Lake levels are at summer pool; levels on Friday May 12th at New Johnsonville were at 359.2ft. TVA is predicting the lake to remain stable, but with the added rainfall, they expect the flow to pick up from 35,000cfs, this past week, to over 50,000cfs for most of next week. Water tempatures were holding around the low 70’s in most areas, warm rains and nights should see water temps continue to rise this week. The Duck and Buffalo saw a slight rise this past weekend, but the Buffalo did fall from last weeks rains, back to just over 5ft.
Fishing activity continues to improve for bluegill and shellcrackers, and there has been a fare amount of channel cats still being taken. The bluegill bite has started, with many being taken in the normal spawning areas of our lake, the shellcracker bite was slow last week, but continues to improve with the warming water temps. Most shellcracker started showing up near spawning areas mid-week, and should be on bed by the time you read this. Bass are still being taken along the aboundant shore cover, as well as off points and humps by fishermen using jigs and slow presentations. Crappie are now in post-spawn, most being scattered just offshore in depths of 10-15ft, and seem to always be on the move. Catfish are being taken in shallow water, with many moving shallow to feed on the bluegill and shad, and channel cats are moving to rocky banks or around heavy cover to spawn. The Blue and Yellow cats won’t spawn until later this month into June.
Area upcoming fishing events; ABA district 40 on May 20th out of Birdsong, Kentucky Lake Bass Anglers on May 20th out of Clifton Marina, Cumberland river Catman’s Association on May 20th at Clarksville.
Turkey season now has just over a week left, with the season ending on May 28th. Humphreys Co. is doing much better than last year, with about 120 more birds checked in for the same period. Humphreys Co. now has 500 turkeys harvested this season, some surrounding Counties totals are; Benton-301, Dickson-682, Hickman-560, Houston-342, Perry-252. The Top harvesting county so far is Maury, with 917 turkeys harvested, the statewide total is 27,600.
One item I’d like to share with fishermen is some information that many may not be aware of; when and where shad spawn? One item which many overlook, is where the bait is, and often influncenes where the fish are. Shad are one of the most important food sources for many of the fish we look for. Knowing where and when, this important forage species is located, can help put fish in the boat. There are two main types of shad in our area I’ll talk about, the Threadfin (yellow-tail) and Gizzard (mud shad). Both species of shad will spawn usually just after the bass and crappie do. As water tempertures near the 70 degree mark, usually late April to mid May, shad will move shallow along the shorline with various types of cover. Both types of shad don’t spawn like bass and bluegill, where the male makes a nest and guards the eggs, the shad are “broadcast spawners”. Shad females will be “followed” by many males, where she will release her eggs over hard-bottomed pockets with laydowns or rip-rap, and then males will rush in and fertilize the eggs, which will fall to the bottom, sticking on anything they come into contact with. Spawning usually occurs around the full moon at night. Threadfin shad prefer areas with vegation, but will also spawn over rocks and around boat docks. Gizzard shad spawn once a year, threadfin several times throughout the spring through early fall. Why I bring this up, often as the shad spawn is taken place, fish like bass, crappie, catfish and others, will be found near where shad spawn, but with the abundance of food around, sometimes can be “finicky” to catch. When you can find fish feeding on shad, you can often have some fun in a short amount of time.