Holly Fork Shooting Complex, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department and Tosh Farms have teamed up to host the first dove hunt to benefit the Henry County Youth Shooting Sports program. The hunt is scheduled for Saturday and the event kicks off with a big lunch beginning at 11 a.m.
Prior to the 1 p.m. hunt, participants will have a chance to hone their shooting skills with a few games on the range.
For a donation of $100, a hunter get two spots in the dove field, lunch, shooting games and helps the local shooting program, known as the No-Fly Zone.
Henry County’s shooting program has won several trophies on the state and national level the last few years.
For additional information on Saturday’s event, contact Sheriff Monte Belew at 336-4699 or Jamie Orr at 641-1724.
FRIENDS OF NRA BANQUET
Henry County Friends of the National Rifle Association will host its annual banquet on Sept. 21 at the Paris Convention Center, 1510 E. Wood St. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Tickets, which cost $30, are now on sale at JMC Firearms, Hulme Sporting Goods and from Robert Horner. You must purchase tickets by Sept. 14 to be eligible for early bird entry, which consists of a lot of nice door prizes.
You can also purchase tickets online by logging onto www.friendsofnra.org/tn/events.
Friends of NRA has done a lot for the local shooting sports program by funding grants for groups and children’s gun safety. More than $117,000 has been donated to the area through NRA Foundation grants. NRA membership is not required to attend the event.
The committee asks that you purchase your tickets in advance. And, to be eligible for a list of nice door prizes you must buy tickets by Sept. 14.
For more information, contact Horner at 333-9151.
REFUGE PHOTO CONTEST
The Friends of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting its sixth annual photography contest. The contest is hosted by the Friends group in sponsorship with Danny Kimberlin and Gene Gulish to help raise awareness of the refuge and the many photo opportunities that it offers.
No entry fee is required, however proceeds from any donations received from the entrants will be used by the Friends group to assist with funding of projects and activities that take place on the refuge, such as bringing field trips to the refuge, trail projects and providing free events to the public.
The digital entries will be accepted through 4 p.m. Oct. 2, and can be hand-delivered or mailed to the visitors center, located at 1371 Wildlife Drive, Springville 38256. The digital files can be sent by email to email@example.com. Winners will be announced at a reception at the visitors center at 2 p.m. Nov. 2.
There will be no entry fee but any donations will be accepted. There will be an adult category and a youth category for photographers under 18. Cash prizes paid out are $50 for first place in each category and $100 for Best of Show.
In addition, you may have a copy sent to you by contacting Jean Owens at 731-697-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LATE SUMMER FISHING UPDATE
Kentucky Lake’s late summer fishing scene has shown some improvement lately for crappie and catfishermen. There’s already a touch of fall in the air and that seasonal change is fast approaching.
Lake levels continue to fall slowly and the TVA’s drawdown curve is pretty much on schedule. Elevation this week hovered around the 356-feet range at Kentucky Dam and only a few inches higher upstream in the New Johnsonville area.
Surface temperatures cooled slightly and this week were in the 83- to 84-degree range. Water color is still clear across the reservoir.
There has been slow current present in the main Tennessee River channel, which has worked in favor of catfishermen stalking the edges of the main river channel. Depths of 25-35 feet have given up some decent stringers lately for anglers using nightcrawlers as their bait of choice.
The cooler nights the last week or so have helped curtail the heat and humidity to some degree and made the early morning outings quite nice for anglers. Those warm days haven’t totally disappeared but conditions are more enjoyable on the lake when compared to a month ago.
Crappie fishing has shown some improvement lately with a few more anglers chalking up decent stringers at times. Several stringers have been taken from relatively shallow to midrange depths this week.
Stalking depths of 5-10 feet in some areas have produced a few crappie as have midrange depths of 10-14 feet at times. A few boats have attempted to locate some deep water fish while vertical fishing minnows and jigs around brushpiles but the deep bite has been inconsistent.
Live minnows have been the bait of choice as the crappie have shown a preference for minnows over jigs but some fish have been taken by anglers tipping 1/16-ounce jigs with minnows. Tipping the jigs has also paid dividends.
Some boats have been slow trolling or pushing spider rigs in the back of big bays. Other techniques producing have been vertical fishing minnows down in stakebeds and brushpiles where fish are holding tight at times around the submerged structures.
Finding crappie up in shallow to midrange depths may seem odd during hot weather but the fish follow their forage base, namely threadfin shad, and that seems to be where the baitfish are at times. Cloudy or rainy days will especially help out the shallow pattern as the fish are more aggressive with cloud cover as the bite subsides at midday when the bright sun changes things.
