Lake Levels Surge in the Aftermath of Downpours
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on January 1, 2019
Since heavy rains drenched the TVA valley last Monday lake levels have gone on a tear, rising abruptly the last several days. TVA had been dropping lake levels in anticipation of the big rains last weekend and had the reservoir down near 355 range, which was close to winter pool but flooding has changed the picture and the reservoir was expected to rise to the 357.4 range before this weekend and perhaps even higher. Although TVA is spilling water through Kentucky Dam at a huge volume----245,000 cubic feet per second at midweek---there was still more coming in than there was going out! Just when the crest would occur was unknown at midweek as to TVA projections. Surface temperatures reflected the warm weather and had risen to the 50 degree mark at midweek. Water color was dingy in the main Tennessee River channel area and also throughout much of the Big Sandy embayment due to massive runoff. Both commercial and sport fishermen are talking about the swift currents present in the main channel area this week. Back in the bays anglers are dodging the current and doing their crappie fishing there. Crappie fishing continues to be a challenge for most as only a small number of anglers are finding and catching double digit stringers as of late. There have been some exceptions but those fortunate enough to land a limit of keeper size crappie have been in the minority. Depths of 10 to 14 feet were giving up a few fish mostly from manmade fish attractors. With the rising water stages look for more crappie to move up and pursue baitfish that are also moving up shallow with the surging water levels. Anglers will get a warm up this weekend as temperatures are expected to rebound and return to the 60-degree range. That’s a bit unusual for early January but anglers have pretty much had temps working for them since early December. Perhaps a few more success stories will come in this week as anglers stalk some shallow structure or troll over areas back in bays where crappie may be moving to escape the current and follow the shad. Bass anglers have been out enjoying some of the mild winter weather too and running up and down the lake as though it was mid to late fall. Most are tossing spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits around shallow structure and gravel points. A few are attempting to harness the current and find fish in eddies around rock points or island rims.
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