There is still not much to report this week on the local fishing scene. The level at Barren River Lake stood at 541.71 feet Wednesday morning and was beginning to fall slowly. I can report that sign-ups have begun for the Barren River Rod and Gun Club’s annual “Big Bass” contest, which officially begins March 1. You can see Bill Tinsley or Bob Bell to register or get details.
The National Wild Turkey Federation’s 38th annual convention opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville.
There is no admission charge for Wild Turkey Federation members, but non-members will pay $20.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources announced this week that enrollment has begun in the Cooperative Dove Field Program. Enrollment continues until March 1.
The Cooperative Dove Field Program pays landowners to lease fields on their property for public dove hunting.
“Landowners may earn up to $10,000 in the Cooperative Dove Field Program,” said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “They earn $300 per acre planted.”
Pritchert said the department will accept fields ranging from 6 to 30 acres with additional payments for buffers around fields. “Fields generally run from 20 to 30 acres in size,” he explained. “But, we encourage anyone interested to apply.”
Farmers may plant an idle field to sunflowers, millet or another acceptable crop for a public dove field by working with a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife private lands biologist and following some simple guidelines.
Payment amounts depend on the number of acres enrolled, crop type and fulfillment of the plot management agreement with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Property owners may also call the department at 1-800-858-1549 for more information.
The U.S. Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced this week that it is consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the discovery of new populations of an existing endangered species in Lake Cumberland.
Until a study is completed, the Corps will set a maximum pool elevation of 705 feet, which is the same as the 2013 elevation.
A species survey report on Dec. 11, 2013, confirmed the presence of the federally endangered Duskytail Darter in five miles of stream habitat in the headwaters region of the lake that were exposed during the drawdown.
Construction on the Wolf Creek Dam cutoff wall is complete. All evidence to date indicates that the dam remediation work is functioning as intended. Ongoing construction activities to remove the remaining shot rock fill on the upstream face of the embankment are expected to be completed by early March 2014.
This week’s Kentucky Afield report is by outdoor writer Lee McClellan who offers some tips on getting ready for the spring fishing season. Here is an abbreviated version:
Get your gear organized. Organizing your tackle is especially important if you fish for different species from different platforms such as fishing from a motor boat for largemouth bass, wading for trout in the Cumberland River or floating for stream smallmouth bass in a canoe or kayak.
Use closeout season to upgrade your fishing rods or reels. Outfitters routinely clearance many of their fishing items at this time of year to make room for new models. Earlier models of reels or rods usually perform just as well as the new models. This is a great time to buy closeout lures as well as steeply discounted fishing waders, wade boots and fishing vests.
Respool all of your reels. You can respool a reel with monofilament line for less than the cost of a large candy bar. Fluorocarbon lines cost much more, but a respool with even the highest end fluorocarbon line costs less than one fast food lunch.
Finally, study maps of the lakes or rivers you plan to fish this coming year. Map study illuminates underwater humps, points that extend well out into the lake and river rock bars known only to ship captains.