Heavy rain, snow causing water level concerns on Barren River and Lake

Recent rains and snow have not only caused problems on the roads (and for area school systems), but also for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Barren River and Barren River Lake.
Runoffs from recent rains and snow have caused water levels to rise significantly in both.
The Corps annually uses the Barren River Lake dam to regulate water levels to prevent flooding downstream.
Barren River and Lake Water Levels. (also available at right)
The Corps begins draw down of the lake in the fall every year to achieve a Winter Pool or water level of 525 ft. to allow for Spring rains and prevent spring and summer flooding. The target date to achieve the 525 ft. water level was Dec. 15.
The Corps begins to hold water in Barren River Lake, beginning in March, to achieve Summer Pool, 552 ft., by April 15.
However, with the recent rains and snow, the lake is filling faster than desired, with forecasts predicting that the lake will reach Summer Pool on March 8. With the lake hitting Summer Pool over a month early, additional heavy Spring rains could cause significant flooding through the Spring and Summer.
The Corps is unable to release more water from the lake through the dam due to possible flooding downstream and Bowling Green. At 23 ft., Barren River flooding effects the Warren County’s Thomas Landing and Weldon Pete parks. The Barren River rose to 22.88 ft. about 1 p.m. March 5.

Barren River Lake State Park announces the Driftwood Restaurant’s Easter buffet

Barren River Lake State Park has announced the menu for its annual Easter Buffet.
The buffet will be served from Noon until 8 p.m. Central Time, April 5, in the park’s Driftwood Restaurant of the Louie B. Nunn Lodge.
Cost is $18.99 plus tax for adults and $8.99 plus tax for children.
The cost does include beverages.
Menu
Cheese bar
Choice Beef Carved On the Line
Chef’s Choice Local Favorite
Baked Kentucky Country Ham
Golden Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies
Garden Vegetables
Chilled Fresh Fruit
Salad Bar
Assorted Salads and Relishes
Variety of Desserts

Why you should buy a fishing license

By Lee McClellan
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
It is the time of year anglers must make an investment in their future fishing. Current 2014-2015 fishing licenses expired Saturday, Feb. 28. If you plan to fish on or after today, you’ll need a new fishing license.
A Kentucky resident annual fishing license sets you back $20. This isn’t as cheap as it was 20 years ago, but it is still a great bargain for all you receive in return.
“We do not receive General Fund state tax dollars for our funding,” said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Our funding is reliant on license sales and the federal monies that go along with them. The anglers of Kentucky fund the fisheries division.”
For each fishing license sold, the federal government sends monies back to Kentucky from excise taxes on fishing tackle, trolling motors, electronic sonar units for boats, commonly called fish finders, and boat motor fuels.
The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act is the legislation empowering the collection of monies and dispersal back to the fisheries divisions of state wildlife agencies across the country. Originally passed by Congress in 1950, the Wallup-Breaux Amendment to the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act expanded the base of monies in 1984.
“It is a user pay and user return system,” Ross said. “The anglers pay the money up front and they get it back in what our fisheries division does to benefit fish populations across Kentucky.” Funding from fishing license sales powers the annual stocking of over 5.5 million fish in Kentucky waters.
These monies fund the operation of the two hatcheries that provide fish for the Fishing in Neighborhoods stockings of bass, catfish, bluegill and trout.
These monies also provide for the scientific management of the state’s fishery resources, the construction and maintenance of boat ramps and other fishing accesses such as carry-down canoe launch areas.
“These funds pay for fish habitat work, lake renovations and studies designed to better manage fish populations,” Ross said. “It provides money for maintenance of our smaller state-owned lakes.”
This money benefits future biodiversity in Kentucky as it helps fund the restoration of fish species such as lake sturgeon and alligator gar. The fisheries division assists in the recovery of negatively impacted fish populations.
Funding from the sale of Kentucky fishing licenses facilitated the planning and construction of Cedar Creek Lake, Kentucky’s only lake managed for trophy largemouth bass.
Not everyone has to purchase a fishing license. Kentucky residents fishing a pond or lake on land they own don’t need a fishing license, but their guests, and even blood relatives, must have a valid fishing license. Dependent children and tenants who live and work on the land also are license exempt if they are fishing a pond on the land on which they live.
Those who live outside of Kentucky, but own land here, must still purchase a fishing license if they plan to fish a lake or pond on their land. A general rule of thumb about residency: if you don’t possess a Kentucky driver’s license, then you are not a resident.
Anglers under the age of 16, military personnel on furlough for more than three days, those participating in Free Fishing Days in June and visitors fishing inside the boundaries of Mammoth Cave National Park also don’t need a fishing license. People fishing at pay lakes need either a valid fishing license or a permit issued by the pay lake operator.
Those who intend to keep trout or plan to fish the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam must purchase a $10 trout permit. Kentucky residents certified as disabled or those 65 or older get their fishing license and trout permit with the $5 senior/disabled license.
A great deal is the resident combination hunting and fishing license for $30, a savings of $10 if bought separately. A resident one-day fishing license costs $7, while the same license for non-residents is $10. An annual non-resident Kentucky fishing license runs $55.
Remember to buy your 2015-16 fishing license if you plan to fish the rest of this year. You may purchase your fishing license in person at tackle stores, in the sporting goods section of major department stores and at county clerk offices across Kentucky. You may also buy a fishing license 24 hours a day by calling 1-877-598-2401 or online at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website.

