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Wet spring continues to make headlines for those wanting to enjoy the outdoors

Wet spring continues to make headlines for those wanting to enjoy the outdoors

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 9:05 pm
By: By Brent Callicott

Wet weather continues to grab the outdoors headlines just about every week.
Last weekend, our area was once again hit with some heavy rainfall, not near as much as our friends to the north received from Paducah, Ky., and farther north. Many areas up that way received from 8 to 12 inches of rainfall. I know my good friend Mark Menendez reported he received over 9 inches in around an 8-hour period.
More rain also passed through the area mid-week of this week.
But we need the rain, not that much at one time, but as I mentioned in previous columns, one to one and a half inch rainfall amounts per 7 days are welcome.
Right now, Reelfoot Lake still remains above normal. Kentucky Lake has been holding around the summer pool level mark after the high water mark it set a few weeks back reaching the 364 feet above sea level mark. Kentucky Lake’s normal summer pool level mark is 359.0 feet above sea level and 354.0 mark in the winter months.
Reelfoot Lake is currently sitting in the 282.95 feet above sea level range. Just about a week and a half ago, Reelfoot had dropped to 282.50 feet above sea level but after last weekend’s rains, the lake rose very quickly. The normal lake level according to the USGS is 282.20 feet above sea level. I get all of my information from the USGS website.
On the tournament bass fishing scene, two events to report on with local interest.
Last weekend, several members, fished in the 2013 Tennessee High School State Bass Fishing Championship Tournament that was held on Nickajack Reservoir located on the Tennessee River system near Chattanooga.
There were 70 two-man teams of high school anglers who took to the waters in hope of having the heaviest stringers at the end of the day.
The Obion County Central High School bass angling team was represented well at the event and overall did pretty well.
Claiming fifth place overall was the duo of Dalton Pitts and Dylan Via. They had 5 bass that weighed 12.14 pounds. Sixth place was also claimed by two Obion County anglers with 5 bass that weighed 12.7 pounds. Also finishing in 32nd place was the team of John Garrett and Jo Hamilton with a weight of 7.7 pounds.
Congrats to all of you and thanks for representing your school, community, family and friends in the manner that you did.
Last Friday and Saturday, the annual Triton Boats owner tournament was held out of the Paris Landing State Park Marina on Kentucky Lake.
Over 350 boats tested their skills against not only each other but Mother Nature with high winds, storms and rough waters. Folks still managed to catch lots and lots of bass.
It took a two-day total weight of 44.10 pounds to claim first place. Overall big bass of the tournament weighed 8.04 pounds. More numbers on this long running event, there were 2,399 bass weighed in during the two days of competition. They weighed a total of 6,931.28 pounds. That averaged out to be 2.88 pounds per bass, which is close to a three pound average. Very good, I would say.
Several locals fished this event. Phillip Harris of Union City and his brother, Larry Harris of Huntington managed to finish 16th overall with a two-day total weight of 35.34 pounds. The were pretty consistent both days fishing with their first day weighing in 18.64 pounds and then the second day 16.70 pounds.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission set the state’s 2013-14 hunting seasons at its May 30-31 meeting, which concluded last Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Ray Bell Region II Building.
TWRA staff had presented the recommendations on upcoming hunting seasons at its April meeting with few changes for 2013-14. Tennessee deer hunters will again see increased opportunities for harvest in the coming year.
Tennessee’s deer hunting is divided into three units, with Unit L being the most liberal. Crockett County in West Tennessee was approved to be moved to Unit L. Numerous counties in units A and B were recommended for increases in antlerless opportunities.
During fall turkey season, several counties in southern Middle Tennessee are having their bag limits reduced. The bag limits in Giles, Wayne and Lawrence counties will be one while Lincoln County will be three. The fall turkey season counties included three expansions to include Meigs, Rhea and Roane counties to have bag limits of one. Bag limits in the West Tennessee counties of Carroll and Weakley were increased from one to three.
The statewide changes to Wildlife Management Areas include cave closures (to assist in the control of white nose syndrome) on all areas unless authorized by TWRA. All WMAs open to statewide seasons would have a Jan. 15 closure for quail hunting.
In regard to manner and means, the boating and law enforcement division proposed that the air rifles regulation wording be changed to air guns, with a maximum caliber of .25.
TWRA celebrates its 20th anniversary this year as a participant in the Tennessee Clean Vessel Act Grant Program. The commission heard a report from Ed Poolos statewide CVA, Boating Infrastructure Grant Program Coordinator. The TWRA has funded 181 projects totaling $3.6 million to help protect the state’s waterways.
A budget expansion for a grant for more than $1.3 million was approved that will be awarded to the City of Chattanooga. The grant was made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service BIG program. The grant is to build or extend dockage at four prominent locations along the downtown south shore of the Tennessee River.
A reminder, Free Fishing Day in Tennessee is tomorrow and anyone (resident or non-resident) of any age may fish free without a license in Tennessee’s public waters. There is even more good news, if you are 15 years old or younger, you may fish the entire week, beginning on the free fishing day and running through the following June 14th.
Tomorrow and next week are great opportunities to introduce children to the joys and excitement of a day on the water catching fish. Not only is fishing a great family activity, it helps make us more aware of our natural environment.
Free Fishing Day and Week apply to Tennessee’s public waters, agency-owned and operated lakes, and state park facilities. Some privately owned pay lakes continue to charge during this special day and week. Please consult with lake operators if you have any questions about the status of a particular facility
Lots of time and effort goes into putting these rodeos on. Most of them will have food and tons and tons of prizes to give away.
Fishing rodeos scattered around the West Tennessee area the first 3 weeks of June. Here are three.
The 22nd Annual Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge Youth Fishing Rodeo will be held tomorrow. This will be at the NWR Shop located at 4343 Highway 157 near the Walnut Log Community. The event hours are from 7 a.m. until noon and kids ages 1-12 are eligible to fish. For more information, contact Tara Dowdy at the NWR Office at 731-538-2481.
Also, the longtime running of the Steve McCadams “Casting For A Cure” Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held at the Carroll Lake in McKenzie just off of Highway 22. This is where the event has always been held. Event hours are 9-11 a.m. and register before these times. Ages 1-15 years old are eligible to fish. For more information, you can contact Steve McCadams at 731-642-0360.
The Martin Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting their annual kids fishing rodeo on Saturday at the Martin Recreation Complex located on Highway 45 next to Westview High School. Ages 2-14 years of age can fish the event. You can contact Kim Kirby at 731-587-6784 for more information.
This is a great opportunity to get kids out and exposed to fishing. This is planned in the morning hours to make sure it might be cooler and you still have the afternoon to do other things.
For a complete list, visit the TWRA website at
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
                       — Brent

Published in The Messenger 6.7.13

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