Barren River Lake State Park hosts annual New Year’s Eve celebration

Barren River Lake State Park’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration will include a dinner buffet and dance.
The Driftwood Restaurant in the Louie B. Nunn Lodge will offer a dinner buffet.
In addition, the park will host a dance with DJ Scooter Davis, complete with watching the ball drop on the big screen (Eastern and Central times), appetizers, refreshments, and party favors.
The park offers a variety of packages:
- Dance- $25* per person (includes appetizers, refreshments and party favors).
- Dinner and Dance- $85* couple.
- Overnight in the lodge, dinner, dance and breakfast Jan. 1 for two- $169.95*.
- Overnight in a cottage, dinner, dance and breakfast Jan. 1 for two- $289.95*.
* Tax, tips and resort fee is not included.
Accommodations are limited.
To make reservations, call 1-800-325-0057.

Whooping Cranes can not be hunted

By Dave Baker
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
 Wildlife biologists have confirmed the presence of five federally protected whooping cranes in Hopkins County and a sixth in Barren County.  In addition to these confirmed reports, whooping cranes have been seen in more than a dozen counties across Kentucky in the last two weeks.
Biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources caution hunters to be vigilant for the possibility of whooping cranes being present in areas being hunted.
The whooping crane is a federally endangered bird that may not be hunted. The Eastern Population of whooping cranes migrates between Wisconsin and Florida with their main migration corridor taking them through west-central Kentucky. There are approximately 100 whooping cranes in this population.
Whooping cranes are solid white with black wingtips. They have a red crown. Adults may have a wingspan of 7 ½ feet and stand up to 5 feet tall on stilted legs. Juvenile birds are similar to the adults, but will have patches of brown or tan mixed in with the white. Both adult and juvenile whooping cranes are currently present in Kentucky.
Whooping cranes are similar in silhouette to sandhill cranes. However, sandhill cranes have gray bodies and are smaller than whooping cranes. Whooping cranes may associate with sandhill cranes so caution must be used while hunting sandhill cranes. Kentucky’s sandhill crane hunting season begins Dec. 13 and continues through Jan. 11, or until 400 sandhill cranes have been taken.
Hunters should be aware of other large-bodied birds which may appear similar to whooping cranes
Large flocks of snow geese may be present in western areas of Kentucky and small groups may be present statewide. Snow geese are white-bodied birds with black wingtips. They do not have stilted legs.
Tundra swans and trumpeter swans have also been reported across Kentucky. Swans are large, solid white birds with wingspans approaching 7 feet. They do not have stilted legs. Swans may not be hunted in Kentucky.
Hunters should always be sure of their target before firing a gun, regardless of the species being hunted.

Sandhill crane hunting opens Dec. 13

Sandhill crane season opens Saturday, Dec. 13, and closes Sunday, Jan. 11.
The daily and season bag limit is two birds.
Hunters had to apply for a sandhill crane permit online by the Nov. 3o deadline.
The season closes once hunters reach the maximum harvest of 400 sandhill cranes.
Hunters must telecheck harvested birds on the day taken. They must also monitor the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website daily for notices involving season closure and for the presence of whooping cranes in Kentucky.
Hunters may also call 1-800-858-1549 for this information.
Sandhill crane hunting began in the Commonwealth Dec. 2012.
The annual harvests have been:
- 87 Sandhill cranes harvested 2013-2014.
- 92 Sandhill cranes harvested 2012=2013.
- 50 Sandhill cranes harvested 2011-2012 (first season).
Hunters participating in the sandhill crane hunting season must complete a post- season survey by Jan. 25 or lose eligibility to apply the following year.
Sandhill cranes are winter over at Barren River Lake and can be seen feeding along the lake’s mud flats and adjoining corn fields and roosting in area woods.

