published Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Free Fishing Day in Tennessee

Melissa Freeman, front, was among the area youth enjoying “free fishing day” last June — in this case from the Johnson Pier along the Tennessee Riverwalk. Tennessee is having another such day on June 8, and that extends a whole week for those under 16.
Melissa Freeman, front, was among the area youth enjoying “free fishing day” last June — in this case from the Johnson Pier along the Tennessee Riverwalk. Tennessee is having another such day on June 8, and that extends a whole week for those under 16.
Photo by Staff File Photo.

While the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission is holding important sessions today and Friday in Nashville to set the state's 2013-14 hunting seasons, many area residents are looking more intently at the short term for good fishing opportunities.

June 8 is one of those times. It's Free Fishing Day in Tennessee, and anyone of any age can try to catch fish that Saturday in the state's public waters without needing a license. Those ages 15 and under can fish free all week, in fact, through June 14.

Beyond that, some places in the area are holding special kids fishing events on June 8. Those include the Chuck Copeland Memorial Kids Fishing Rodeo at Spring City Veterans Park, the Tellico River Kids Fishing Day at the Tellico Trout Hatchery at Tellico Plains and fishing days at Meadow Park at Crossville, Grundy Lakes at Tracy City and Kimball Recreation Park.

More details are available at www.tn.gov/twra/fish/events/events.html.

Additionally, there's a Cops and Kids Fishing Rodeo this Saturday at Kefauver Park Lake in Madisonville.

Turkey talk

At the committee meetings today and full gathering Friday morning, the commission will consider the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's proposals about hunting seasons. One recommendation affecting part of southeastern Tennessee is the addition of Meigs, Rhea and Roane for fall turkey seasons with bag limits of one.

Increased anterless deer hunting opportunites were proposed for a number of counties in East and Middle Tennessee.

Also at the commission meeting, the state's boating officers of the year will be recognized. Committee meetings start at 2 p.m. EDT today at the TWRA Ray Bell Region II Building in Nashville. The main meeting is at 10 a.m. EDT Friday. As always, the public is invited.

Habitat help

The TWRA has been notified by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service that more than $1 million is available for the state's Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. That provides financial and informational assistance for people who own or manage agricultural land or private forest acreage to improve their property for wildlife habitat.

Anyone interested in WHIP help must apply by June 10 to have the projects ranked for funding. Those with a sound conservation plan will receive priority.

TWRA has four private lands biologists who work with landowners in improving or preserving wildlife habitat. For more information contact one of them or an area NRCS center, or see www.twraprivatelands.org.

Grundy duo wins

Dakota Travis and Zachary Hiett of Grundy County High School won the recent bass tournament hosted by the Silverdale Baptist Academy fishing club out of Nickajack Lake's Shellmound boat ramp. They caught five bass totaling 14.94 pounds, including one at 5.13.

SBA's Josh Brady and Christian Rogers were second at 12.01, and Rhea County's Nathan Shaver and Jessie Hooker were third with 11.50 and the day's biggest fish weighing 5.15. Grundy's Tristan Owenby and Austin Jackson caught 11.16.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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