Water, water everywhere: Region saturated by recent rains

Water, water everywhere: Region saturated by recent rains

Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 3:03 pm

Did you say water? Our area for the year of 2011 has had its share, and then some and then some more.
On a more serious note, with the large amounts of water everywhere, safety is key when venturing out on it. Make sure you have your cell phone or some type of communications with you. It can be a lifesaver.
Just Monday morning, during the heavy rains, four hunters up near the Paducah area decided to go hunting in flooded waters with too small of a boat for too many people. This was Kentucky’s opening day.
Luckily, all four were rescued with three being adults and one being a 10-year-old. They were lucky because when their small boat started taking on water, they were near a flooded area of timber and were able to grab onto trees and hold on. The man who found them said when he reached the hunting group, he estimated 10 more minutes in the water and they could have been dealing with a very different outcome.
What I am saying is, please use common sense during the waterfowl season due to the cold water temps and possible rough waters.
Examples: Don’t overload your boat with people and or hunting gear. Do not go into a area that you are unfamiliar with due to flooded water. Never get in very rough waters, especially waters with lots of current. Have your life jackets with you and on. Have running lights on your boat, a strong handheld light with you like a million plus candle power. Reflectors on the back of your boat is good also. These are just a few simple reminders of using good judgment when out on the waters hunting or fishing in cold weather and flooding conditions.
Many times when we get heavy rains, this will draw not only hunters but waterfowl looking for new food and areas to hang out for a while. It is also a good idea to always travel like that in groups of two in case someone does have trouble, someone else will be there close by with you to help.
I think now, we can do without rain for several weeks and have plenty of water to get us into the spring season. More on the rain totals and water levels in just a bit.
But first, all of the waterfowl seasons are up and running. By the sound of things, that’s about all you can say.
Ducks are very hard to come by for most. Add in the excessive rain and they are quite scattered.
I spoke with some of the TWRA folks as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife folks late last week. Not many ducks in our general area at all. Now with the water, they are really going to be hard to count come the next several weeks.
The TWRA reported very low numbers everywhere they counted. The TWRA count for Nov.15th was over 10,000 ducks on Black Bayou but they counted last Friday and reported loosing most of those ducks as they could tell.
The USFWS also counted on Friday and they are as follows: Lake Isom NWR just south of Reelfoot Lake, 4,146 ducks; Reelfoot NWR, 8,832 ducks, both in Lake and Obion counties. Then the Lower Hatchie NWR, 2,779 ducks; and Chickasaw NWR at 65,579 ducks, both in Lauderdale county.
I hope to have report at least every two weeks, if not sooner, as they both plan to count either once per week or once every two weeks.
I have a few fishing reports to pass along from late last week.
Reports from Reelfoot Lake
My dad, Lanny, and one of his fishing buddies R.C. Crews fished on Dec. 1-2. Thursday wasn’t the best day at all with only three crappie caught and nine other possible bites. They managed to talk with eight other fishermen the same day fishing the same area and other areas close by and these folks didn’t even get a single bite that they know of. Dad said the water had a really bad color and smell. I would be willing to bet that the water has been flushed pretty good by now.
Then on Friday, Dad and R.C. went back and caught 14 crappie, bringing 12 of those to the bank. Also, Jimmy King of Tiptonville caught 14 crappie.
Dad wanted to remind everyone about the Asian “flying” carp. Even though the water has cooled considerably, these carp seem to still be active so beware to all fishermen and hunters.
Up at Kentucky Lake
Last Thursday, Ray Wilson and one of his fishing buddies, Tim Ayers, had a really good day — matter of fact, one to remember. They kept 50 very nice grade of crappie with eight of those tipping the scales at over two pounds each. Their largest of the day being a 2.10 pound whopper. Great going guys.
Also on Thursday, the local crappie duo of Gene Crabtree and Larry Isbell had a good day also with a decent grade overall keeping 50 crappie. They then went back on Friday, keeping 40 more crappie and most of these guys reported catching their crappie on jigs tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles.
OK, let’s talk about the rain. From Sunday morning til Monday around 3 p.m., I recorded around 6.25 inches of rain that fell in that time period. Down at Reelfoot Lake, basically during the same time period, the USGS website automatic rain gauge recorded 7 inches of rainfall.
Now, as reported in The Messenger’s weather section, one year ago Tuesday, we were sitting at 36.32 inches from Jan. 1 until Dec. 6, 2010. That was well below normal and remember how low Reelfoot Lake was?
During the same time period this year from Jan. 1 until Dec. 7, this past Wednesday, we have already received 66.95 inches of rainfall, which is almost double the amount of rainfall. This is all according to the information submitted to the Messenger by the Union City Water Treatment Plant. I have pretty close to the same numbers.
You ask, what has this done to the water levels at Reelfoot Lake. As of Wednesday afternoon, Reelfoot Lake was at 283.35 feet above sea level. That is at least 14 to 15 inches or so above the normal level of 282.20 feet above sea level. There is water everywhere and will be for a few days. Waters will continue to rise for the next few days.
I would be willing to say that several areas of Reelfoot Lake are on the muddy side for now but should clear as the runoff of rains slows.
This rain total for the year could set a record. I think Paducah, Ky., set an all-time record for the amount of rain for the year and we still have several days to go.
Just in the last 21⁄2 weeks, we have received 16-plus inches of rain right here in Union City. The Reelfoot Lake area has seen about 13 inches over the same time period. During some earlier rains, we received more in the eastern parts of Obion County than what was received in the western areas of the county.
I wanted to give a congrats out to the Henry County Patriots Football Team over in Paris for winning their very first state football championship last Friday in the Class 5A classification. Also, a job well done to the Dresden Lions for their first ever trip and claiming the runner-up Silver Football in the Class 2A classification state football championship. Great going guys.
In closing, please remember those who were affected and in some way touched in the Pearl Harbor attack back on Dec. 7th, 1941. When you see any veteran of our United States Armed Forces or currently serving, please shake their hand, hug them and just simply say thank you. It is the least we can do for all of those who have fought for our freedom.
I will leave you with that this week.
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks
Brent

Published in The Messenger 12.9.11

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