Tailspinner lures stand the test of time

By Lee McClellan
Kentucky Afield Outdoors
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Some lures on the market have stood the test of time, catching fish decade after decade. The Dardevle spoon, the Panther Martin and Rooster Tail in-line spinners, the Jitterbug and the Hula Popper still catch fish today like they did when swing music topped the charts.
The tailspinner is another old-time lure that still catches fish consistently, and one of the best winter lures for black bass.
“The tailspinner is one of the only lures to catch a documented 10-pound smallmouth bass and a documented 10-pound largemouth bass,” said Chad Miles, administrative director for the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
They are not just bass lures, however. They also catch sauger and walleye below locks and dams during the winter months. Trout also hit tailspinners as do white bass during their spring spawning runs.
The lure is a simple design; a piece of lead impregnated with wire and a small Indiana or hammered Colorado spinner blade attached behind it with a treble hook underneath.
A Bowling Green businessman named Cecil Pedigo began tinkering with a tailspinner design in the 1960s. He employed a triangular-shaped piece of lead with a concave face to help the lure sink slower, along with a hooked dressed in marabou behind a small Indiana spinner blade.
He called it the Spinrite, still held in legendary regard among smallmouth anglers in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Uncle Josh Company purchased the Spinrite from Pedigo and discontinued the lure many years ago, but a Kentucky company is bringing the lure back, appearing in tackle stores in the state soon. Tailspinners are also found in tackle stores around major reservoirs in Kentucky and from most outdoor retailers.
The late Billy Westmoreland, considered by many the greatest reservoir smallmouth angler of all time, caught a 10-pound, 1-ounce monster smallmouth on a Spinrite in late winter while slicing points with one on Dale Hollow Lake. He also hooked a smallmouth on Christmas Day of 1970 that he believed weighed between 12 and 14 pounds, larger than the world record. The Spinrite popped out of the fish’s mouth during a long fight. The memory haunted him for many years.
Slicing points with a tailspinner is a highly effective and easy presentation for black bass in winter. Fire a tailspinner to a main lake or secondary point and let it flutter down to bass suspended near the point. Reel just enough to keep the line taut and watch intently. Set the hook if you see your line jump, go slack or you no longer feel the blade of the tailspinner thumping in your hand.
This presentation is deadly on difficult-to-fish steep points that grow in importance to bass when water temperatures drop to 50 degrees and below. Fish the front and both sides of the point.
A ½-ounce tailspinner is the most popular, but a ¾-ounce works well in windy conditions or on deep lakes. These weights work best for smallmouth and spotted bass on our clear, mountainous lakes such as Lake Cumberland or Laurel River Lake.
A ¼-ounce tailspinner works fantastic for sleepy, lethargic winter largemouth bass in shallower reservoirs such as Barren River Lake, Green River Lake, Yatesville Lake, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Largemouth bass are the toughest of the black bass to catch during winter.
The late Ted Crowell, former assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, used to catch largemouth bass from Lake Barkley in winter on a Spinrite. He said many of the fish were so fat they weighed 5 pounds, but were only 18 or 19 inches long.
“You can cast it out and fish it like a spinnerbait over grass or mud flats,” Miles said. “The flats near deep water often hold big largemouths in winter.”
The compact design of a tailspinner makes it easy to throw one a country mile. Increased casting distance lends more stealth for the low, clear winter conditions on reservoirs.
Extra casting distance also comes in handy for walleye or sauger below locks and dams in winter as well as during the spring white bass runs. Sauger strike tailspinners fished just off the bottom below locks and dams on the Ohio and Kentucky rivers during the coldest days of the year.
Walleye in the tailwaters below Lake Cumberland, Green River, Carr Creek and Nolin River lakes strike tailspinners as well.
Smart anglers fishing below dams replace the treble hooks with a sharp single hook to reduce lures lost on the snag-prone bottom common in these areas. This is a good idea for those throwing tailspinners for trout in tailwaters as well.
White bass running in the headwaters of Nolin River, Taylorsville or Herrington lakes strike tailspinners with abandon, often soon after the lure splashes down.
Tie on a tailspinner this winter and let this old war horse work its magic.

Area Christmas parades on Dec. 6

All Barren River Lake area community Christmas parades will be this Saturday, Dec. 6.
The four communities (Bowling Green, Glasgow, Scottsville, Tompkinsville) will host their Christmas parades the same day.
9:30 a.m.- Bowling Green Christmas Parade theme is a “Bowling Green Christmas.” The parade route begins at Main and College streets and ends at 6th Avenue and State Street.
10 a.m.- Tompkinsville/Monroe County Christmas Parade theme is “Christmas in Toyland.” The parade will form at the Monroe County Middle School and proceed through downtown Tompkinsville.
4:30 p.m.- Scottsville/Allen County Christmas Parade theme is “An Allen County Christmas – A Bicentennial Celebration, 1815-2015.” It will begin at the Dollar General Stores warehouse facility on the Old Gallatin Road, proceed up East Main Street to the Scottsville Square.
6 p.m.- Glasgow/Barren County Christmas Parade theme is “PAWS for Christmas.” The parade will begin at the Glasgow High School and proceed up Columbia Avenue to the Square to South Green Street.
For more information about any of the parades, click on the appropriate title above.

