Water level 255.44 ft, falling 0.3 ft/day; 2.9 ft above rule curve Monday. For water level information, call (662) 563-4531 or check at http://126.96.36.199/offices/ed/edh/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://188.8.131.52/offices/ed/edh/plots/sardplot.png for a graph. The lake is supposed to be drawn down from summer pool (260 ft) to winter pool (236 ft) from August 1 – December 1.
Best luck for crappie has been fishing crankbaits or jigs and/or minnows 12 – 16 ft deep in the main lake or major creek mouths toward the dam. Some folks have been catching keeper black crappie fishing sunken brush tops in similar depths, but you will need a good depthfinder. The Magnolia Crappie Club tournament this past Saturday was won with 7 fish at 12.99 lb; big fish was 2.33. Most teams weighed in 7 fish limits. A lot of short fish are being reported; use bigger baits and fish deeper to discourage smaller fish. Pinch down the barbs on hooks to make releasing short fish faster and less damaging; it does no good to release dead fish. Quite a few blue catfish and white bass have been hitting baits meant for crappie. Catfish have been biting natural baits fished on lines, jugs (noodles), or rod-and-reel, especially in the upper end. White bass are in the main lake feeding on shad; fish jigs, tailspinner lures, or small crankbaits over sandy points. Action is usually best the last 2 – 3 hours before dark. White bass can also be taken fishing the outside bends of creek and river channels on similar baits or spoons. There are LOTS of white bass in the lake; there is no size or number limit on them, so take all you can use. For largemouth bass, fish spinnerbaits or crankbaits in cover on the edges of creek and river channels with the water falling. In the main lake, fish soft plastics or jigging spoons in deeper water over dropoffs, channel edges, or main lake points.
There was a white bass kill last week; past kills have been from columnaris (bacterial) disease. MDWFP fisheries biologists investigated the kill and estimated over 90,000 died. Sampling last fall saw white bass at record numbers so the kill was not surprising.
As the water falls, folks report balls of “fish eggs” or “jellyfish” clinging to sticks, trees, and about everything else. These are actually colonial animals (like coral) that filter plankton out of the water. Nibbling by fish results in a rounded colony. Web search “freshwater bryozoans” for more on these interesting, ancient animals.
The spillway had two gates open 8.0 ft each (3800 cfs) Monday. Best luck down here has been has been for white bass fishing jigs near the bottom in the fast water. Catfishing has slowed down, but you can still catch a few on nightcrawlers or cut shad.