Area lake levels have stabilized at just over 358ft, while a few weeks ago we saw lake levels over 361ft. And saw a drop over the last week to current levels and are predicted to remain around 358ft for the remainder of the week. Normally TVA will have the lake at 359ft by May 1st. I’m not sure what TVA has going on by keeping the lake at 358ft, possibly they are anticipating a lot of rain in the TN River Valley and may need the extra storage to alleviate possibly flooding. We have had a wet spring this year and weather patterns haven’t stabilized much as well. With the unstable weather, the spawning activity of crappie and bass has been effected by the drop in water levels just when the water temps were getting into the low to mid 60’s (when crappie and bass begin spawning). This has caused many of the fish to move or abandon their nests, but now we are seeing some temperature stabilization and many fish have returned to the shallows to continue spawning.
Although many crappie fishermen love the spawn period, this can be a tough time to pattern fish, as weather and water conditions can change things quickly. Crappie can be deeper early in the morning, when we have cool nights, but return to the shallows as the water warms throughout the day. Remember that not all fish of a single species will spawn at the same time, some spawn earlier, some later. Most of the bass and crappie will spawn when water temps stabilize around 68 degrees. The catfish bite often heads shallow this time of year. I’m not sure if it’s because the catfish predate the nests, feeding on the fish and eggs of spawning fish, or if it’s because of the shad moving shallow. The shad, both thread-fin and gizzard shad, are a major food source of catfish. Many fishermen are using floats, fishing nightcrawlers around rock and wood cover, close to shore and coming up with some good catches of cats. Many crappie fishermen have had some good days and bad days, hopefully the fish will cooperate soon, as the spawn should be happening at the time this article is published. Trout anglers should be doing well in the creeks that are stocked with trout. This last week, we had the last stocking this year into area trout streams. Area streams that are stocked include; Tumbling, Hurricane (at L & L ranch) and Whiteoak Creek (Magnolia and rainbow bridges). As a reminder, if you fish for, or keep trout, you must have a trout license, (juveniles and senior citizens are exempt). No numbers of shell-crackers have showed up yet, most spawning occurs once water temps are around 70-75 degrees.
Turkey season continues until May 15th so hunters still have an opportunity to harvest a turkey. Humphreys Co. has harvested, as of April 27th, 363 turkeys, and the statewide total stands at 24,329 birds.
Area fishing tournaments are; ABA District 40 out of Birdsong on April 30th, and ABA’s next on May 7th out of Birdsong. Tennessee Mad Catters catfish tournament, out of Ashland City on May 1st 7am-3pm. Hunts outdoor trail May 28th out of Mason’s. Kentucky Lake Bass Anglers will be May 10th out of New Johnsonville, also there is a ‘fruit jar’ bass tournament out of the New Johnsonville boat ramp each Tuesday night 4-8pm. The old Strike King tournament has been re-branded to the Kentucky Lake Open, and will take place on June 11th this year.