Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society is cultivating young anglers who may someday work their way up the ladder to state, regional and the national tournament trail. There could be a future BASS Classic among the ranks of these future fishermen.
The 2018 National Championship is underway here on Kentucky Lake out of Paris Landing State Park.
BASS signed a three-year contract with the Henry County Tourism Authority, Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Bethel University for the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series National Championship presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods to be held on Kentucky Lake in Paris.
The prestigious national championship began Thursday.
Four regional high school opens — Central, Midwestern, Western and Southern — qualify student anglers for the national championship. Top competitors from state high school championships and from sanctioned team trails also earn invitations to compete in the high school championship.
The high school championship’s full field will compete on the first two days, after which the field will be cut to the Top 10 on the final day.
The daily takeoffs and first two days’ weigh-ins will take place at Paris Landing State Park, with the final day weigh-in being held in downtown Paris.
“Henry County is excited to once again host the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series National Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods out of Paris Landing on beautiful Kentucky Lake, ” said Henry County Tourism Authority CEO David Hamilton.
In addition, the Junior Bassmaster Championship was held Tuesday and Wednesday on Carroll County’s 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake in nearby Huntingdon.
HUMMINGBIRD FEST AT LBL
Woodlands Nature Station will host their 22nd annual Hummingbird Festival marking the great hummingbird migration through Land Between the Lakes from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to this special event is $7 for ages 13 and up; $5, ages 5-12; and free for children 4 and under.
“If you love hummingbirds, come and enjoy this unique experience as hundreds of hummingbirds migrate south to Central America passing through Land Between the Lakes.” said John Pollpeter, lead interpreter at Woodlands Nature Station. “You can see as many as 200 of them in a single day buzzing around our native gardens, fueling up for the next leg of their long journey to the Yucatan Peninsula, 1,086 miles away.”
The festival will have hummingbird banding demonstrations ongoing all weekend as biologists catch, tag and release hummingbirds as part of a long-term research project. Discover how you can help hummingbirds and other migrating wildlife such as monarchs, bats, dragonflies and songbirds right at your own home. Stroll through our outdoor gallery of local wildlife artists, shop at the native plant sale and enjoy programs, demonstrations, kids’ crafts, games and a hummingbird gift shop. Plan on spending the day by bringing a picnic or get food at the on-site food vendor.
If you are a photographer and are hoping to catch that one of a kind shot, check out LBL’s hummingbird photo contest going on for the month of August. See the contest rules at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/wpcontent/uploads/2018/06/HB_PhotoContest_2018_Rules.pdf.
August will be a busy month for hummingbird enthusiasts. In addition to the 22nd annual Hummingbird Festival, there will be two other events for birders to visit.
Additional hummingbird banding programs will be held Aug. 11 at Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and again on Aug. 25 at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge at Dover. Hours are 9-11 a.m. at TNWR Visitor Center and 8-11 a.m. at CCNWR at Dover.
For additional information on both events, contact TNWR office at 642-2091.
COOLER DAYS AID ANGLERS
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene received a reprieve this week from the hot and humid conditions that have lingered for weeks. It’s ironic that a few cooler days with lower humidity arrived at the end of July and early August.
No one is complaining about the unusual cooler weather as anglers deserved a break. Back in June, the lion’s share of the month was hot and humid. July was about the same.
Responding to the cooler conditions have been surface temperatures. Temps dropped this week down to the 83-degree range for a few days. Readings had been staying in the upper 80s, so that’s another break for fishermen.
Water color remains clear, and lake levels continue a path toward winter pool on TVA’s curve for annual drawdown. Things are about normal for this time of year.
Lake levels are projected to be around 357.5 feet above sea level this weekend in the Kentucky Dam sector, while upstream around New Johnsonville, the elevation will be slightly lower at 357.4 feet. As always, the projections depend on rainfall throughout the valley.
With the exception of bass anglers, not a lot of boats have been on the lake lately. That will change thanks to the cool snap, but prior to midweek conditions, most anglers had been hitting the lake in the early morning hours and pitching in the towel before midday.
A host of young bass anglers have been testing the water this week in the BASS High School National Championship out of Paris Landing State Park. The event has a big draw, and the youngsters have been zooming about the lake as though it was a spring outing.
