How about some late fall and winter trout fishing close to home? Get your tackle ready as you’ll have the opportunity to do just that both next week and again in mid-January.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced its 2019-20 winter trout stocking schedule. The TWRA plans to release about 90,000 rainbow trout into Tennessee waters through March.
Locally, the Paris Eiffel Tower Park pond located on Eiffel Tower Road extended off Volunteer Drive will be stocked Wednesday. Other area stockings occurring on the same day will be McKenzie City Park, Milan City Park. Martin City Park and Union City’s Reelfoot Packing Plant Lake.
The program provides numerous close-to-home trout fishing opportunities for anglers during the winter months. These fisheries also provide a great opportunity to introduce children or first-time anglers to fishing.
There are more than 40 locations for this year’s winter trout stocking program, including spots in all of the TWRA’s four regions, with emphasis in Region I (West Tennessee) and Region II (Middle Tennessee).
The trout will average about 10 inches in length. The daily creel limit is seven, but there is no size limit. Anglers are reminded that a trout license is needed in addition to the fishing license.
Please note that the dates and locations are subject to change. Updates can be found on the TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org in the fishing section and the 2019-20 Winter Trout Stocking icon. For areas not listed in this program, see the 2019-20 stocking schedule and tailwater schedule on the website.
Fishermen ages 16-64 must possess a Type 022 license, which is an annual license costing $22 or they can obtain a one-day (Type 023) at a cost of $11.50. These trout licenses are supplemental tags and required in addition to the basic fishing license.
Eiffel Tower Park and other lakes and ponds in the region will be stocked again on Jan. 15, according to the TWRA’s schedule. However, the agency says the dates are subject to change if bad weather enters the picture.
DEER HARVEST UPDATE
Statewide deer harvest stood at 88,548 at midweek but that figure is changing daily as hunters are doing pretty well across Tennessee’s 95 counties.
Locally, Henry County hunters are having a good year as well. Hunters here had checked in 1,888 at midweek, which ranks second in the statewide total among the county listing.
Currently the top harvest goes to Montgomery County as hunters there have checked in 2,280 thus far.
A spot check of neighboring counties shows Stewart closely trailing Henry by only two deer as their total harvest was 1,886. Carroll County stood at 1,607 followed by Weakley with 1,485. Benton’s total was 1,044.
Meanwhile, there’s still a lot of hunting season left so you’ll have ample time to put more venison in the freezer.
Hunters are also reminded of the two programs underway at the Henry County Sheriff’s Department to help feed the hungry. Take your deer there and contribute it to either the Hunters for the Hungry statewide program or the local Deputies For The Hungry.
For information, call the Sheriff’s Department at 642-1672.
LATE FALL FISHING
Kentucky Lake anglers have been playing the weather, watching and waiting for decent days when light winds and mild temperatures descend. Lately, they’ve been rewarded with a few nice days that allowed some pretty good fishing conditions sandwiched in between rainy and windy ones now and then.
Lake levels at midweek were in the 355.9-feet range in the Kentucky Dam area as the reservoir has been rising slowly since some heavy rains across the region last week.
The TVA is pushing a lot of water through the system, resulting in considerable current now present in the main Tennessee River channel.
The reservoir had been down around its low ebb of winter pool in late November but has risen above that lately and is now almost two feet above the low mark. Water color is clear across the reservoir.
Surface temperatures are staying around the 47- to 50-degree range.
Crappie fishermen have scored some decent catches lately. Most report fish are deeper than they were a couple of weeks ago as anglers are backing off the deep sides of many lake ledges and working the 18- to 22-feet depths.
Bottom bumping with double hook rigs armed with live shiner minnows has paid dividends as have single jig presentations. The fish are relating to deep structure off the dropoffs and showing interest in jigs and jigs tipped with minnows.
Some of the more productive color combinations have been red/chartreuse, pink/pearl, black/chartreuse, blue/white and similar variations. Painted leadheads in the fluorescent green, pink and red have been appealing as well.
Guide Andy Hicks reported catching some good size fish last week in the mouth of Big Sandy while working main lake ledges. He said the grade of fish was good with several fish taken in the 1-1/4- to 1-1/2-pound range.
Elsewhere, boats working midrange stakebeds and brushpiles were not finding big numbers in the 8- to 12-foot depths.
That can change if mild weather returns and surface temperatures warm to the extent schools of shad move up to shallow zones and bring the crappie with them.
From the late fall bass fishermen comes little word of success. Not many boats have encountered consistent fishing lately but an occasional smallmouth has been taken now and then by anglers tossing grubs along rock bluffs and ledges.
There’s been a lot of current present on the main river channel lately as the TVA is pulling a lot of water through Kentucky Dam in an attempt to get the reservoir back down to normal winter pool elevation.
Anglers can expect current to remain present for another week or so.
QUAIL FOREVER HOSTS YOUTH HUNT
From the local Quail Forever chapter based in Henry County comes word of a successful youth hunt held back in early November.
Thanks to a grant from Friends of the National Rifle Association, the local chapter of Quail Forever had its annual event with some 28 registered participants. Good weather provided a nice day in the field where youngsters got to witness hunting dogs at work and experience some dogs holding up to their breeding reputation.
Held at the 4-E Kennels Shooting Preserve in Huntingdon, which is owned by Clint Ellis, youngsters got to see real hunting scenarios, flushing quail to flight as guides escorted the young hunters in the field.
In addition to some great hunting the kids got to use a new Daisy inflatable BB-gun range plus test their aim at clay pigeons.
The Ellis family treated the youngsters to homemade soups and delicious cobblers for lunch too.
“It was an awesome event as these young hunters learned safe hunting skills and ethics while sharing the outdoors with friends and just having a good time,” said chapter spokesman Fran Holberg.