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With most waterfowl seasons over, fishing season cranking up

With most waterfowl seasons over, fishing season cranking up

Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 3:00 pm

Now that most of the main waterfowl seasons have ended, fishing season is here.
What about this weather? Wow!
But first, you are invited to come out this weekend and take part in the 8th Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival. The event, which started today, will run through Sunday. There will be guided bus and van tours two times per day for $5 per person. This will allow you to have chances to view the majestic bald eagle nesting or anywhere else around the lake.
Reelfoot Lake is known for one of the largest populations of wintering bald eagles anywhere in the United States outside of Alaska. On Saturday, John Stokes will be featured speaker with the always entertaining and educational live birds of prey program.
For more information, you can contact the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council at 731-253-2007 or email them at
Reservations are required for the bus or van tours. For that, call 731-253-9652 or 731-538-2277.
As for the remaining seasons for waterfowl, the youth hunts are next.
There will be two youth duck hunts still left to enjoy in Tennessee. One of which will be Saturday and Sunday, which is the Tennessee State junior waterfowl hunt.
Then, Reelfoot Lake will have its turn as that junior waterfowl hunt will be the weekend of Feb. 11-12.
The youth must be between the ages of 6 and 15. An adult at least 21 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field and must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device. The adult accompanying the young hunter may not hunt ducks but may participate in other open seasons. Geese, coots, gallinules, moorhens, and ducks, including pintails, may be taken by youths during Youth Waterfowl Season. WMAs with special closing times are open all day, each day of the Youth Waterfowl Season.
Kentucky also has a youth waterfowl hunt and that will also take place Saturday and Sunday.
Now on to the Reelfoot Lake report.
The good thing is our weather has been great for this time of year. This has helped keep the water temps much above normal. There have been some cold nights but not enough to cause ice problems or anything of that nature. Some shallow water areas might have seen some ice earlier in the year.
For the next several days, the warm weather continues to be in our forecast and some small cooldowns to small shots of cold air may hit our area but will not last long at all.
Water temps on Reelfoot Lake have been in the mid-40s but may be closer to 50 degrees by now from earlier in the week.
Reelfoot Lake is still above normal, somewhere around a foot at least and may rise another inch or two by the end of the weekend.
Stained water is in the Upper Blue Basin area of Reelfoot and other parts as well. Once you get down toward the Lower Blue Basin, the water is better. This may be a really good year for crappie and I would say for bass as well. The warm water and air temps couldn’t do anything but help come spring, which should be a early Spring fishing season.
On the other hand, I have seen the seasons get mixed up and our cold weather doesn’t hit til March. Let’s hope I’m wrong there also.
Crappie continue to be good on Reelfoot and Kentucky Lakes. Good catches have been reported on days of lighter winds. The bass should pick up sooner more than later.
Do you want to spend two days learning from some of the best? Now you have your chance. Three of the top bass fishing anglers will present Bass Weekend at West Kentucky Community and Technical College on Feb. 11-12.
Joe Thomas, author and host on “Ultimate Match Fishing” and “Reel in the Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel; Bernie Schultz, eight-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and Paducah native and three-time Bassmaster champion Mark Menendez will each teach a class on the basics of bass fishing, plus share some of their best tips for catching the most fish.
Some of the topics that will be covered will be: Jerkbaits A-Z and Flippin’ and Pitchin’ Shallow Water, fishing Cover, Boat Positioning and Creating Proper Casting Angles and Topwater Tactics A-Z.
These classes will be held in the conference room of the Emerging Technology Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Classes will be about 50 minutes in length and panel discussions will also be included throughout the weekend.
The cost for the weekend is $199. However, currently enrolled college or high school students get a $20 discount. Students must present a current identification. Participants can visit several bass fishing vendors throughout the weekend.
To register, call 270-534-3335 .
A reminder that your hunting and fishing licenses will expire at the end of this month. Mark your calendars and have all your licenses up to date. Also, make sure your boat is registered and up-to-date.
Hunting and fishing licenses go on sale Feb. 18 each year — the beginning of prime fishing — and are valid until the last day of February the following year. Seasons are subject to change and license fees are subject to change.
Please note the license paper will remain orange for the next five years (until 2016), instead of changing color each year as it has in the past. Please don’t be alarmed when your new license is the same color as your old one.
The Lifetime Sportsman License cannot be purchased online. Applications for this license may be obtained by calling the TWRA Nashville office at 615-781-6500, any of the four regional offices or you can download a application on the TWRA website and mail to the TWRA.
From the reports I have seen so far, Tennessee’s deer harvest numbers already look better than they have in a half-decade.
Over 167,000 deer have been harvested in the Volunteer State during the 2011-12 hunting season and still counting.
That total is better than last year’s mark by more than 4,000 and the highest in a five-year span by about 2,800. These numbers help the Tennessee Conservation folks on the happy side as long as they remain consistent to previous years past.
You should be able to find out more information by logging on to the TWRA website at
I always want to remind each of you that if you have any outdoors information or know someone that does and want to share it with our readers. We invite you to either e-mail or call me at or 731-446-3678. You can also drop that information by the Union City Messenger office on Jackson Street here in Union City. We also like to share photos if you have those as well.
Til next week’s column,
catch ya on the water folks

Published in The Messenger 2.3.12