Actually there’s really no official summer boating season on the calendar but practically everyone agrees the upcoming Memorial Day holiday period sort of kickstarts things.

Every boat ramp on the lake will be crowded the next few days as folks are anxious to get things going. More so this year than ever.

The pandemic has kept a lot of folks inside for long periods of time or greatly reduced the activity level of others.

Now that pretty weather has taken over, legions of recreationalists are chomping at the bit to get outdoors and soak up some sun. From fishing to just boat riding and camping, this weekend will raise the gate and allow the summer season to begin.

Expect a crowd. Fishermen and pleasure boaters will be competing for parking places at launch ramps. Out on the lake it will be crowded too.

This spring has been tough on everything lake-related. From resorts and restaurants to local bait and tackle shops, their season has been reduced and many have suffered loss of revenues during what should have been their peak time.

Do your part these next few days to accommodate your fellow lake dwellers and share the waterways. Everyone has been a victim to some degree of the saga so remember that and have a safe and enjoyable holiday out on the lake.

BLUEGILL TOURNEY RESULTS

It was a cold morning two weeks ago when Covenant Ranch had its annual Bluegill Blowout fishing tournament. The first three weeks or so of May this year felt more like the first three weeks of November in terms of weather.

“It was a tough day of fishing as the fish must have had lockjaw after the cold front that day as numbers of fish caught were down but our number of teams participating was up,” said event spokesman Jon Paul Moody of Covenant Ranch.

“We had twenty-two boats enter the competition, our largest number in the five years we’ve hosted the event. The bluegill and redear didn’t bite too well but some were taken.”

Taking home the $500 top prize and winning title was the Murray team of Josh and Aidan Lovett. The father and son team had a stringer weighing 9.13 pounds.

Second place went to Patrick Parker and Anita Ross of Almo, Ky. with 8.01 pounds. Third place went to Spencer, Tryston and Austin Wagner from Hopkinsville, Ky., with 5.12 pounds. Anglers were allowed to weigh up to 20 fish.

The largest shellcracker taken was a hefty one caught by Parker Ross that tipped the scales at a whopping 1.45 pounds.

That’s a dandy in anyone’s book. Terrell Hill of Unionville weighed in one that scored 1.2 pounds.

“It normally takes almost twenty pounds to win the tournament but not this year. The playing field was even and any team could have won. Just a few ounces could have made a big difference,” said Moody.

The tournament was a successful fundraising event for Covenant Ranch.

WILSON NAMED TWRA DIRECTOR

Bobby Wilson has been named executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The appointment was made following a unanimous vote by the 13-member Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission during a special virtual online meeting May 15. The commission serves as the governing body of the TWRA.

“I am humbled and honored that the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission put their faith and trust in me to lead this agency into the future,” Wilson said. “I am really excited about going into this new role to be able to continue working with an incredibly dedicated and passionate group of men and women who work for this agency. I look forward to the challenges that may lie ahead.”

Originally joining the TWRA in 1979, Wilson moves into his new position on June 1 after serving as deputy executive director since September 2015. As deputy, he was responsible for the coordination of all field activities for the four TWRA regions and central office programs. As the executive director, he will be replacing Ed Carter, who announced his retirement effective at the end of May.

“It is a bittersweet moment for the commission today as we allow Ed Carter to retire and welcome Bobby Wilson into the role of executive director,” said Kurt Holbert, commission chairman. “Bobby’s experience and already longstanding successful career with the agency and established relationships with local, state and national partners will allow the agency to remain a national leader in wildlife conservation.”

Wilson began his TWRA career as a part-time fisheries technician. He became manager of Lake Graham in Madison County in 1980 before becoming a fisheries biologist in Region I from 1984-97. He served as assistant chief of fisheries beginning in 1997 before being named chief in the spring of 2010.

He has been active in organizations on the state and national level during his career including the American Fisheries Society, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). He has been in several leadership roles and recently was appointed to the board of directors for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

A native of Nashville, he is a graduate of Father Ryan High School. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tennessee Tech.

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