(Updated August 9, 2018)
Fishing returns to Hyde Lake
Area fishing enthusiasts are once again able to fish in Shelby Farms Park's Hyde Lake. Fishing was suspended from the lake, which was expanded from 52 acres to almost 80 acres in 2016, to allow the fish to mature enough to support the sport. The stocking plan was initially expected to take three years, but a healthy fish environment was established sooner, allowing fishing to return a year earlier than anticipated. Fishing, which reopened on July 3, can help manage and improve the lake's ecology as well as develop and protect the fishing habitat.
Fishing will be allowed from the shore in designated areas along the south side of the lake. If fishing on the water, visitors must be in non-motorized crafts and are encouraged to be aware of nearby canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards when casting. Maps showing designated fishing areas are available on the park's website and in the Visitor Center.
There are no fees to fish at Shelby Farms Park, but a valid Tennessee fishing license is required. For more information on fishing in Hyde Lake as well as in the other lakes in the Park, visit www.shelbyfarmspark.org/fishing. For information on how to purchase a fishing license, fishing license qualifications, creel limits and safety regulations, visit www.tn.gov/twra.
Cindy Dupree stepping down as PR director for TDTD
Calling it a happy, but a sad note, Cindy Dupree has been in her position as Director of Public Relations, for 12 ½ years. It is time, she said, to step down.
"I'm happy (and a bit sad) that after 12 ½ amazing years as PR director + PIO for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Dupree said. "I have decided to take early retirement from the state to accept a new assignment. The upside is that I am leaving to pursue my dream - writing for a living. I have been commissioned to write a biography of someone I admire a great deal, and just can't pass up this open door and incredible opportunity."
Her last day in the office was June 28. Jill Kilgore is the PR Media Manager.
Spring River damage resolved
A sinkhole that opened in the Spring River in June has been closed, Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston announced. The Commissioner of State Lands office, alongside the Attorney General's office, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Geological Survey, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Fulton County Sheriff Albert Roork and Fulton County Judge Darrell Zimmer, as well as local landowners and volunteers, completed work repairing the sinkhole, located south of Mammoth Spring.
The team of officials used a track hoe to collapse the travertine roof of the sinkhole. The structure fell into itself, resolving the water hazard that had been created by erosion and claimed the life of one person in early June. State, federal and local officials had met in June to discuss the hazard and to determine how to correct the problem and ensure public safety. They enlisted the help of hydrogeologist Tom Aley, PG with Ozark Underground Laboratory in Potem, Mo. After visiting the site, where Aley conducted a survey of the area with a dye tracing technique to determine the characteristics of the hazard, the agencies began examining potential fixes.
Help bring back the alligator gar
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking anglers and bowfishing enthusiasts to help bring back one of Arkansas's oldest trophy angling opportunities - the alligator gar.
To help conserve existing populations of alligator gar, the AGFC created a statewide bag limit of one per day under 36 inches long. Any gar longer than 36 inches must be immediately released. Anyone keeping a small alligator gar also must have an alligator gar harvest permit, which is available as a free added code to their fishing license through the AGFC's licensing site.
To offer anglers an opportunity to keep their trophy-class fish, however, a limited number of Trophy Alligator Gar Harvest tags have been issued for anglers interested in keeping alligator gar longer than 36 inches. The tag is good for one alligator gar longer than 36 inches per year. Tags were issued to anglers through random draw earlier this year.
Permit holders who harvest a trophy alligator gar must contact the AGFC at 800-482-9262 to check the animal. Biologists will then meet the angler at the lake to attach a transportation tag and gather biological information critical to the AGFC's efforts in rebuilding populations of these large trophy fish.
Draw permit applications available on August 1
Beginning August 1, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will accept draw permit applications for deer, rabbit, and early season teal hunts on Wildlife ManagementAreas (WMAs). Applications for rabbit and early season teal hunts will be accepted though August 15. Applications for deer draw hunts will be accepted through August 30. Applicants must apply online at www.mdwfp.com/draws and have a valid Mississippi hunting license before applying for a WMA draw hunt. For more information regarding WMAs in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com/wma. This year there will be two special youth dove hunts held on Black Prairie and Mahannah WMAs. The Black Prairie Youth Dove Hunt will be held on September 3, and the Mahannah Youth Dove Hunt will be held on September 8.