New fishing, hunting license due March 1

Time is running out!
New 2015-2016 Kentucky hunting and fishing licenses are due by Sunday, March 1.
The 2014-2015 licenses expire at midnight, Saturday, Feb. 28.
New licenses are required annually.
All hunters, 12 years of age and older, resident and non-resident, are required to purchase licenses and permits to hunt, as well, as all fishermen, 16 years of age and older, resident and non-resident, are required to purchase licenses and permits to fish, unless they are license-exempt.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers a variety of licenses and permits for hunters and fishermen.
For a complete list of licenses and permits available for the 2015-2016 Hunting and Fishing Season, log on to 2015-2016 Licenses and Permits.
Licenses and permits may be purchased in a variety of ways. The KDFWR has an online license sales site to purchase licenses and permits, where they accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover.
They may also be purchased from license agents throughout the state or by phone at 877-598-2401. Some licenses are only available on the online license sales site.

Rescheduled to March 21: International Fly Fishing Film Festival will be at WKU

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival has been rescheduled to March 21. 

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival will be Saturday, March 21, on the campus of Western Kentucky University in the auditorium of the Downing Student Union auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the films scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The International Fly Fishing Film Festival features short and feature-length films from around the world about the fly fishing experience.
Tickets may be purchased online at FlyFilmFest for $10 until noon on Friday, Feb. 20, or, after that, if available, at the door for $15 (cash only) the night of the showing.
There will be a silent auction and door prizes, including fly fishing poles, reels and equipment, plus a full day fly fishing trip on the Cumberland River.
Proceeds will benefit the WKU Recreation Department.
WKU offers a variety of fly fishing programs for students and the community.

Are you (and your boat) ready for Spring?

Enough already!
I think that we can all agree that we have had enough snow and ice for one winter.
Spring cannot get here soon enough.
While you wait, take time to prepare your boat for the warm weather ahead.
With the help of Discover Boating, here is a checklist to help you get your boat ready for Spring.
FUEL SYSTEM
– Inspect hoses, connections and tank surfaces for leaks or damage.
– Replace components as needed.
– Verify all fittings and clamps are properly secured.
– Ensure the engine, exhaust, and ventilation systems are functioning properly.
BELTS, CABLES & HOSES
– Check for cracks and brittle areas.
– Ensure belts fit tightly and are not worn.
– Inspect the outer jacket of control cables for cracks or swells, which may indicate a problem.
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
– Inspect all electrical connections for cleanliness and tightness; corrosion may indicate an unsafe condition.
– Remove terminals and clean with a wire bush; clean cable ends.
– Change battery and ensure it can hold a charge.
– Electrical systems should be inspected by a qualified technician regularly.
FLUID LEVELS
– Check engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant levels.
– Change engine oil, oil filter and drive lubricants if these tasks were not done prior to winterizing.
PROPELLERS & HULLS
– Inspect propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion.
– Make sure propeller is secured properly; replace bearings if needed.
– Check hull for blisters, distortions and cracks.
– Clean the hull, deck and topsides.
– Ensure the drain plug is securely in place prior to every launch.
SAFETY GEAR
– Inspect life jackets to ensure they are in good condition; make sure there is one for each potential passenger.
– Check that fire extinguishers are fully charged, properly stowed and are the correct class for your vessel.
– Take advantage of any safety inspections offered by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), USCG Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron.

Barren River Lake in the snow

The Barren River Lake region fell under about 11 inches of snow this week, and temperatures reaching to -10.
But, look at this way, there is less than 30 days until the official start of Spring, March 20.

Main channel under snow.

Main channel under snow.

Peter's Creek at Winter Pool under snow.

Peter’s Creek at Winter Pool under snow.

