June 26, 2016

Quickfire Outdoor Interview: Waterdog Journal

Name or Online Code Name: Ken G or Waterdog, nobody pronounces my real last name correctly anyway, I’m Polish.

Blog URL: www.waterdogjournal.com

The always elusive Ken is on the right...

1) Outdoor Activity of choice? My fishing equipment is in my car 24/7, so if I’m out camping or hiking or just wandering around and I come across fishable water, I can go fishing.

2) Outdoor Mornings. Up at 5 a.m.? 6…7…8…9…Or when the sun heats up the tent and you can’t take it anymore? I’m always up at sunrise, but two cups of coffee need to kick in, I dawdle doing other things, then head out fishing mid afternoon. Sunset on any kind of water is magical.

3) Snicker Bar or Granola Bar on the trail? Even when doing an all day fishing marathon, I don’t eat. Lots and lots of water. It’s a bizarre fasting thing I do.

4) Your Birthday is coming. What outdoor (dream) present should we all chip in to buy you this year? The best pair of Simms waders that money can buy. I’ve never had a pair of waders last more than one season without springing a leak and I’ve bought expensive ones by others. I think I can burn the Simms out in one season too.

5) Seven days in the Alaskan Wilderness or Seven days on a Tropical Beach? Definitely the beach. Less clothes to wear, warm breezes, miles of beach to stroll and a huge variety of seafood to sample. I might go fishing, or drinking, and I don’t drink much. But I’ll make an exception.

6) What kind of Outdoor Store would you own? In 2005, the driest year in recorded history around Chicago, I opened a canoe/kayak livery and small tackle store. Did get the outdoor related art gallery up and running. Had to shut things down at the end of 2006, that first year killed me. Never did get the high fat content ice cream shop up and running. Not sure I have the energy to do it again.

7) Finish this sentence: When I was a little kid, I loved to go outside and……play, run, cause trouble and roam the streets and alleys like the city rat I was. I grew up in an old inner city Chicago neighborhood. It was wonderful. Till I was 11, we had 6 people, 4 kids, living in tiny four room apartments. We weren’t allowed to sit around the house. I didn’t start fishing till I was 27.

8 ) Do you have an Outdoor related item that is priceless to you? What is it and why? Over the years my daughters have made and given me all kinds of outdoor related things. They’re within sight of my desk or one is in my pocket at all times. They’re all priceless to me.

9) Fill in the blank. When I head outdoors I need to have___ my cell phone ___with me? Long story short, in the 6 years we’ve been together my wife has died on me twice and came close two more times. She’s all better now, but I’m not taking any chances. You need me, call me.

10) What’s the story behind your blog name? 1998 or so I needed a company name that reflected what I was doing out on the rivers. Guiding, writing, heavily involved with local river conservation issues. I grew up around river rats, disgusting things and I don’t like being called one. That name was out.

Then I was watching 101 Dalmatians with my daughters and the scene where the dogs are warning each other came on. One was on a barge floating down the river barking out his warning. Waterdog came to mind, kind of like a watch dog warning of things wrong on the river. I just add whatever it is I’m doing on to Waterdog, hence Journal, this time.

Courage Level Question: It’s You and a Grizzly Bear face to face on the trail. Knowing yourself, will you 1) Hold your ground and see who blinks first 2) throw your gear at the Grizzly and run for your life or 3) faint on the spot?

I don’t think I’m capable of fainting and I run like a snail.

That bear would hear swear words screamed at him and strung together in patterns never before known to man, a skill I have. If a battle ensues and I have one opportunity to get anywhere near one of his eyes, I got half a chance. One of the other things we did outdoors as kids, street fighting, you never back down.

Thank you Ken for stepping into the fire for a few. 

~ Be sure to check out the wonderful writings of Waterdog Journal

About Rebecca

When Rebecca isn't running the Outdoor Blogger Network, she is off Fly Fishing her favorite rivers. Occasionally she writes about those adventures at The Outdooress.


  1. 1

    He is still a punk like he was when he was a kid. Not necessarily a bad thing.

  2. 4

    Thanks Rebecca. Funny to read it again. One of these days there will be an up-to-date photo of me on the web somewhere. :-)

  3. 6

    Ken, I don’t believe we’ll ever see a recent photo of you…I know what a Chicago river rat looks like, you don’t want the rest of the world to see. Fun interview!

  4. 7

    A fine interview. Thanks! I’ve long followed the waterdog and appreciate the new insight. Next time I’m in the Windy City…

  5. 8

    Writing or talking, Ken, you’re a hoot. Fun questions, Rebecca!

  6. 9

    Loved this! So happy to see you here today!

  7. 10

    Thanks everyone. It probably does explain that bit of attitude that rears it’s ugly head now and then. When I saw the movie Ben I was appalled. Those weren’t rats, they’re pets.

    On a bad hair day, along with a week of not shaving, I’m afraid I’m starting to look like that guy that likes to stay thirsty my friend.

  8. 11

    The only picture of Ken you need is right here. It comes from this favorite of mine.

  9. 12
    Bernie Thiergart says:

    I enjoyed reading your column in the February Heartland Outdoors magazine. I live in the Moline (Quad City area of the state, by the Iowa border). I have a fishing boat, but don’t get out as much as I would like. I noticed you like to fish where their is a current. Do you have just as much fun fishing off the bank as you would in a boat? Sometimes I think maybe a boat is more trouble then they are worth. I will be anxious to hear your thoughts. Bernie

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