These hunts are open to youth hunters 15 and younger. A parent or guardian over 21 must accompany each youth hunter during the entire hunt. Youth hunters must check in the day of the hunt at 11 a.m. The hunt will begin at 2 p.m. and conclude at sunset. Special events during the day of the hunt will include skeet shooting, safety discussions, and a provided lunch.
Participants must register online to attend these hunts. Applications will be accepted beginning August 1 and on a first come first serve basis. Each hunt will be limited to 50 youth.
Staying fit part of being a conservation officer
MDWFP Conservation Officers claimed the title of "Fittest in the Nation" as they took the top spot at the 17th annual National LawFit Challenge in Southaven. More than 150 law enforcement officers from around the country competed in this year's challenge, testing officers in six different events: bench press, 1.5-mile run, sit-ups, flexibility, pull-ups, and a suspect pursuit course.
The 2018 MDWFP LawFit team consisted of the following officers: Pvt. Derrick Scott, Corp. Justin Gates, Pvt. Cody Barber, Pvt. Cody Corso, Pvt. Tamarrius Good, Lt. Ricky Barry, Lt. Marcus Christon, Pvt. Karri Fulton.
The 2018 MDWFP LawFit team placed in the following events: 1st place bench press - Corp. Justin Gates; 1st place 1.5-mile run - Pvt. Derrick Scott; 1st place pull-ups - Lt. Marcus Christon; 1st place suspect pursuit course - Lt. Marcus Christon; 1st overall male - Pvt. Derrick Scott 397; 2nd overall male - Lt. Marcus Christon 395; 3rd overall male - Corp. Justin Gates 390; 1st place Mixed pairs division - Pvt. Derrick Scott, Pvt. Karri Fulton and 1st place overall 4 man team - Pvt. Derrick Scott, Lt. Marcus Christon, Corp. Justin Gates, and Pvt. Cody Barber.
Cleveland's Bear Pen Park Lake opening
The MDWFP recently announced the opening of a new 5-acre fishing lake in Cleveland. The lake, located at Bear Pen Park off of College Street, is part of MDWFP's Community Fishing Assistance Program and is jointly managed by MDWFP and the City of Cleveland Parks Commission. "We are very excited to work with the City of Cleveland to open Bear Pen Park Lake to fishing," said MDWFP fisheries biologist Nathan Aycock.
Bear Pen Park Lake will be open daily to the general public from sunrise to sunset. A valid Mississippi fishing license is required to fish the lake. The lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. The daily creel limits are five catfish per angler, 15 bluegill per angler, and zero bass per angler. All bass must be immediately released.
Pickwick Lake to host 2018 BASS. Nation Championship
BASS officials announced recently that Pickwick Lake — a 43,000-acre Tennessee River fishery that sports excellent populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass — will host the annual year-end event, which is scheduled for Nov. 8-10. More than 125 anglers will take off from McFarland Park in Florence each competition day at 6 a.m. CT. Weigh-ins will be held at the same location at 2 p.m.
Pickwick has been the site of numerous B.A.S.S. events, dating back to the early 1980s. Former pro angler and current Bassmaster LIVE host Davy Hite of South Carolina won a Bassmaster Elite Series event on the lake in 2011 with a four-day total of 84 pounds, 9 ounces.
The Top 3 finishers from the championship will earn a spot in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, which is set for March 15-17 in Knoxville, Tenn. The list of anglers who qualified for the Bassmaster Classic through the Nation Championship at the start of their careers includes Idaho's Brandon Palaniuk, New Jersey's Michael Iaconelli and Connecticut's Paul Mueller.
The overall winner of the championship will also receive an invitation to fish the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series. Last year's Nation Championship winner, Caleb Sumrall of Louisiana, is currently fishing the Elite Series and has finished in the money at four of seven events this season.
The Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau will host the event.