Lake levels have fallen from a high last week of over 360ft, but TVA has pulled the water back to around 358ft. Normally TVA will start filling the lake from winter pool starting April 1st, and have the water level at 359ft by May 1st. Due to abnormally high rain amounts over the spring, we reached higher levels earlier this year, but TVA will continue to try and keep lake levels where they should be. We saw low to mid 60’s early last week, which caused some fish to enter the shallows beginning the spawn, only to see a cold front come through and cool water temps back into the upper 50’s, putting a halt to the spawn. With temps late last week well above normal, combined with strong winds, water temps are now in the mid 60’s and the spawn should be happening. TVA did pull the water levels back, but now have stabilized around 358ft.
Most of our sunfish species which including crappie and bass will spawn when water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60’s, (bluegill and shellcracker 70+degrees), and lake levels are stable. Most sunfish species eggs require 1 to 5 days for eggs to hatch, and most all of our sunfish species will nest in shallow water at depths in which sunlight penetrates, usually in well protected backwater away form current and wave action. The male of all sunfish species are the one’s who prepare and guard the nest once eggs are laid, and protect the fry once hatched. This is why it’s important to return the male fish back to the nest as soon as possible, as nest predators will come and rob the nest of eggs and fry if left unguarded. With many fish already spawning, we hope the recent water level drop didn’t hurt any fish that have already spawned, but I believe that these next few weeks are when most bass and crappie will spawn. We’ve seen many area crappie fishermen come in with some good catches, and most of the male fish are showing spawn coloration. Most crappie were scattered before the spawn, but now have moved shallow and are easier to find.
Turkey season continues and now we are seeing most birds starting to begin nesting. Many larger flocks have split up, and now the hens are mostly solitary, remaining close to nesting areas. The gobblers are very busy this time of year, attending to the hens each morning, making it more difficult to entice to a hunters calls, but hunters who will hunt later in the afternoon, can still cohorst a gobbler in range. Humphreys Co. now has over 300 birds harvested, and we still have until may 15th when the season ends. The state total is over 22,000 birds so far this year.