Saturday is Free Fishing Day throughout state of Tennessee
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 3:00 pm
Free fishing in Tennessee Saturday for everyone.
On the second Saturday in June each year, the TWRA allows all residents and non-residents of all ages to fish without a license. Children 15 years old or younger may fish without a license for the entire week, starting on Free Fishing Day and continuing through the following Friday. Children younger than 13 may fish without a license at any time of the year.
This is a great time to introduce your children to the outdoors and introduce anyone, any age since the entire day is set aside for free fishing in Tennessee.
Free Fishing Day and Week apply to Tennessee’s public waters, TWRA owned and operated lakes, and state park facilities. Some privately owned pay lakes continue to charge during this special day and week. Anglers may consult with lake operators if there are any questions about a particular facility.
Saturday will also mark the 13th Annual Steve McCadams “Casting For A Cure” Kids Fishing Rodeo, which returns to Carroll Lake for a fun-filled morning where even little fish bring on big smiles.
Girls and boys ages 15 and younger are invited to participate in the free event, which will benefit the American Cancer Society.
Each year McCadams teams up with the TWRA and the big event is fast approaching. More than 3,700 kids from five states have been introduced to the great sport of fishing since the rodeo’s inception. Special plaques and bicycles will be awarded to kids catching the most and biggest fish in four separate age brackets. Age brackets will be ages 5 and younger, 6-9, 11-12 and 13-15.
“Returning to my hometown and hosting this rodeo is my favorite fishing day each year,” said McCadams, nationally-known outdoorsman who lends his name to the event. “Thanks to the help of a TWRA, lots of volunteers and donations, the festivities will build some self-esteem in these future fishermen as they fight fish and cancer at the same time.
“With the help of donors who open their hearts and pocketbooks each year, we send each youngster home with a prize and fond memories. I know we’ve made a positive impression on these kids over the years and in so doing we helped fight cancer at the same time.”
Participants are asked to arrive early and check in at the registration tent, where each contestant will receive a bag of goodies. On-site registration will be from 7-9 a.m. with the actual competition taking place from 9-11 a.m. except for the young age bracket of 5 and younger who will just fish for one hour and weigh in at 10 a.m. Loaner rods will be available courtesy of TWRA, so every kid will have a chance to fish. However, kids are encouraged to bring their own bait and tackle. Bait and some terminal tackle will be available for sale on site. Concessions will be available courtesy of McKenzie Relay For Life teams.
“It’s a great opportunity for kids to learn about the great sport of fishing while sharing some time with their family and friends,” said McCadams, a cancer survivor. “I wanted to do something to help fight this terrible disease that affects so many people. It’s especially sad to see young kids stricken with cancer but, with events like these, we can give them hope as we work together to find a cure.”
Carroll Lake is located one mile east of McKenzie and five miles west of Huntingdon on U.S. High-way 22. For additional information, log on to www.stevemccadams.com or call (731) 642-0360.
Steve is a good friend of my family’s and we are so lucky to have outdoorsmen like Steve who love to give back and share with his and our communities.
Also, the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge is hosting its 21st Annual Youth Fishing Rodeo Saturday down at its headquarters near Walnut Log. The fishing rodeo will be held at ponds near the refuge headquarters at Walnut Log on Highway 157, one mile off of Highway 22 and is open to kids 12 years old and younger. Registration will begin at 7:15 a.m. with fishing from 8 until noon. Only live bait will be allowed. Prizes donated by local sponsors will be given away during the rodeo. Hotdogs and drinks will be provided at no cost, while supplies last.
For additional information concerning the fishing rodeo, contact Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge at (731) 538-2481.
Last week, I mentioned four members of the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club participated in the Tennessee Bass Federation Junior State Championship that was held at New Johnsonville on Kentucky Lake. I am happy to report that, for three years in a row, Reelfoot Lake has another state champion from its club.
