Area gets respite from the rain — at least for a while

Area gets respite from the rain — at least for a while

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 11:23 am
By: Brent Callicott

I had originally planned to start my column out this week with, “The rains have finally stopped but the water’s still around,” but that has since changed with more rain falling.
Hope the rains we are receiving or have received so far aren’t going to amount to that much with area lake rivers and ponds still bank full. It looks like it will be like this for some time to come with the high waters., but at the same time, anything we do receive is too much.
I have also noticed that area farmers who are able to get in their fields are hard at work. That is a really good sign.
Major cleanups are in store for the next several weeks — even months — due to what flood waters have left behind.
What has this done to Reelfoot Lake? The fishing has not stopped, that’s for sure. Actually, the fishing has been pretty good.
There are several hundred folks who have planned their vacation trips or fishing outings from out of state to come to Reelfoot and have a good time. My hat’s off to all of those who have help make these folks who decided to come anyway and spend their money here in our area fishing Reelfoot Lake. Reelfoot Lake is a major player in Obion County’s economical status.
I also want to say a big “Thank You” to first responders, law enforcement of all types, national, state, regional and local officials and anyone else who volunteered their time helping others during this flood and I know it is not over yet. Lots are still facing tough days ahead and hope our area is able to get back to normal soon.
It has posed major challenges for those who have wanted to venture out and fish. Some ramps on the lower end of Reelfoot (Lower Blue Basin) of the lake have been closed but should be open by now. These were temporarily closed for a very short time, the ramps that is, and mainly due to boat waves up and down the shoreline on Lake Drive, where waters were already up very close to people’s homes and beyond their yards.
Reelfoot Lake water levels were recorded as being the highest since the 1937 flood, if not higher.
Reelfoot has been very slow to recede and this is due, in part, because the water has nowhere to go. The Mississippi River remains very high and will until the river waters start to drop a little each day, Reelfoot waters will also remain high for a while. 
Water levels on late Wednesday afternoon were in the 285.50 feet above sea level range and probably have dropped even more. This is still well over three feet higher than the normal 282.20 feet above sea level, which is normal pool level for Reelfoot Lake.
Water temps have now climbed up into the lower to mid-70s.
Water color lake-wide is good. Things have kinda settled and the winds have not been that big of a deal — unlike a few weeks ago.
As for the fishing, the crappie have continued to bite, from what I have been told. Bass also have been doing decent. What has really been biting is the catfish. The ditches are the best areas to fish and that is where current is present.
As the ramps are easier to use, I should have reports of the fishing to share with all of you.
The Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club held one of its scheduled tournaments recently. They had 15 of the club’s membership to fish. It was also reported that seven of those who fished weighed in the club’s five-bass limit, which is the rules and also applies to many bass tournaments anywhere. There were 56 bass brought to the scales with a total weight of 60.70 pounds.. The weather played a part in this event, causing them to cut the fishing hours short that day.
The first place winner in the 11-14 age group was Mat La Mastus, who is a student at the Black Oak Elementary School and the son of David and Melissa La Mastus.
Winner in the 15-18 age group was John Coble Garrett, who is about to complete his freshman year at Obion County Central High School. John also had big fish overall of the tournament that tipped the scales at 4.65 pounds. He is the son of Kim Thompson and Van Garrett.
Here are a couple of dates for you to mark your calendars for fishing tournaments.
First, the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club’s annual Bluegill Tournament will be May 28th out of the Kirby Pocket State park on Highway 22 on Reelfoot Lake.
The cost of this event is $35 per boat with the Big Bluegill award included. There will be a 10-fish limit. Tournament fishing hours will be from 6 a.m. until noon that day.
For more information, call Johnnie Garrett at 885-2903 or Gordon Fox at 885-5541.
Also, I have received word from Reelfoot Lake Bass Club’s president Gordon Fox that the bass club’s annual Big Bass Tournament will be held June 18. More information will follow in the coming weeks for this tournament, so stay tuned.
Rookie Ben Parker is fishing in his 6th Bass-Master Elite Series Tour-nament this week during the Carolina Clash on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C.
You can keep up with Ben during the tournaments by visiting the BASS website at www.bassmaster.com. Also, pay a visit to Ben’s personal website at www.parkersoutfitting.com.
To round out the year, Ben will be left with two events on his rookie season.
Ben was able to claim a $10,000 check in last week’s BassMaster Elite Series Tournament that was held on West Point Lake. He finished in 40th place out of the 99 Elite Series Anglers. In order to be able to claim a check of any kind when fishing the Elite Series, you have to make the top 50 cut for Day 3 after the first two days of competition.
Anglers from 13th place to 50th place each receive a check for $10,000. Places 12th down to first place receive more with the overall first place winner in each of the Elite Series Tournaments win a nice check for $100,000  Entry fees for these tournaments are $5,000 each.
News from the TWRA: As flooding continues to be an issue, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials are advising residents they might encounter wildlife in unusual places.
“As the waters continue to rise, animals are fleeing their normal habitat areas and our residents should not be surprised to see them seeking temporary refuge,” said Chad Harden, TWRA Region I Big Game Coordinator. “Animals that appear to be in need of rescue should be left alone. They are under stress, but their natural survival instincts will help them cope with the situation until things get back to normal. The animals could pose a real danger to someone who might try to rescue them.”
Deer will be the most noticeable animal that will be evacuating their normal habitat areas. Officials said the animals will return to their normal ranges once the flood waters recede.
I want to close by wishing my daughter, Gracyn, a belated happy seventh birthday from this past week. People have told me how time flies and we are seeing that with our own eyes each day. Hope your day was a special one for a special little girl.
Til next week’s column..
Catch ya on the water folks
Brent

Published in The Messenger 5.13.11

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