Barren River Lake State Park hosts breakfast with the Grinch on Dec. 13

Barren River Lake State Park will host the Grinch for breakfast on Saturday, Dec. 13, and you are invited.
Breakfast and the Grinch will be in the park’s Louie B. Nunn Lodge. It will include a full breakfast buffet, including green eggs and ham, a visit with the Grinch, a reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and holiday crafts.
Santa Claus will also be visiting the park from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children, ages 4-12 (children under 3 are free).
Seatings for Breakfast and the Grinch will be 7:15-8:45 a.m. and 9-10:30 a.m.
There is limited seating and reservations are required.
To make reservations, call 1-800-325-0057 or email Jamie.Avery@ky.gov.

Virtual Tour of Barren River Lake

Visitors can see what Barren River Lake has to offer by taking a Virtual Tour of Barren River Lake.
This tour allows visitors the opportunity to have a 360 degree view of the lakes’ recreation areas, ramps and campgrounds.
The virtual tour is provided by the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(A permanent link to the “Virtual Tour of Barren River Lake” may be found under the “For More Information” column.)
Featured in this interactive tour are:
– a map of Barren River Lake,
– Barren River Lake Dam and Spillway,
– Port Oliver Recreation Area,
Tailwater campground,
– Peninsula ramp and marina,
The Narrows campground, ramp and marina,
Baileys Point campground and ramp,
Barren River Lake State Park campground and lodge,
Walnut Creek campground and ramp,
– Beaver Creek ramp,
– Browns Ford ramp,
– Austin ramp.

Falling lake levels force ramp closures

As the Barren River Lake falls toward Winter Pool (525 ft.), low water levels are causing several ramp closures around the lake.
The lake level is down to 537 ft. and will continue to fall until it reaches Winter Pool.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulates the water level of the lake by releasing water through the dam to help reduce spring flooding.
– Baileys Point is now a single launch only,
– Boaters must use the extended ramp at Port Oliver Recreation Area.
Additional ramp closures will occur as the water level continues to fall.
– At 536 ft., Browns Ford Ramp will be unusable,
– Old road beds and bridge abutments are navigational hazards until the lake level reaches 532 ft.,
– At 531 ft., Beaver Creek Ramp will be unusable,
– At 530 ft., Walnut Creek and Austin Ramp will be unusable.
For updated water levels, click Barren River Lake and River Levels.
Levels are also available by clicking on “Barren River and Lake Water Levels” in the More Information column at right.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with traditional buffet at Barren River Lake State Park

The Barren River Lake State Park will host its annual Thanksgiving buffet, Nov. 27, in the park’s Driftwood Restaurant.
The buffet will be served beginning at noon.
The Thanksgiving feast will include turkey and dressing, baked ham, fried chicken and carved roast of beef. It will also include soups, cheeses and salads. There will be a variety of vegetables including candied yams, country-style green beans and mashed potatoes with giblet gravy.
The buffet will be $18.49 plus tax (drink included) for adults; $8.49 for children ages 6-12; and children 5 and under are free.
Sorry, no reservations.

Fishermen, hunters should prepare for cold temperatures to avoid hypothermia

As temperatures are predicted to fall this week, fishermen and hunters need to be aware of the risks that are associated with the cold temperatures.
According to the Center for Disease Control, when you are exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Eventually your body will use up its stored energy, and when that happens you are at risk for hypothermia.
In addition to the effects of hypothermia to the body, its most damaging effect can be to the brain. It will not allow the person to think clearly to realize what is happening and not allow them to be able to do anything about it.
Early symptoms of hypothermia are:
– shivering
– fatigue
– loss of coordination
– confusion and disorientation.
Immediately take action:
– move to a warm room or shelter
– remove any wet clothing
– warm the center (chest, neck, head) of the body first
– drink warm beverages
– wrap in warm blanket.

Cold Water Immersion
Immersion hypothermia may occur if a person is falls into cold water.
According to the CDC, immersion hypothermia develops much more quickly than standard hypothermia because water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air.
Immersion hypothermia can occur in any water temperature below 70°F.
If you are going to be on the water: 
– don’t go alone
– wear proper clothing (wool and synthetics and not cotton)
– use a personal flotation device
– have a means of signaling rescuers
– have a means of being retrieved from the water.