Mother Nature still having her way with fishing with mixture of weather
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 10:38 am
By: Brent Callicott
This past week was a little drier than previous weeks and be thankful for that.
On the other hand, I sure wish Mother Nature would get things to normal. High air temperatures for a few days over this past weekend and the first of the week struggled to get into the mid-60s with 3 days in a row never getting out of the upper 50s. Low temperatures at night fell back into the 40s — Wow.
Now, the weather is getting back warmer and that usually means more rainfall, which has been predicted by the weather people.
Add high water that is dropping, major cooldowns and other factors, and it is amazing that any fish is biting at all.
Water levels on Reelfoot Lake continue to show improvement. I find it hard to believe that 6 to 8 months ago we were praying for large amounts of rain and now we are praying for the rains to subside and give us a break. Probably another 4 to 6 months from now, we will be wanting some of this water back, if tradition follows with the hot and humid weather in these parts that causes high levels of evaporation from our lakes, rivers and ponds.
Back to the high water levels at Reelfoot.
Many homes down around the Reelfoot Lake area along Lake Drive have been dealing with overflowing waters from Reelfoot Lake over the past two weeks or so. Now that the waters have dropped back in to the lake’s banks, the cleanup time and damage assessment begins.
Also, since the waters have started to recede, most ramps around the lake are open for your pleasure. The high waters had made for a challenge for everyone trying to launch a boat and load them back up.
As of mid-week, the USGS website reported that Reelfoot lake was in the neighborhood of 284.90 feet above sea level which the normal is 282.20 feet above sea level. After reaching a near record level of over 3 1/2 feet above the normal, Reelfoot Lake has slowly started to recede inch by inch, little by little.
Water color around the lake is pretty good from the reports I have had. Last Friday’s and early Saturday’s rains may have caused some other areas to have stained up but that shouldn’t last that long.
With this cooler weather, the water temps have dropped a few degrees over the last several days and are now back into the upper 60s to lower 70s.
As for the fishing, catfishing has to be the best thing going right now with crappie and bluegill a close second with bass fishing to follow.
There have been many reports of very good stringers of catfish being caught either out in the ditches of Reelfoot or just simply fishing off of the bank around the lake. Take your pick of which is best for you, take advantage of the bite and you should have some really good eating with your catch.
Crappie reports are scattered but many of the guides around the lake are having pretty good days along with the locals. The lower end of the lake (Lower Blue Basin) still seems to be the place to be as well as the Kirby Pocket area of Reelfoot.
Since the waters have warmed, the bluegill bite has also really picked up as well. Grasslines and Cypress Tress are good areas to start using wax worms and crickets.
Bass fishing … well I have not talked with anyone yet on this subject. I myself have been spending lots of time at Gibson County Lake near Trenton trying to catch me a bass of a lifetime to have pics made and release back into the lake. It has not happened yet, but you will be the first to know if and when it does.
I will give this advice for fishing Reelfoot Lake right now: Fish trees, ditches, logs, lily pads and grass lines around the lake. Current is present and this is a good thing for the bass. Strike King 1/2 ounce Premier Plus Spinnerbaits in the Sexy Shad color will work well. Also, take some type of jig or even a soft plastic-type creature bait and fish anywhere. There are many ditches in Reelfoot and these areas would be a good place to start for your fishing. This will work.
One fishing report I do have is last weekend, Caleb Parker, 9-year-old son of Kathleen and Luke Parker of Union City and a third-grade student at Ridgemont Elementary School, went fishing with his RA’s Group from Calvary Baptist Church here in Union City at a local farm pond. I was told that the group caught lots of fish and had a great time. This is what I like to hear and I want to pass along a personal “thank you” to those who took the time to carry these young people fishing and to enjoy the outdoors for a day.
Here is a list of a few tournaments that I have information on to pass along to you.
The 9th annual Reelfoot Lake Catfish Tournament will be held June 11.
There will be a guaranteed first place of $1,000 and other payouts based on the amount of boats entered for this event. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third places.
Entry fee for the tournament is $100 per boat/team with the Big Catfish Award included.
Registration will be either by picking up an early registration or by showing up between 5:30 and 6:30 the morning of the event.
Tournament hours are set for 6:30 until 1 p.m. with the weigh-in taking place at the Kirby Pocket State Park on Highway 22 just north of Samburg.
A five-fish limit of catfish will be allowed to be weighed in.
For more information, you can call 731-253-2007, e-mail at email@example.com or visit their website at www.reelfoottourism.com.
The Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club’s annual Bluegill Tournament will be held May 28 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, you can call Johnnie Garrett at 731-885-2903, Gordon Fox at 731-885-5541 or me.
Also, for you bass fisherman, the annual Reelfoot Lake Bass Club’s Big Bass tournament will be held on Reelfoot Lake June 18.
This tournament format is a little different than most with you (per boat/team) being able to weigh in only one bass during the tournament. The largest bass by the end of the tournament hours will be crowned as Big Bass Champion for this event.
This is a tournament where anyone can win, doesn’t matter how good of a fisherman you may or may not be, anyone can catch a big bass.
I will have more information on this event in next week’s column.
I have been asked to pass along to you that the 20th annual Youth Fishing Rodeo sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service will be held June 11 in conjunction with the National Fishing and Boating Week. This will be held at the refuge headquarters near Walnut Log on Highway 157, one mile off of Highway 22. The fishing rodeo will be open to kids 12 years old and younger. Registration will be starting at 7:15 a.m. until the tournament starts at 8 am. For more information, call the refuge office at 731-538-2481. I will have more on this in the coming weeks.
Ben Parker, rookie BassMaster Elite Series angler, completed his sixth tournament out of a eight-tournament schedule last week as he fished along with 98 other professional bass fishermen in the Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash on Lake Murray in South Carolina.
Ben finished 66th overall in this event, which wasn’t good enough to claim a check as a finish in the top 50 is required in order to do so.
Ben currently sits in 72nd place (out of 99 anglers), dropping from 68th place after last week. This is after six events. He is also 9th place in the Rookie of the year points out of 15.
Usually they (BASS) will take the top 83 Elite Series anglers in points to be able to qualify for next year’s BassMaster Elite Series tour.
In this event, Ben had a two-day total weight of (10 bass) that weighed 16 pounds 9 ounces and needed at least 28 pounds and some change in order to make the top 50 cut and claim a check of $10,000. Just wasn’t in the cards last week for that to happen for Ben.
His next tournament is the Diamond Drive June 9-12 on the Arkansas River in Little Rock.
The deadline to apply for participation in Tennessee’s third-ever managed elk hunt is approaching. Sportsmen have until midnight May 31 to submit their application to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The elk hunt will be held Oct. 17-21 at the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. Persons may apply at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office or online at www.tnelkhunt.org. Mailed applications will not be accepted.
That’s all for this week
Catch ya on the water folks
Published in The Messenger 5.20.11