Since the muzzleloader and regular gun season opened up Henry County, hunters have moved up to second place in the statewide deer harvest among the state’s 95 counties.
At midweek, hunters in Henry County had checked in a total of 1,287 deer. Still holding on to the top spot is Montgomery County, where hunters have checked in a total of 1,447 since season opened.
Henry County harvest numbers were sluggish in the early portion of the season. Bow season seemed to be hot and dry, and that curtailed activity for a lot of hunters.
Since then, the youth hunt weekend and muzzleloader segment seemed to really boost the harvest totals, plus last Saturday’s opener for the regular gun season pushed the total up dramatically.
WMA OFF-LIMIT PERIOD
Several wildlife management areas across West Tennessee are off limits to boating and access five days prior to the start of the first and second segments of duck season each year.
The closure allows ducks to feed and rest without disturbance prior to the two opening weekends. That has worked in favor of hunters in these units.
The units have been closed this week and the closure resumes next week, Nov. 26-30. The second segment of duck season opens Dec. 1.
LATE FALL CRAPPIE BITE SLUGGISH
The late fall crappie bite along Kentucky Lake has been a bit sluggish this week in the aftermath of a significant cold front that dropped snow across the area last week.
Presently, lake levels are more than two feet above their normal winter pool elevation, with readings in the 357.6 range at midweek. The reservoir has fluctuated a bit this past week; falling at times but rebounding, as well.
Surface temperatures are in the 50- to 52-degree range. Water color is a bit stained in the Paris Landing sector and upper Big Sandy basin, but not too dingy to fish.
Since the cold, runoff from the melting snow action has tapered off for most crappie anglers.
Both deep-water anglers and those fishing midrange to shallow manmade fish attractors have struggled this week to put together decent numbers of keeper-size fish.
A week or so ago, some decent catches were reported by anglers stalking the deeper main lake ledges in depths of 22-25 feet. Some anglers fished even deeper than that!
However, this week anglers ventured back out when calm days allowed and returned to the productive areas that had paid dividends last week, only to find the fish reluctant to bite.
Experimenting with both live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows didn’t seem to stimulate much activity for most anglers, although a few rare reports credited low numbers of boaters managing to land double-digit stringers.
At midweek, temps were already beginning to moderate and projected to be in the upper 50s or warmer by this weekend.
That should help the crappie bite, but it’s not what statewide duck hunters wanted to see for the opening weekend of the statewide season!
Tipping jigs with minnows is still the most productive bait presentation and poplar color combinations have been chartreuse with silver sparkle skirts or similar variations.
Bass anglers have diminished in numbers, as not a lot of boats are challenging the cold weather — but that will change on any given day once the sun pops out.
Some are fishing jig and craw combos, Rattle Trap style crankbaits and deep-running crankbaits in shad-colored variations.
A lot of current has been present along the main Tennessee River channel area this week and will continue for more than another week as TVA pushes a lot of water through the system and attempts to bring the reservoir back to normal winter pool elevation, which will create more storage capacity should heavy rains return.
Watch for some improvement this weekend and next week if moderate weather lingers.
Saturday-Sunday — Statewide duck season opens.
Nov. 26-30 — Off limit period for Kentucky Lake TWRA Wildlife Management Areas.
Dec. 1-2 — Statewide duck season and Reelfoot Lake Zone reopen.
Dec. 8 — Final segment of dove season opens.