Lake levels at New Johnsonville on last Friday were at 356.5ft, with TVA continuing the water draw-down, to the upper 355ft mark by mid week. Surface temperatures have responded to the cooler weather, with average surface temperatures now in the mid 80’s. Flow rates remain moderate this week, with averages between 35-60,000cfs. The Dissolved Oxygen levels have fallen off a bit, with a current DO level at 6.9mg/L with a pH level at 8.70. The Duck River is normal, with a level of 2.8ft and the Buffalo River is at 3.4ft. The Cumberland River at Dover has been averaging 57ft.
Fishing should start improving throughout September, as the water begins to cool. Cooler water often brings on the “fall bite” triggering the fish to feed up before winter arrives. With the plentiful shad hatch, fishermen will have to compete with the abundant forage to entice a bite. I haven’t had many good reports this week, but the Bass should be on the move back out to deeper water as the lake levels fall. Fishermen should find bass on underwater humps inside the bays, as well as on the river ledges feeding on the baitfish. Using “search baits” like crankbaits to find feeding fish, and then switching to texas rigged worms or jigs once finding active fish often is a great technique this time of year. Of course, the top water action should continue, especially early and late in the day. The crappie bite should pick up as well; look in the mid-depth ranges inside bays in water between 10-15ft deep using jigs or minnows fished around cover. The catfish bite slowed this past week, we saw a few days that the current slowed and this seemed to cause the bite to be off, but when the flow picked up, fish seemed to bite again.
Upcoming outdoor fishing events this month are; Tennessee MadCatters-September 10th at Dover City Boat Ramp 7am-3pm. WSA Bassin (Jamie McCloud) on September 16th at New Johnsonville 5:45am-3pm. Cumberland River Catman’s Association on September 16th at Ashland City 7am-3pm, Kentucky Lake Bass Anglers on September 23rd at Carroll County 1000 Acre Lake, ABA Division 40 on September23rd at Lucas Harbor. Tn MaddCatters benefit tournament for Rori Strong catfishing event on September 30th at Clarksville Boat Ramp and the Carl Perkins Bass Classic on October 13tha and 14th.
Hunting seasons have been starting over the last week, with the velvet deer hunt, squirrel, dove, early goose and in a few weeks, the early woodduck and teal seasons starting on September 9th. The velvet hunt last weekend saw 6 deer taken in Humphreys Co. The top county for the state was Sumner Co. which saw 29 deer harvested. The statewide total for the velvet hunt was 736 deer. The Federal Duck River Refuge was closed a few days this past week, due to the spraying of an invasive weed (alligator weed) and is now back open to all activities, including hunting. Dove will already have opened by the time you read this, and it seemed there were a few doves around the area, and hopefully many hunters found some good shooting. There are a few WMA’s around with public hunting available, including; Camden, Bigsandy, and others. If hunting on a WMA, make sure you have the appropriate permits in addition to the required hunting licenses. More information can be found in the latest hunting guide or by visiting TWRA’s web-site; TnWildlife.org. The first segment of the dove season will continue through September 28th. The early goose season ends on September 17th. The regular archery deer season will start on September23rd.
This past weekend marked the end of the boating season, as Labor day weekend is the traditional end of the summer boating season. Many boaters will still be out over the next few weeks, but most will put the boats up for the winter as the temperatures fall with the water levels, leaving the lake to the fishermen. of course we will begin to see the “mass migration” of yacths heading south for the winter, this migration usually occurs near the end of the Hurricane season and before the lakes up north begin to freeze. If on the water during this event, be carful as the wakes from these boats can be large and last awhile as they pass.