Kentucky Lake has now reached summer pool, with current levels at New Johnsonville holding at 359ft. Flow rates have moderated, with average flows over the weekend around 25,000cfs. Water temperatures saw a drop, with last weeks cold temperatures, but with the 80’s returning and warm nights, expect surface water temperatures to rise towards the 70’s once again. Both the Duck and Buffalo Rivers have come down to normal, with the Duck now at 2.57ft and just under 2,000cfs, and the Buffalo at 4ft with 826cfs on average. Now that warmer weather has returned, fishermen will be sharing the waterways with “pleasure craft”. Before heading out, check to if everything is in working order, nothing like getting to the water and finding out the boat doesn’t run! Some of the required equipment on the boat includes; valid registration, wearable lifejackets in good condition, fire extinguisher, throwable device, running lights, etc. More information can be found at TWRA’s website; TnWildlife.org
Turkey season saw a few more birds checked in this past week, Humphreys Co. now is at 424 birds. Some of the surrounding counties totals to date; Dickson-571, Benton-259, Houston-281, Hickman-465. We still have a few weeks to hunt and it seems plenty of birds are still out there, and a lot of the hens have already started sitting on the nest.
Fishermen have had to fight many obstacles over the last week. The biggest one has been the wind, with winds over 30mph on every day, it’s made fishing tough. Add in the cold temperatures and it's been hard just to get out. The bass and crappie have mostly finished their spawning activities; some remain on bed but most have now moved off the spawning grounds. With all the newly flooded shoreline cover, bass have been found shallow using pig and jig combo’s, and by fishermen tossing spinnerbaits around shallow cover. Crappie have now mostly moved to post spawn areas, just offshore in depths of 10-15ft of water, and seem to be scattered. Catfish continue to be found around shallow cover, and some good catches continue to be found by fishermen using nightcrawlers fished around rocks and logs. It is that time of year that the bluegill and shellcrackers will begin their spawning rituals, and a few good catches have been reported.
Another item I’ve been getting questions on is about license requirements. Where individuals can purchase them and which ones do they need. Tennessee Hunting and Fishing licenses can be bought in-person at Walmart, both Casey’s General Stores, and Bud’s Market in McEwen. As to which license individuals might need, it depends on many factors, like age, what wildlife is pursued, among other factors. Age related issues determining licenses types, kids under 13 years old don’t need a license, kids 13-16 can use a juvenile license (type 002), those between 16-65 years need a regular Hunt/fishing license (type 001), senior citizens 65 years and older can use a permanent (type 166) or annual (type-164). Individuals can also purchase a “sportsman license” which covers most every situation. Hunting and Fishing licenses are sold as an individual license, due to extra federal tax dollars the state gets for selling a fishing license. If anyone may have questions about licenses or any other item dealing with wildlife, contact the TWRA at the regional office during normal business hours at 1-800-372-3928.
It’s that time of year again when wildlife baby's are being born, and I want to remind everyone that it’s always best to just leave wildlife alone. Often mothers will leave babies alone, as a way to protect their young, by not drawing attention to the babies. Each year, people will find baby deer hidden in tall grass, brier patches and other places, thinking the baby deer has been abandoned, when in reality, the mother deer only visits their baby a few times per day for the first few weeks. Birds are another common baby animal found that humans think are in need of saving. When baby birds are young, they often fall out of the nest while learning to fly, this is normal and it's best just to leave them alone. An old “wives-tale” is that once handled by humans, the mother bird won’t accept the baby due to the scent now on the baby, this is untrue, as most all birds don’t have a sense of smell, and can’t smell any scent left.