge goal is to get those kids to come back," she said. "They have a career. They have a job. They have something they can do here."
Brazier said it opens students eyes to opportunities.
"There are nurses and doctors. I wanted to be a veterinarian," he said. "It's all wonderful, but not everyone is cut out for that. Some kids need to be game wardens, and some kids need to be farming."