Area lake levels have been around the 355ft mark, and are predicted to remain there through the end of March. However, if we see a significant amount of rainfall into the Tennessee River Valley, expect the lake to rise. Normally TVA will begin filling the lake starting April 1st, and have the lake at summer pool by the end of April. Flow rates in our area have moderated, as of this past weekend, rates have been averaging in the mid 70,000cfs. The Duck River saw a slight rise last week, with levels at 4.5ft mid week, and expected to rise over the weekend to around 7.5ft, and slowly dropping back to normal. The Buffalo also came up last weekend and is expected to return to normal if we don’t see much in precipitation this week. The Cumberland River at Cumberland City remained stable, with a level of 3.8ft over the last week. Most of the area has seen surface water temps holding in the low to mid 50’s, but with the warmer air temperatures returning, expect to see a quick increase over the next week.
April is usually the “spawning” time for most of our sports fish, including crappie and bass, with the average spawning taking place around mid to late April. Let me qualify this by saying that not all fish go on bed at the same time; it's mother nature's way of insuring a successful spawn each year. Some fish will head shallow when water enters the low 60’s, while some wait until water reaches into the 70’s. This last week we had very unseasonably cold temperatures, which backed off water temperatures into the low 50’s. This combined with falling water levels, pulled what fish were shallow back out to deeper water. We now are seeing much more seasonable temperatures, combined with warm nights, and with the warming water temperatures, “love will be in the air” for many of our fish! Expect many fish to move quite shallow over the next few weeks, especially if the water levels increase. Always look for baitfish in the shallows by looking for feeding birds or fish chasing minnows, which could indicate actively feeding fish in the area. Crappie this past week were taken in moderate depths of around 10ft by fishermen “long line trolling” covering flats close to spawning areas, and by fishermen using sonar looking for fish in deeper areas of 15-20ft, where fish were relating to cover. Bass continue to be found on rocky banks by fishermen using crawfish colored crankbaits and jig/pig combos. Catfish seem to have been on the move, and some good catches have been reported by fishermen using night crawlers or liver presentations fished along the river drops.
Area upcoming tournaments; Kentucky Lake Bass Anglers-April 1st on Chickamaga Lake, ABA Division 40-April 2nd out of Birdsong Marina (Eddie Scott 622-5273). Tn MadCatters-April 2nd at Grices Creek at Cumberland City, Cumberland River Catmans Association-April 8th in Ashland City.
As a reminder, check to see if you have a current license before going fishing, as the license period had changed last year, and now licenses are good for a year from date of purchase. Trout fisherman have been finding some good fishing at the normal stocking areas across our area, including Hurricane Creek at the Dam at Loretta Lynns Ranch, and Tumbling Creek Road. Don’t forget that Whiteoak Creek at Rainbow and Magnolia Bridge in Houston Co. are also stocked. We should get another stocking of trout next week.
We are now just over 2 weeks out from this years turkeys season, with the juvenile hunt April 8-9th, and the regular season beginning on April 15th.