Water level increase on Reelfoot Lake a welcome sight
Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 9:57 am
By: Brent Callicott
It happened! Reelfoot Lake received a blessing from God with a fresh drink ofwater. Awsome!
But the downside of this time of year is the temperature swings. After the long, cold winter months, a couple of brief warm spells have hit our area just to tease us but, also be rememinded there are frequent cool downs. It now appears, much colder weather is set to hit and settle into West Tennessee late in the weekend and some parts of next week.
This has been the best news in several weeks, even months, around these parts. Reelfoot Lake is a major economic player for Obion, Lake Dyer counties and surrounding areas. I have been praying that someday soon, we would be blessed with rains not only for Reelfoot Lake but for the area farmers as well.
Counting a weeks ago Thursday’s rains and this past Sunday’s rains, we received right at 5 1/2 inches of rainfall here in Union City. Other parts of the county received much more and then some received less.
Reelfoot Lake level was 10.31 feet in October 2010. That’s about one foot above the lowest level ever recorded 9.30 feet Nov. 20-21 in 1953 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The lake dropped 9.59 feet during the state initiated drawdown of 1985. Last week’s and this week’s beneficial rains were and are a welcome relief for many. The lake is now in the 11.85-foot range.
Reelfoot Lake’s normal pool level considered by the USGS folks on their website is 282.20 feet above sea level. As of Wednesday afternoon, the lake was at 282.04 and slowly rising. The rains that are expected over the weekend will cause the lake to rise much higher than the normal level, that’s for sure. It looks like we have now settled into a very wet weather cycle.
While mother nature decided in the middle of 2010 to allow Reelfoot waters to recede, this also allowed stumps, logs and other hidden objects to be seen easily with the human eye. Even grave stones and indian artifacts could be seen.
I personally went on Reelfoot Lake this past Saturday just to ride around and look. This was only the second time I had been on the lake since last mid-June time frame.
Some parts of the lake are muddy but other parts are or would be considered good fishing conditions. There is also lots of current in all of the ditches at this time.
Until these rains hit, everyone was starting to catch crappie again. Now that the lake has come up (and may come up even more with rain in the forecast once again this weekend), this will have fish wandering around in areas that haven’t seen water in several months.
Water temps on Reelfoot last Saturday were in the 47 to 49 degree range. This past week’s cool down probably knocked those temps down another degree or two and will drop ever farther over the weekend.
I am happy to report that most all of Reelfoot Lakes boat ramps are usable at this time.
The lake saw several fishermen both on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Mainly crappie are being reported caught, but wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a bass or two being caught.
Speaking of Reelfoot Lake, the annual Bass Pro Shops Crappie Master Tournament Trail Tour stop will be Saturday on Reelfoot Lake.
This one-day event is a major one day national qualifier as the top 15 will qualify for the 2011 National Championship held on the Alabama River in Millbrook. Anglers in the major tournament will compete for a minimum $10,000.00 guaranteed payback.
A seminar and late entry registration is today at the Buford Ellington Assembly Hall, Highway 21 East, Tiptonville. Registration is at 5 p.m. with the seminar at 6:30 p.m. The tournament will began at 7 a.m. with the weigh-in at 3:30 p.m. at the Pavilion by Air Park Inn off Highway 78 on State Route 213. Anglers can register and find more information about the tournament at www.crappiemasters.net.
There will be many crappie anglers fishing this event both on the amateur and pro side.
One of the newest members of the rookie BassMaster Elite Series bass pros, Ben Parker of Springville and formerly of Obion County, will be heading out this weekend to start his new career as a professional bass fisherman.
Ben heads south to the sunny, warm state of Florida for his first two events.
Here is the list of the BassMaster Tournament Elite schedule Ben will be fishing.
No. 1 Sunshine Showdown, March 10-13, Harris Chain, Tavares, Fla.; No. 2, Citrus Slam, March 17-20, St. John’s River, Palatka, Fla.; No. 3, Alabama Charge, April 6-9, Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala.; No. 4, Battle On The Bayou, April 14-17, Toledo Bend, Many, La.; No. 5, Pride Of Geogia, May 5-8, West Point Lake, LaGrange, Ga.; No. 6, Carolina Clash, May 12-15, Lake Murray, Columbia, S.C.; No. 7, Diamond Drive, June 9-12, Arkansas River, Little Rock, Ark.; No. 8, Dixie Dual, June 16-19, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, Ala.
You can follow him by visiting the www.bassmaster.com website and watch each weigh-in live or visit his own website at www.parkersoutfitting.com.
Ben has a new and revamped website and will be posting almost every day on there while he is out on the road. Also, you can watch the weigh-ins live each day on the BassMaster website listed above.
Good luck Ben, our community is behind you as well as all of your fishing friends and family.
I would also like to pass along that Mike Hayes, owner and operator of Blue Bank Resort and the Rod and Reel Grill on Reelfoot Lake, ended his six-year tenure as a member of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission board. (See related photo)
The February meeting of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission marked the final scheduled meeting for three commissioners while the commission named its officers for 2011-12.
Mike Chase (Knoxville), Johnny Coleman (Livingston) and Mike Hayes (Hornbeak), had their commission appointments conclude at the end of February.
Six years ago, Mike was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to represent our area as a TWRA commissioner.
I want to personally thank Mike for the years he served and what he did while serving on the board for the Reelfoot Lake area. Mike grew up on Reelfoot Lake as well as the rest of his family. He is someone who cared and wanted to do what is best for Reelfoot Lake and the surrounding area.
A reminder to you, I will be appearing at two local Walmart stores sporting goods department come mid-March. I will be there to talk fishing and answering questions on behalf of Walmart-FLW Outdoors Fishing Expo Week March 17-20. I will be in the Martin store March 17 from 5-7 p.m. or just after. Then March 18, I will be at the Union City Walmart location from 6-8 p.m. or just after. Come by either store, introduce yourself to me or just say hello.
I want to also pass along a few bass tournaments that you can put on your calender.
The Gibson County Bass Club will be hosting a open buddy bass tournament March 26 at Gibson County Lake. You can register the morning of this event. I should have more on this next week.
The 3rd Annual UTM Collegiate Bass Anglers Team Buddy Bass Tournament. This will be April 2 out of the Paris Landing State Park Marina. Entry fee will be $100 per boat plus a extra $10 Big Bass Award Pot offered. More to come on this event but if you need more information, you can contact the president of the UTM Club, Grayson Smith, 931-237-4627.
Then April 23, the 18th Annual Reelfoot Lake Bass Club Open Buddy Bass Tournament will be taking place on Reelfoot Lake out of the Kirby Pocket State Park area on Highway 22, just north of Samburg. More to come on this tournament as well.
That’s it for this weeks column,
Til next week…
Catch ya on
the water folks
Published in The Messenger 3.4.11