Reelfoot Lake, TN camping - July 1st - 5th, 2011

Reelfoot Lake Fishing/Camping Trip

July 1st - 5th, 2011

Bob, Debe, Gerald, Sue, Micah, Chelcy, Daniel, Tara, Aiden, Denali, Karla, Richard

Everyone headed to Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee on their own but us and Gerald/Sue ended up following each other. So that meant a stop in Sikeston, MO at Lamberts "home of the thrown rolls!" for lunch. So much food that you leave there stuffed. But expect a long wait no matter when you go.

Then, with bellies full, on down Highway 55 towards Dyersburg, TN and then to Reelfoot Lake.

Our campground of choice was Sportsmans Resort. This campground came with water, electric, some sewer hook ups and had a nice swimming pool. But don't come here if you are execting anything fancy. The mosquitos can carry you away, the campsites are "primitive" at best, but at $22 a night you come away with that southern fishing aire. They sell fishing license (3 day is $27) along with bait and supplies, all at their office/store - which is very convienent. And if you don't want to chance bringing your boat on this very stumpy lake, well, Sportsmans can also rent you one of theirs. Remember, Reelfoot is a fishing lake. Known for its bluegill fishing in the spring, crappie and bass fishing year round, and "jugging" for catfish, which we did.

For those that didn't fish during the day, there was a nice place to feel the breeze off the lake, swing in the swings and/or just sit and watch the many humming birds eat at the feeders. Or, walk out on the pier and see the beauty of the Lake.

Sitting at the swings you would always get to see the "fishing" crew come in with their catch.

Bob and his dad, Gerald, became the cleaning crew. Yes, they have perfected fileting catfish with an electric knife and/or filet knife. And everyone loves to let them do the honor.

Reelfoot Lake is surrounding by acres and acres of crops. It is always neat to come to the farmlands in Tennessee and Kentucky when crop planes are seen spraying the crops. And here at Reelfoot we saw them up close and personal.

The Tennessee Wildlife Reservation here offers some great Lake Tours. They have a 3 hour morning tour for $9 per person and on Sunday's, they have a "reservation only" tour for 1 1/2 hours for $6. You can also take the tour in the late afternoon that is completed as the sun goes down in the West looking across the Lake. But, we jumped on the 1 1/2 hour tour so the fishing crew still could fish the morning and late afternoon. Being a holiday weekend, they ended up with two pontoon boats full of people. Was very nice to ride around the lake, see the many birds the lake offers and hear the history of Reelfoot Lake (check the end of this blog for the history of Reelfoot Lake).

Before taking the tour, we visited the Wildlife Refuge that houses many snakes, eagles, and other birds. In one photo below, you will see our grand-daughter Denali petting an owl. Then our grand-son Aiden with an Eagle in the cage behind him being rehabilitated from injury and hoping to be released in the future. Reelfoot is also known for its Eagle population.

Now off to the pontoon boat to escape the heat and begin our lake tour.

Reelfoot Lake has many turtle and bird species that you get to see. It is becoming known more for it bird watching/viewing than its fishing.

Above is photos of an Egret nest with a baby Egret in the nest. This bird is mistaken for an Eagle many times since it builds its nest very large as an Eagle does.

Back at Sportmans Resort pier, the grandkids, Aiden and Denali Canaday, join in with the statues of just sitting on the pier.

At Reelfoot Lake, one of our favorite things to do is eat at one of their fabulous restaurants. Known for their fried catfish steaks and/or filets, with french fries, onion rings, beans, slaw, rolls, hushpuppies and all the fixings, well "family style" means eating like your at home with the family. The cost compares to many nice restaurants in big cities (around $15 - $19 per person for dinner family style) but is so delicious. Our favorite place is Boyettes Restaurant but this year, we headed to Lakeview Restaurant. Still very very good.

And the finale of this trip was to spend July 4th watching fireworks at a nearby town called Hickman, Kentucky. This is Debe's childhood home and going back to see the local small town fireworks was on our list of things to do this trip. What a pleasant surprise it was. Locals brought out their lawnchairs and headed thru the wall opening of the seawall to sit and watch the display. While many others sit in the harbor onboard their many types of boats to catch the fireworks. The display was very nice for such a small town with an awesome finale for all to see. Our grandson Aiden felt it was loud as the booms echoed off the seawalls while our grand-daughter Denali begin with her eyes and face covered but by the finale we found her cheering with the crowd. What a great finale to a long holiday weekend.

Well, as I said above, here is a chance to read about the history of Reelfoot Lake. I think you will find it very interesting:

Reelfoot Lake was formed when the region subsided during the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–1812. History says that theMississippi River flowed backward for 10–24 hours to fill the lake, but it is most likely that waves from the quake caused the river to appear to flow upstream. The earthquakes resulted in several major changes in the landforms over a widespread area with shocks being felt as far away as Quebec. Reelfoot Lake is a shallow natural lake located in the northwest portion of Tennessee. Much of it is really more of a swamp, with bayou-like ditches connecting more open bodies of water called basins, the largest of which is called Blue Basin. Reelfoot Lake is noted for its bald cypress trees and its nesting pairs of bald eagles.

Another trip that is not exotic, but, a great getaway. And a great trip to do something with the family. This adventure brought us to a place we love to go and have been going for years, and adds family to the mixture. Then, a great day of fireworks in the hometown of Debe. So when you mix it all together, it can only be explained as "fantastik" Thanks again joining us on another, family adventure. And state turned for more to come.


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