Wood duck and teal season opens Saturday; rains a welcome sight
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 12:00 pm
Tomorrow is the start to the annual wood duck and teal season in Tennessee.
The season runs through Wednesday. You are not to exceed no more than 2 wood ducks with a total bag limit of 4 ducks. The rains should help just a little with water levels in some area lakes and rivers for the hunt as well as a cool-down just in time.
Welcome rains fell late last week as well as into the weekend and then again over mid-week of this week. The rainfall amounts ranged from 1.50 to just over 5 inches in some areas in the first round. The area on the first go-round with the up to 5 inch total was in the southwestern parts of Obion County. Then the second round which took place on Wednesday of this week added rains to areas that have not been as lucky. I recorded 1.75 inches Wednesday and then added on to what I received last weekend and had well over 3 inches just in Union City alone. Then areas just south of Union City in Kenton and over toward the Obion County/Weakley County line (mainly southeastern part of Obion County) on Wednesday had 3 to 5 inches of rainfall. Nevertheless, we are certainly blessed to have received the rains we did with more on the way today, tonight and tomorrow. But at the same time, not nearly enough to really help the water levels in Reelfoot Lake that much. We are going to have to have a lot more rainfall that will be able to runoff into Reelfoot and other ponds and lakes to make much of a difference.
From what I understand, the lake has come up just a few inches, 3 to 5 if not more. According to the USGS Website, the lake at mid-week was in the 280.25 range and up from a season low of 279.97 feet above sea level. Then add what we might get today, tonight and tomorrow; well, every little bit does help. Reelfoot Lake’s normal water level is usually 282.20 feet above sea level, which still has the lake a good 24 inches low.
The Mississippi River should and has come up with the heavier rains falling to our northwest last week with the remains of Isaac which basically went to our north and northeast, which will allow the runoff into the Ohio River as well, which will be good.
One statistic I was told about the Mississippi River, the waters that are let out of Barkley and Kentucky Lakes are normally responsible for 6 percent of the waters in the Mississippi River. But as low as the river has been the last few months, Barkley and Kentucky lakes have been responsible for 22 percent of the water going into the river.
If we get good rains today and tonight, the levels mentioned above will change and be on the rise for sure. Sure hope so!
Word is, just show up and bass fish anywhere on Kentucky Lake where there is grass present and it should be no problem at catching them. I plan to do that come Monday myself. Tie on a Strike King Sexy Frog, Strike King Rage Toad or a Strike KIng Rage Shad and fish the outside edge of the grass and hold on. This is a great method to catch fish. I understand there is plenty of grass for everyone to fish.
From the TWRA
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division announced its proposed 2013 fishing regulation changes that will be presented to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its October meeting. The TWRA made the proposals at the Aug. 23-24 meeting of the TFWC in Nashville.
The proposals cover a variety of topics including Alabama rigs, skipjack herring, wild trout streams, walleye on Cherokee Reservoir and bass on Pickwick, Parksville and Cordell Hull reservoirs. Other proposals limit the number of commercial licenses, the addition of new commercial gear and define waters open to commercial fishing.
One of the most discussed topics this past year concerned Alabama rigs (fishing lures). One of the proposals would limit anglers to three hooks per rod. TWRA chief of fisheries Bobby Wilson said “this change should simplify the rules on Alabama and umbrella rigs.”
Regulations surrounding multi-lure arrays created much confusion among anglers and TWRA staff this past year. The three-hook proposal is much simpler to interpret and offers a compromise between anglers that wish to fish five hooks with those that feel only one hook should be used on multi-lure arrays. Single point, double point, and treble (3 points) hooks would each be counted as one hook.
The public is invited to provide comments on the 2013 proposals until Oct. 15. Comments may be sent to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov, or TWRA, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. Please include “2013 Fish Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions. The TFWC will vote on the fishing proposals at its October meeting that will be held Oct. 26 at Reelfoot Lake State Park near Tiptonville. If approved, the changes would become effective March 1, 2013.
Also, a new application period will began this past Wednesday, Sept. 5 for the computerized hunt drawing system to be used for 2012-13 pool/waterfowl blind sites for Bogota and Thorny Cypress Wildlife Management Area in Dyer County (Region 1).
The application period will continue through midnight Oct. 10.
The application form, similar to WMA quota hunts, is available online at the TWRA’s website (www.tnwildlife.org) and will soon be available in printed format at license agents. All participating WMAs are on the one application with a total of 42 blind sites. An applicant can only apply once per year for these areas.
For the 2012-13 season, there are significant changes to the process. The number of hunters allowed per pool/blind has been increased from four to five. Also, in an effort to increase the use of the waterfowl hunting sites in this drawing, parties of up to five will be allowed to apply together, instead of only individuals.
This means a group of five, who apply as a party, will have five chances of being drawn. Additionally, any member of a group that is drawn can use that blind site and bring guests as long as the total number of people hunting the drawn site does not exceed five. In years’ past, only the one person drawn could use the site and if that person did not hunt, then no one was allowed to hunt that site.
Youth Quota Hunts For Bogota and Thorny Cypress, youth ages 6-15 may apply for youth-only quota waterfowl hunts. Youth quota hunt information is on the same quota hunt application with the other waterfowl quota hunts. If successful, the youth party must be accompanied by at least one non-hunting adult. Party may not exceed five youth. This is a change from last season’s hand held drawing.
Talking about youth, this year will be different when it comes to the youth waterfowl hunts. Instead of one weekend being on Reelfoot Lake and another weekend being the state youth hunt, this year will be two Saturdays, back to back — Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 of 2013, both of which are Saturdays. You will be able to hunt both the state areas and Reelfoot lake zone both Saturdays. This is open to youth from the ages of 6 to 15. More on this as the season nears.
The Reelfoot “Love the Lake” Lakeshore Cleanup is set for Nov. 17. The Reelfoot Lake State Natural Area will be the focal point. For more information you can contact Robin Wooten with the Tennessee Natural Areas Program and state park rangers, Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Reservations are required for this event and why I am including this in my column so early. Reservations may be made by calling 731-253-9652 or email Robin.Wooten@tn.gov or David.Haggard@tn.gov.
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Published in The Messenger 9.7.12