Percy Priest update 6/15/17

IMG_2469Priest lake has been fishing well as of late. Water temps have hit 80 and the fish are settling into their summer patterns. Crappies are still biting well if your trolling through the schools, that all seem to be suspended about 12 feet over 17-20 feet of water. Pulling crank baits over brushpiles is also starting to work well.

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The striper and Hybrid bass bite is on fire. We are marking large schools of them under bait balls near steep bluff walls around long Hunter. Zara Spooks, Whopper Ploppers, and black buzz baits have been the ticket so far. Fishing bait with a dropper rig has been very productive using both threadfin and gizzard shad.

Once you understand the information contained in a map margin you can then get down to the information on the map itself. Next are the colors you will see on a topographic map. There are numerous colors used but here are the basics and what they represent.

BLACK – The color black indicates man-made features such as roads, buildings and surveyed elevations.

RED-BROWN – This is the color is used for relief features such as contour lines.

SADDLE – A saddle is the spot between two hilltops.

BLUE – The color blue is used to show water like in lakes, streams, rivers or swamps.

GREEN – Green depicts vegetation such as forests, orchards, or vineyards.

There are both major and minor terrain features.

Depression – A depression is what happens when you realize your GPS batteries are dead and your maps are at home. It is also circular spot of land that is lower in elevation than the surrounding terrain and is not filled with water. Good examples would be strip pits and sink holes.

 

SPUR – A spur looks like a spur on a rooster. Its the part of some hills that sticks out like, well, a rooster’s spur. (Minor terrain features)
DRAW – A draw is a spot that pushes into a hillside. (Minor terrain feature)
HILL – A hill shows you the top of the hill as viewed from above.
RIDGE – A ridge is nothing more than a series of hills in a row.

Cliff – A cliff is that thing I always manage to find while navigating in the dark without a map and, a nearly vertical or vertical change in elevation as noted by the extremely close contour lines. (Small terrain feature)
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The anatomy of a topographical map

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Most Deer and Turkey hunters use maps for one purpose and that is to navigate from place to place. The truth is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) map is much more than a navigation or survival tool, it’s an awesome scouting tool as well. In recent years, the hand held Global Positioning Systems or GPS have gained in popularity with the outdoor public. The downfall of this electronic wonder is it WILL fail sooner or later. The batteries will die, the canopy won’t let you get a good satellite signal or any of several reasons it just won’t work. A map won’t fail, it does not require batteries, clear view of the sky, or a master’s degree to operate. My first GPS unit is at the bottom of the Ohio River for one of those very reasons. If you own a GPS unit and don’t or can’t use topographic maps you are only getting about half of the usefulness out of your unit’s functionality.

The bottom line is if you want to take your hunting to the next level you have to learn to not only read a map but use that same map to make the most of your scouting time. Many miles of unproductive hunting or scouting can be eliminated if, you can apply both what you see on the ground and your knowledge of game, to a topographic map. A perfect example would be a funnel or travel corridor. Most big game hunters can readily identify these two things on the ground but by having the skills to also find them on a map BEFORE you go into a given area can be the difference between a successful hunt and a nice walk.

Now if you can master map reading, and manage to figure out a GPS user’s manual, you’re not only a blooming genius but, you can take your hunting knowledge, your map/GPS skills and combine them to help make you a more effective hunter. I have taken one of my leases and marked all the rubs and scrapes with my GPS for five years, I then download topographic map of the lease. Every year I add to that map. Now I have five years of comprehensive data on one map. Once you do this you will gain a new understanding if how deer travel patterns are directly linked to the terrain in each area. A map is, simply stated, a graphic representation of the earth, drawn to scale on a plane surface. Before you can really understand a map, you must first understand the information contained both on the map itself and the information in the margins of that map. In the margins, you will find the following information.

SHEET NAME – The sheet name is found in the top center part of the map margin, it tells you the maps name. Generally, the name is derived from the largest or most prominent feature on the map.

SCALE – The scale can be found in both the upper left and bottom center margins. The scale will tell you the ratio of map distance to the corresponding ground distance. A map with a 1:25000 scale means that one unit of measurement on the map equals 25000 of the same measurement on the ground.

ADJOINING SHEET DIAGRAM – This can be found on the lower left margin and tells you what maps join to the top, bottom, left and right of your current map.

BAR SCALES – The Bar scales can be found in the center of the lower margin and are rulers used to convert map distance to ground distance.

CONTOUR INTERVAL – The contour interval is below the bar scales and tells you the vertical distance between contour lines.

LEGEND – The Legend is usually in the lower left margin. It contains symbols used to depict prominent features on the map you using. Please note that all map legends are not the same, so never assume you know what a symbol is without first checking the legend.

Once you understand the information contained in a map margin you can then get down to the information on the map itself. Next are the colors you will see on a topographic map. There are numerous colors used but here are the basics and what they represent.

BLACK – The color black indicates man made features such as roads, buildings and surveyed elevations.

RED-BROWN – This is the color is used for relief features such as contour lines.

BLUE – The color blue is used to show water like in lakes, streams, rivers or swamps.

GREEN – Green depicts vegetation such as forests, orchards, or vineyards.

Percy Priest Crappie Report 4/20/16

 

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The crappie bite on priest has been on fire the past few weeks. Lots of fish are shallow, in the stake beds. Others have spawned and moved back out into deeper water. Dont restrict yourself to one tactic. The fish are moving around and both trolling and casting are working equally well.

Guntersville Crappie Report 4/4/16

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We took our annual week long trip to Guntersville lake again this year but, we were not there for the big bass.  We were there for some of the best crappie fishing the south has to offer. Water temps were in the high 60’s and the fish had began to move shallow.

We used Kalins triple threat jigs and has no problems catching limits each day. The keys were slow presentations and finding wood cover.

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The fish were concentrated around wood cover that had easy access to deep water.