IS NO LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF POLES ON REELFOOT LAKE
SECRETS FOR FISHING REELFOOT LAKE
OBSERVANT---Watch what is going on around you. If the nearby fisherman is a
local, so much the better. You can tell locals when they are fishing with
spider rigs or several pole holder sitting in the front of his boat. Is he
using minnows? How deep? How far does he move? (Point of order: Keep your
distance. Nobody likes to fish with another boat about to ram them. Treat
others as you want to be treated while on the water.)
NOT BE AFRAID TO MOVE---If fish are not biting in one place, don't be afraid
to move to another. One of Reelfoot's unique characteristics is that it
offers so many varied kinds of fishing from 18' water to the shallows and
heavy timber. Chances are the fish will be biting somewhere, no matter what
THE WEATHER---Reelfoot may be a relatively shallow lake and small in
comparison to some bodies of water but it has delta flatland on three sides
and storms can and do blow up in a hurry. Do not challenge the lake when a
sudden storm strikes. Waves of three to four feet can spring up in only a
few minutes. Best places for shelter include the islands, ditches and duck
blinds. A note of caution on the duck blinds-they are favorite summer
retreats for some of Reelfoot's meanest residents. Although many of the
snakes at Reelfoot Lake are not poisonous, cottonmouths are, can and do
inhabit vacant blinds. And even more common are red wasps, aggressive little
devils with a really bad sting. Be cautious and check out the blind when
entering one in the summer.
LET BAD WEATHER KEEP YOU OFF THE LAKE---January has proved to be the best
month of the year for taking trophy crappie in 2005. Local fishermen bundled
up and took some boxes of fish home averaging nearly two pounds per
fish. And when the wind blows, no lake offers more wind protected
areas than Reelfoot, especially the upper blue basin. Although not
recommended except for the most experienced, local fishermen have taken nice
catches out of the lake on days when the wind approached 30 miles per hour,
just by fishing the ditches and heavy timber.
UP---Dock operators, resort owners and persons selling bait around the lake
are a valuable source of information. Fishermen like to talk and their near inability
to keep a secret can lead to some key tips. Are they biting in open water?
How deep? Have the fish moved in? All of these are valuable tips and can be picked
up around the lake. And Reelfoot natives are very helpful with information.
They want their guest to return.
AND THURSDAYS ARE LOW USE FISHING DAYS---During March, April and May-the
busy season here-the lake can attract so many fishermen that congestion can
be a problem, especially on a rare clear, calm spring day. Locals have long
know the Sunday and Thursdays are "turnover days" for many resorts
offering packages and the lake can be almost deserted. many locals, who can
fish pretty much when they please, take advantage of those days.
SHALLOW, FISH DEEP---Even in the dead of winter, don't be afraid to fish
shallow, even in the deepest parts of the lake. A winter warm spell can put
slab crappie almost on the surface. In the summer, when the temps often hit
95º and higher, fish can retreat to the deepest sections of the lake.
IS IMPORTANT---For bass fishermen, the ubiquitous spinner bait has been effective
at Reelfoot for decades. Worms and crank baits take their share of fish.
Minnows remain the staple for crappie but jigs tipped with minnows have
caught a lot of slab fish. For bream, the reliable cricket and cork remain a
staple but Grizzly jigs topped with waxworms have become extremely popular
and very, very successful.
FUN---Fishing is not a business, unless you are a guide. Take a break,
observe the beauty around you. Take your time. Visitors will find things
pretty lake back here at Reelfoot--that is the way we like it.