Joe Hamilton took overall first place honors in the 15 to 18 age group with five bass that tipped the scales at 12.10 pounds. For his efforts, Joe will now move on to the national championship that will be held near Atlanta on Lake Lanier in the coming months. That event will be hosted by FLW Outdoors.
Others who participated in the tournament and did well are: In the 15 to 18 age group, third place to John Coble Garrett with five bass that weighed 10.43 pounds; 13th place was also claimed by Matt Lamatus. He managed to weigh only one bass in that weighed 1.64 pounds. In the 11 to 14 age group, Lawson Maxwell finished third place overall with a five bass limit that weighed in at 9.46 pounds. Lawson also tied for the overall big bass of the tournament that weighed 3.89 pounds.
My hat’s off to you fellas who have helped put the Reelfoot Lake Junior Club on top in the state of Tennessee. Reelfoot Lake Adult Bass Club president Gordon Fox was thrilled to know another first place trophy was coming back to Obion County and Union City. “I am thrilled to see these kids excel in what they love to do and that is bass fishing, as well as for the several volunteers who take the time to carry these kids around to these tournaments,” he said.
The Reelfoot Junior Club also plans to send a few members in a couple of weeks down to Pickwick Lake to fish the Tennessee Federation Nation Junior State Tournament. More on that in the next couple of weeks.
A major league bass tournament trail is fishing on Kentucky Lake this week. FLW Outdoors is hosting one of its FLW Tour stops right in their back yard on Kentucky Lake. The tournament was slated for Thursday through Sunday. Days 1 and 2 saw the blast-off and weigh-ins take place at the Kentucky Dam Marina site with days 3 and 4 of the tournament traveling to Murray, Ky., for the weigh-ins only inside the CFSB Center on the Campus of Murray State University. Blast-off days 3 and 4 are also at the Kentucky Dam Marina. There will be a FLW Expo on days 3 and 4 and will be on site at the weigh-in on the campus. The expo’s hours are from noon-4 p.m. on days 3 and 4. Lots of fun for all and you can watch the weigh ins live by going to www.flwoutdoors.com.
Reelfoot Lake water levels continue to drop little by little each day. As of right now, the lake has dropped down to 281.70 feet above sea level. The normal lake level is 282.20 feet above sea level. That means Reelfoot lake is 6 to 8 inches below normal. Water temps are in the 80 to 82 degree range. The crappie bite is somewhat slow but the bluegill and bass aren’t to bad either. Catfishing would be the best overall fish to fish for right now. Take it very slow out on Reelfoot Lake until we get enough rain to get the lake water level back up. Make sure you are equipped with a cell phone and a push pole for starters. This might come in handy if you were to get hung on a stump. My advice is not to go out alone and take two boats just in case one gets hung on a stump so it can be pulled out with the other boat.
Water levels on Kentucky Lake are low, a historical low for this time of year. The normal Kentucky lake level is 359.0 feet above sea level. For the last several weeks, actually since May 1 when the lake should have been close to the normal summer pool level mark of 359.0, the Kentucky Lake waters have been holding in the 357.50 range, give or take a inch or so. Until we get rain and several inches, don’t look for the lake to reach the summer mark. Another thing to keep in mind, it will not be long before the TVA folks start wintertime drawdown. This usually takes place in the latter part of the summer months.
I did hear a TVA representative say on a local TV station this past week that it would take 6 to 10 inches of rainfall to get Kentucky Lake up to the summer pool level. But on the other hand, it won’t be long before the lake heads back down toward the winter pool mark later this summer. As for that large amount of rain, it would need to take place over a large coverage area that feeds into the Tennessee River System.
Water temps on Kentucky lake are in the 79 to 81 degree range.
All area bodies of water including rivers as well, especially the Mississippi River needs water and in a bad way. Just think, it is hard to believe that one year ago, we were coming out of record floods in this part of the United States.
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Brent Published in The Messenger 6.8.12