Lake levels bottomed out early last week. TVA has the lake on the rise, which is normal for this time of year as TVA normally starts filling the lake starting at the 1st of April, and has the lake at summer pool of 359ft by the end of the month. As of last Friday, the lake at New Johnsonville was at 355.5ft and is on a slow rise of around .2ft per day. Of course this all depends on how much rain enter’s the system over the next few days. Water temperatures have continued to be below normal for this time of year, with average surface temps hanging in the upper 50’s. With the warmer weather predicted this week, I do expect a quick rise in water temperatures, which will help spur on the impending spawn for many of our fish species. Once water temperatures make it into the mid 60’s, and stay there, expect a ‘mad dash’ of crappie and bass heading towards the shallows looking for spawning areas.
Crappie over this last week seemed confused, with warm temps one day, and cold the next, the fish didn’t seem to know what to do. One day they were shallow, with the male crappie already transitioning into ‘spawn color’. The next day, with a cold front moving through, we saw the fish moving back out to deeper water. The best crappie catches still seem to be found in the 10ft deep range using techniques which cover water such as trolling and spider rigging. The bass seem to be having the same issues the crappie are, although the standard spring patterns, such as fishing gravel or rocky points have been producing fish. The baits which have been finding the quality sized fish are red crank-baits and Texas rigged craws and jigs. Catfish activity has also picked up, with some great fish being taken in water depths of around 40ft. My wife found a 69lber near birdsong creek using cut skipjack last Sunday. When looking for trophy sized catfish, bait is of upmost importance. Fresh cut fish is the best, and fish close to and around cover on the bottom of the river. Look for sunken trees and large rocks in 30 plus foot of water during the day. On warmer days, large catfish will sometimes move to water shallower than 5 ft. Look for shallow water which is much warmer than the main lake water and use large fresh cut shad. Some good quantities of smaller fish are showing up in shallower water along the river drops. As the spawn begins, many catfish will head to the areas that crappie and bluegill spawn, looking to rob nests of eggs.
The spring regular turkey season has started, and as of Friday April 8th, Humphreys Co. has seen a harvest of 175 turkeys. We are around the same as we saw last year for the same period. The statewide total (as of 04/08/22), is at 10,200 birds. The limits in our area are; 1 bearded turkey per day, not to exceed 3 for the season. Remember a turkey is considered a big game animal, and must be checked in the day of harvest.