Spring outdoor season is upon us


outdoornotebookCLAY COUNTY-With temperatures climbing well into the 70’s this week, outdoorsmen here are already looking forward to the upcoming spring hunting and fishing seasons.

Notoriously, the red-hot spring fishing bite comes with the last few weeks of March and runs through April into May.  Water temperatures start to rise and the fish get into a feeding frenzy heading into the spawn.

Along with this warming trend comes the opening of spring wild turkey season where hunters hit the newly emerging woods in search of that trophy gobbler.

Other hunting seasons have long fell by the wayside–including the wintertime staples of deer and duck hunting, and fishermen who have braved the cold are ready to shed their cold-weather gear in hopes of getting in on the action this spring.

Don’t forget to renew your license

In order to participate in either of these upcoming seasons, sportsmen here will need to renew their hunting and fishing licenses, which recently expired at the end of February and that fact has been in news lately.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) said the expiration of the licenses “corresponds with the time when most hunting seasons in the state end and the prime fishing begins.”

The licenses went on sale late last month and those who have not already renewed their license should be sure to do so before they head out on the water or take to the woods this spring.

The permits can be purchased online, by phone, or at any license agent (checking stations or marinas).

Youth-only hunt to open turkey season

Besides taking to the water for the pre-spawn bite, sportsmen will also hit the woods to take advantage of the opening of wild turkey hunting season here later this month.

The first opportunity has been set aside for young hunters and will come in the form of a special youth-only hunt set for March 21 and 22.

Those between the ages of six and 16 can participate that weekend, but they must be accompanied by an adult (age 21 or over), who the TWRA says “is not required to have a license, but must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device.”

The bag limit for this special hunt is one bearded turkey per hunter and young outdoorsmen are allowed to use shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns (both loaded with 28 gauge or larger, no. 4 shot or smaller ammunition), long bows, compound bows, or crossbows (all with legal hunting arrows with broadheads) to take their birds.

The same hunting methods will be allowed when the regular season opens the following weekend, but the bag limit is different.  Hunters are allowed to harvest one bearded turkey per day, but they are not to exceed four for the season, which runs from March 28 through May 10.

Fishing slower here on the lake

DALE HOLLOW-The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s (TWRA) fishing report of March 5 showed fishing to be slow here.

The agency said the lake level was slowly rising and reported the water temperature around 44 degrees, but it will be on the rise with the warmer weather of late.

It showed a few good smallmouth were being caught on the float ‘n’ fly method and on jigs while fishing channel banks in 10 to 35 feet of water; others were taken on silver buddies in 25 feet of water.

It said a few spots and largemouth were being caught on crankbaits in the rivers on channel banks.

The report also said crappie fishing was slow with a few fish coming out of laydown trees on minnows.

The information explained all other fishing was slow at that time, but it showed walleye fishing was improving above East Port on jigs in 15 feet of water.

Angler catches two state records in the same day

NASHVILLE-Knoxville resident Roy Hawk will always remember the date of February 16, 2009 as the day that he accomplished the unique feat of establishing two new state fishing records within a span of four hours in the South Holston River.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) confirms that Hawk’s new standards are for the black redhorse and northern hogsucker. 

The black redhorse weighed 3 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 3/4 inches long and the catch time was 10:30 a.m. Four hours later, Hawk caught the northern hogsucker, which weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces and was 18 1/4 inches in length.

 Hawk used 6-pound test line on a 6-foot, 6-inch rod with a shimano reel. The state record entry is the first for the black redhorse. Hawk’s northern hogsucker record breaks Dianna Moore’s previous record of 1 lb., 3 oz., caught on the Nolichucky River in 2007.

 The new marks make three records that Hawk has set in the past year. He set the record for the gizzard shad last April, only to see the record broken in December by Preston Taylor III, of Bristol, on the Holston in Sullivan County.

 The criteria to be considered for a state record fish along with the new record application and instructions, state records and fishing license information are in the 2009 TWRA Tennessee Fishing Guide. Information is also available on the TWRA Web site at  by clicking on “Fishing” located on the left side of the home page.