After last weekend I was reminded why April is my favorite month along with the last of March.

After last weekend I was reminded why April is my favorite month along with the last of March.

Fishing with Brent Frazee, outdoor editor of the Kansas City Star, and Les Jarman, a Stockton Lake fishing guide, on the Little Sac River and Stockton Lake, we caught lots of white bass and walleye. And the next day, two local mushroom hunters told me they started finding the red or beefsteak mushrooms along with a few black morels.

I know a person can get addicted to mushroom hunting just like they do turkey hunting and fishing. All three things will be reaching their peak in the weeks ahead.

There have been several magazines published recently that had photos of morels, and just seeing color photos of morels gets mushroom hunters fired up and makes their mouths water.

The black morels are the first kind to appear. We usually find the first ones the last week of March. With all the moisture in the ground this spring, it should be a good year for the morels to pop.

Many mushroom hunters aren’t familiar with the black morels and pass them up while waiting for the larger golden morels to pop up. That is a big mistake. Although they are harder to see in the shadows in the woods in late March, the black ones are just as good on the table as other morels.

Morels are the most popular of all Missouri mushrooms for good reason. They taste like steak without all the calories, and they are easy to identify. Usually when you find one, you can bet there are others nearby.

Hunting morels can be a very good family outing. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt, and you don’t need special equipment to hunt them, nor do you need a permit (yet).

Veteran morel hunters will tell you that when you find them, be sure you put them in a mesh bag so the spores will fall on the ground and produce more mushrooms later.

Fred Harper of Raytown told me he used to put the morels he would find in a paper bag. One day he found lots of morels, but his paper bag got wet on the bottom, and he lost a lot of mushrooms and had to hunt them again.

“That taught me to carry a mesh bag when I go after morels,” he said.

Harper, who has hunted morels for more than 30 years, said he has never found more morels than his family could eat or share with friends. But when he finds a big bag of them, he dehydrates them for later.

“By drying them and preserving them, I have found it is the best way to enjoy them later in the year. I just soak them in cold water for a while and use them just as though they were fresh. Anyway you use them, they are always delicious.”

With morels starting to pop, crappie fishing going great guns and turkeys starting to gobble, it’s easy to see why April is my favorite month of the year.