Be prepared when fishing in this weather

With the next 10 days predicted to bring “below average” temperatures with a chance of snow on Barren River Lake, you should be prepared if you decide to “fight the elements” and get that big mouth bass that you missed last summer.
Barren River Weather 
Here are some suggestions from the Future Fisherman Foundation to stay safe and warm on the lake during the cold of winter.
– Always wear a personal flotation device.
– Wear several layers of clothing to insulate and keep you warm while fishing in cold weather. Clothing layers trap air between them and offer great insulation. As it warms up during the day, you can always take off some of the layers.
– Long underwear, a warm shirt and warm pants help to hold your body’s heat. Additional layers of clothing can include an insulated vest and a rain parka, which are also good for keeping you warm on cold, windy days.
– Caps and hats are important. They prevent loss of body heat from your head and neck. Headgear should cover most of your head, including your ears.
– Fishing is difficult with most gloves. There are gloves, however, that allow you tie knots and handle fishing tackle. They include lightweight rubber gloves and “hunter/fisherman’s gloves” with a flap so you can expose your fingers.
– Hand warmers are helpful. A personal flotation device, when worn under clothing, provides extra warmth and emergency flotation.

Get your 2015-2016 fishing, hunting licenses by the March 1 deadline

New 2015-2016 Kentucky hunting and fishing licenses are due by March 1. The 2014-2015 licenses expire Feb. 28.
New licenses are required annually.
All hunters, 12 years of age and older, resident and non-resident, are required to purchase licenses and permits to hunt, as well, as all fishermen, 16 years of age and older, resident and non-resident, are required to purchase licenses and permits to fish, unless they are license-exempt.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers a variety of licenses and permits for hunters and fishermen.
Here is a list of the most popular ones:
- Annual Hunting- $20 resident; $140 nonresident
- Annual Fishing- $20 resident; $50 nonresident
- Annual Combination Hunting and Fishing- $30 resident; not available for nonresidents
– Senior/Disabled Combination Hunting and Fishing- $5 resident; not available for nonresidents
– Sportsman’s License (includes combination hunting/fishing, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, state waterfowl permit, and trout permit.)- $95 resident; not available for nonresidents.
– Youth Sportsman’s License, ages 12-15 ( Includes youth hunting license, youth deer permit and youth turkey permit. Fishing license, waterfowl permit and trout permit not required for youth.)- $30 resident and nonresident. *Youth may fish without a license until the age of 16.
For a complete list of licenses and permits available for the 2015-2016 Hunting and Fishing Season, log on to 2015-2016 Licenses and Permits.
Licenses and permits may be purchased in a variety of ways. The KDFWR has an online license sales site to purchase licenses and permits, where they accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover.
They may also be purchased from license agents throughout the state or by phone at 877-598-2401. Some licenses are only available on the online license sales site.

Save money this spring on fishing gear

By Lee McClellan
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Here are three ways to save money on gear for the upcoming spring fishing seasons.
- Hit the clearance sales to upgrade fishing equipment: February is the best month to buy new fishing equipment, especially if you want to upgrade to a higher quality rod, reel or finally retire the shop worn waders you’ve patched 10 times.
Manufacturers debut their new models at this time of year. The large catalog outfitters and the sporting goods section of department stores often offer significant discounts on older models of rods and reels to clear space for the new. This is especially true with fishing reels.
These discounted reels or rods are still new and were the cutting edge a year or two ago. Model changes are often cosmetic and the performance afield is exactly the same from older model to new.
If you are still wading with hot, sticky and leaky neoprene or coated canvas waders, February is the time to upgrade to breathable waders. New fishing catalogs from outfitters are now arriving in mailboxes around the country. Their websites often contain closeout prices on older iterations of breathable fishing waders. This is a great time to get comfortable, breathable waders at attractive prices.
- Inquire with friends and relatives about buying their old outdoor gear: As you progress in the outdoor arts, it is normal to upgrade to newer gear every few years as financial circumstances allow. This leaves outdoors enthusiasts with a conundrum: their older gear is too nice to throw away or donate, but they don’t use it anymore. They may gladly sell this gear reasonably to a friend or relative and be thankful it will be used and appreciated by someone they know. In the case of outdoor clothing, it may be given to you.
- Clean and lube a spinning reel to make it new again: If a spinning reel feels like it is slowly filling with sawdust or develops an annoying catch on the retrieve, it is likely not completely shot and needs replacing, but just dirty and starved for lubrication. Old grease and oil attracts dirt and grit over time. This gunk builds up and impacts the reel’s performance.
Remove the reel spool and wipe down the spool shaft and apply a light coat of reel oil. Oil the roller bearing on the bail that lays line on the spool. Remove the handle and the screws that hold the side plate (some reels have a decorative plate that covers one of the side plate screws). Gently pry open the side plate. You’ll see the main gear in the middle with a roller bearing on top of it. Remove the roller bearing and drop it in rubbing alcohol to dissolve old oil, grease and accumulated crud. Clean the main gear, the drive gear in front of the reel and the worm gear along the bottom with an old tooth brush and hot soapy water. After drying, apply a light coat of reel grease to the gears and apply a few drops of reel oil to the roller bearing. Reassemble the reel and it should sing like new.
Use these tips to save much needed cash in getting the outdoor gear you need. The warm winds of spring are just around the corner.