Hunting seasons have began, with velvet deer back in August, squirrel, dove, early goose and soon to open, wood duck/teal and deer archery season.  This past weekend was considered the end of the boating season for this year, as water levels fall back to winter pool levels and cooler weather sets in, most pleasure boaters call it quits until next year.  But this can be a good time for fishermen to take advantage of the lower boat traffic.  Lake levels are now (Monday) around the 358 ft mark in the New Johnsonville area, but TVA is predicting a rapid fall to below 356 ft by next weekend.  Expect strong flow rates this week, as TVA tries to get the water back to this level.  Water temps have remained in the mid to upper 80’s this week.

Bass and crappie fishermen still are having a difficult time in locating any numbers of fish, the shallow bite still seems to be the best bet for bass, although it’s not been great.  Crappie seem to be moving a lot, and drifting and spider rigging seems to be the best technique for putting fish in the boat. Most crappie are being found in the mid-depth ranges of 10-15 ft.  It looks like we’ve had another good shad spawn, and the shad seem to be found in depths of 8-10 ft during the afternoon, and moving shallow late.  This seems to be where both crappie and bass are being taken, and fishermen should adjust their patterns with where the shad are.  Catfish were shallow last week, but now that the water is falling, expect most of the fish to return to the deeper water along the river channel.

Dove season was good on some fields, with a few area sunflower fields having some good shooting Saturday, but others, like Camden WMA, not seeing many birds.  Early goose hunters did find a few birds, but as always this time of year, many only had one opportunity at shooting at them, and their hunt was over.  The USFWS Duck River unit is open to goose hunting, but remember all hunters must obtain a Cross Creek/Tn National Wildlife permit to hunt on the federal land.  Wood duck and teal season will begin next weekend, and limits are 6 ducks, of which only 2 can be wood ducks.  Always consult the hunting guide for laws and regulations on hunting before hunting.  The biggest issue I used to see when hunting wood ducks, is hunting over a baited area, and as a hunter, it is your responsibility to make sure the area is not baited.  Regular deer archery will begin the 4th Saturday this month, and it looks like we have some good deer around.