Weather Roller Coaster Ride Continues
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on January 30, 2019
How about this wild ride on the weather roller coaster? For anglers and hunters it has been a weird winter season as changing conditions have also paralleled fluctuations in lake levels. Last weekend Tennessee’s statewide duck season ended on a weekend where mild temps and no wind saw the curtain fall on what has been a slow, sluggish season. The final days were great times to be out for winter fishermen but not so nice if you were waterfowlers hoping to end the season with a brisk north winds and a cold front that might stimulate duck movement. It didn’t happen. Adding insult to injury for weary duck hunters came a dramatic change at midweek with an Arctic blast that delivered blizzard conditions all across the eastern half of the nation, sending record low temps to northern states which likely pushed ducks southward after our season ended! Since back in late November duck hunters in Dixie were hoping to receive cold fronts that helped stimulate the winter migration but very few descended, leaving a lot of ducks and geese up north this year where abundant food and water accommodated them until the last few days. Anglers were out in force last week taking advantage of the fall like conditions as stagnant winds had Kentucky Lake’s open waters mirror still. For the last weekend of January it was an uncanny scenario. Several crappie anglers make a blitz to their favorite open water fishing holes which would normally be vulnerable to winter winds this time of year. However, the weatherman was playing their song and excellent conditions allowed them to stalk the main lake ledges or other open water venues to search for crappie. A few boats reported finding and catching fish too. Most of the crappie were taken from depths of 17 to 22 feet. Tightlining jigs in such colors as red/chartreuse, orange/chartreuse and some neutral colored tube skirts with fluorescent leadheads paid dividends. Meanwhile, anglers no sooner got their fishing pox scratched than brutal weather arrived, sending bone chilling winds and snow flurries to the area on Tuesday and Wednesday. Practically all fishermen retreated to the fireplace by midweek as temps fell near single digits in some areas and never rose above the freezing mark at midweek. Not to worry, however, as a dramatic rebound is on the way for the weekend. That roller coaster will again make another surge! By this weekend the weatherman says temps will climb into the low 60’s, chasing away the bitter weather that dominated everyone’s conversation plus the national news. What difference a few days can make! Also changing have been lake levels on Kentucky Lake. Throughout the winter the reservoir has ridden its own roller coaster of change as the elevation has been anything but stable. From summer pool elevation to the low ebb of winter pool, the lake has been jumping around and kept both duck hunters and fishermen off an even keel. Presently the reservoir is falling slowly and crested earlier in the week at 356.9 range. That’s about two feet above normal winter pool. Surface temps fell drastically at midweek and bottomed out in the upper 30’s. For the last several weeks there has been a lot of current in the main Tennessee River channel as TVA has flushed massive amounts of water through Kentucky Dam in the aftermath of heavy rains across the TVA watershed. For the next several days anglers can expect to encounter a lot of current along the main river channel and even a little within the Big Sandy sector at times. So, if you don’t like the weather around these parts just stick around for a day or two. Things will likely change!