Kentucky Lake can be intimidating to even veteran anglers. The summer months sometimes add another hurdle to the bass puzzle, too!
Most of the better stringers of bass continue to come from main lake ledges where boaters are targeting submerged humps, ledges and the edge of the main river channel itself.
With lower lake levels now in progress, shoreline habitats have diminished, and the shallow bite has declined. A few fish have lingered around boat docks and piers where some cover and shade has appealed, especially if baitfish are present.
A few scattered mayfly hatches have occurred and attracted some bass to shallow, steep banks at times, but hatches have been inconsistent.
Several bass were hanging around midrange depths of 10 to 14 feet where submerged crappie beds were providing attractive structure. Brush piles and stake beds always seem to hold bass even during the peak of hot summer months.
A slow current has been present at times, and when it’s there, those deeper drop-offs seem to produce some finicky bass that move up to feed once shad schools are roaming and feeding on plankton.
Still popular on the menu of anglers have been jig and split-tail trailers, big Texas-rigged worms in the green pumpkin pepper or cotton candy color ranges, big deep diving crankbaits and even some giant spoons.
Crappie anglers have endured pretty tough times overall. A few boats have been seen trolling crankbaits at times, while others were vertical fishing live minnows and some jigs over midrange stake beds and brush piles. Several small fish are still the norm.
Depths of 11 to 13 feet were holding some fish in the man-made structures. Deeper drop-offs with structures in the 18 to 25 feet haven’t produced very well. Seems a lot of the normal summer holes have not held fish as of late.
Catfishermen are playing the current and finding a few fish around the Paris Landing Ned McWherter Bridge piers lately. Depths of 35 to 40 feet were holding fish pretty good, and anglers were using nightcrawlers and chicken livers to score best.
A few scattered boats were drifting along the main channel banks and utilizing bottom bumping rigs, too. When current is present, the bite has been decent. Without the current, the fish are somewhat lethargic.
RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced recently in the U.S. Senate. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation that recommends funding for those fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need across the country.
“Senator Alexander has championed several wildlife-related issues specific to Tennessee, and his leadership on this national issue will be instrumental,” said Ed Carter, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “His longtime personal interest in wildlife and the outdoors allows a unique personal connection as an advocate for this critical legislation.”
The legislation recommends that Congress authorize $1.3 billion annually from energy development on federal lands and waters to the existing Wildlife Conservation Restoration program to conserve the full array of fish and wildlife. This solution, proposed initially by leaders of the energy, outdoor recreation retail, manufacturing and automotive sectors, as well as sportsmen and women and other conservation groups, is complementary to existing natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs. It will not require taxpayers or businesses to pay more, but instead allows all Americans to become investors in fish and wildlife conservation.
The Senate bill complements the House version introduced in December 2017 which has gained strong, bipartisan co-sponsorship due to its innovative approach to solving America’s wildlife crisis, with the current list of co-sponsors growing to more than 75 members.
“Tennessee has one of the most diverse populations of fish and wildlife in the country,” said Pandy Upchurch, assistant chief for the TWRA Biodiversity Division. “While some of our species are thriving, others are continuing to face increasing challenges.”
There are 1,499 species in Tennessee considered to be species of greatest conservation need. There are 79 animals listed as threatened or endangered.
At the request of Congress, every state has developed a State Wildlife Action Plan to assess the health of their state’s fish and wildlife and outline conservation actions necessary to sustain them. The Restoring America’s Wildlife Act will help Tennessee implement its State Wildlife Action Plan. This will help address important wildlife issues that have been traditionally underfunded and is now the nation’s core program for preventing endangered species listings.
Aug. 3-4 — BASS High School National Championship, PLSP/Carroll County Lake.
Aug. 4 — TWRA statewide duck blind draw for Wildlife Management Areas.
Aug. 4 — Kentucky Lake Waterfowl Festival, Big Sandy City Park.
Aug. 4-5 — Hummingbird Festival, Woodlands Nature Center, LBL.
Aug. 11 — Hummingbird banding, TNWR Visitor Center.
Aug. 18 — Squirrel season opens at LBL.
Aug. 24-26 — Archery antlered deer season private lands only.
Aug. 25 — Free hunting day and statewide squirrel season opens.
Aug. 25 — Hummingbird banding, Cross Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Dover.