With cooler days now entering the picture, plus lower lake levels, the fall transition will slowly begin to take place as fish move up. Another week or so of cooler days will see significant improvement in the shallow bite.
Bass fishing has been a bit sluggish lately as anglers haven’t been able to boat big numbers. Finding schooling fish has not been in the cards this summer.
In the past, those abundant grassbeds were full of baitfish and the late summer pattern in the backs of bays was dependable but that’s not the case nowadays. Although bass haven’t moved up to shallow gravel banks thus far, that pattern should emerge in the days and weeks ahead. Early morning and late afternoon gravel banks should start holding bass that move in to feed in the lowlight conditions when small insects such as midges hatch.
The midge hatch attracts the shad and close on their trail are bass who know the early morning and late afternoon buffets occur for short windows of opportunity. Tossing Rattle Trap style lures and assorted topwater is usually productive.
Still producing a few scattered bass is the typical summer pattern of main lake ledges. Anglers working the main lake ledges are playing the current when it’s present and tossing swim baits, crankbaits, Carolina rigged worms and craws, jig and craw combos and some occasional suspending jerk baits.
Shallow style bass anglers are finding a few fish lingering around stickups and exposed crappie beds. Casting spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits has worked well around shallow structure, plus boat houses and roadbeds.
Once surface temperatures fall back into the upper 70s, which should occur soon, Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene should see overall improvement. Fall officially arrives on Sept. 23 if you’re keeping score on the calendar, but fall patterns usually start well before the season arrives.
FISHING COMMENT DEADLINE NEARS
Anglers are reminded of the approaching deadline to submit comments on fishing regulations.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division presented its proposed 2020-21 fishing regulation proposals during the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s August meeting held in Greeneville.
The public is invited to provide comments on the proposals. The deadline for sport fishing comments is Thursday. To provide comments, email the TWRA at email@example.com, or write to TWRA Fisheries Division, 5107 Edmondson, Nashville 37211. The commission will vote on the bait, commercial and sportfish regulations at its Sept. 19-20 meeting at the TWRA Region II Building in Nashville. If approved, the sport fishing changes would become effective March 1, 2020.
EARLY DUCK SEASON NEARS
Waterfowlers will soon see the arrival of the early wood duck and teal season combo. It opens on Sept. 14 for five consecutive days. After the first five days, hunters get another four days of teal only opportunity.
Hunters are reminded to obtain the Federal Duck Stamp, which is required for all hunters age 16 and over. It’s available at your local post office and a few select license agents carry them as well. However, don’t wait until the last minute and hope to find a stamp early some morning on the way to your hunting spot.
Federal Duck Stamps are $25 and must be signed by the hunter.
REFUGE DISCOVERY SERIES
The refuge will host a “Monarchs, Bees and Pollinator Event” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 14 at the refuge visitor center as it celebrates our all-important pollinators. The day will feature speakers and activities that focus on the Monarch butterfly and other butterflies, bees, insect pollinators and on enhancing their habitats.
Organizations assisting with the day include the Friends of the Refuge, Quail Forever, and the Kentucky Lake Beekeepers Association.
A series of speakers will present programs that will include:
10:30 a.m. — “Monarchs and Native Butterflies”, Kimberley Vensel, Butler Butterfly Lady.
11:30 a.m. — “Bees and Beekeeping,” Bernie Leslie/James Hinton, Kentucky Lake Beekeepers Association.
1 p.m. — “Creating Pollinator Plots,” Fran Holberg, Quail Forever. The day will also include activities for the family on the back patio. A demonstration bee hive and beekeeping equipment will be on hand provided by the beekeepers association. Quail Forever will be on hand to show participants its adjacent pollinator plot.
The day will also include a tour of the refuge’s new demonstration pollinator patch, where live Monarch caterpillars, butterflies, and native plants are easy to see.
The Friends group will also have children’s crafts and will be showing children how to plant milkweed seeds in cups. Free milkweed seeds will be available for all attending.
The refuge has monthly free programs at the new visitor center sponsored by the Friends group that attempts to connect people with nature. For additional information, call 642-2091.
Saturday — Holly Fork/Shooting Sport Dove Hunt, Holly Fork Shooting Complex.
Thursday — TWRA fishing comment deadline.
Sept. 14-18 — Wood duck/teal season opens.
Sept. 14 — Refuge Discovery Series, TNWR Visitor Center, “Monarchs, Bees and Pollinators.”
Sept. 19-22 — Teal only segment.
Sept. 21 — Friends of National Rifle Association banquet. Paris Convention Center, 1510 E. Wood St.
Sept. 22 — Early season on geese ends.
Sept. 28 — Archery deer season opens.