Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 6/27/2017 3:49:50 PM

Water level 221.46 ft, falling 0.02 ft/day, 1.5 ft above rule curve (summer pool) Tuesday. The water level is supposed to be maintained at summer pool (220 ft) from May 15 until September 1. For water level information, call (662) 562-6261 or check at for a table or for a graph. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The water level finally rose over summer pool due to tropical rains; one spillway gate was opened up enough to start bringing it back down again. The rise has flooded hundreds of acres of smartweed and other vegetation that small fish have moved into, and bigger fish have followed. With a holiday weekend coming up, watch out for those folks that only get out on the water once in awhile. Fish early and get off the water before it gets too busy. Everyone be safe.

The recent water rise has made fishing challenging with all the flooded "grass". However, with the water level starting to fall, fish will move to the outside edges of cover. Best luck on crappie has been fishing very slowly in the deeper edges of the grass with minnows under a bobber. Forget about crankbaits. The rain runoff catfish bite has slowed. Catfish are also feeding in the grass; best luck has been fishing various natural baits on trotlines, but noodles (jugs) might work better. Not many reports from hand grabbling; most folks did not move their structures shallower before the water rose, so they are too deep to fish without supplemental air. Fish for White Bass over sandy points in the main lake with jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. No reports on Largemouth Bass, but they should be in any flooded grass close to channel edges or dropoffs; look for the clearest water available and fish spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, or soft plastics.

The spillway had one gate open 1.0 ft (300 cfs) Tuesday. Best reports down here have been for eating size catfish fishing crickets with no weight 6 to 8 inches below a bobber drifting down the current. Other fish caught recently have been White Bass and small crappie on jigs and/or minnows.

All fish captured and kept with dip or landing nets, cast nets, boat mounted scoops, wire baskets, minnow seines, and minnow traps in the spillway areas bordered by rip rap must be immediately placed on ice or in a dry container. Game fish caught with these gears must be released. This regulation was enacted to reduce the potential of transferring harmful Asian carps to the reservoir or other waters.

MDWFP electrofishing last fall found above average spawning success for most fish from the high water last spring. Most Gizzard Shad were about 4 inches long. Blue Catfish ("white river cats or "white humpbacks") were abundant in creek and river channels and shallow flats, with most fish 15 - 36 inches long. White Bass were not as common as in prior years, but most were larger (12 - 15 inches) and were mainly found on sandy points. Largemouth Bass, crappie, and bream were around any remaining cover (brush, stakes, stumps, etc.). Most bass were 10 - 17 inches long, with both smaller and larger fish seen. Crappie were mostly 2016 fish (3 - 4 inches) or fish over 12 inches long.

The daily creel limit for crappie is 15 per person. Crappie must be over 12 inches long. Anglers may use no more than 4 poles per person and no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole. There is a 40 crappie per boat limit for boats with 3 or more anglers. The 12 inch length limit does not apply to the reservoir spillway, but the spillway has a 15 crappie creel limit.

Limits on Black Bass (Largemouth and Spotted Bass) are statewide limits: no size limit, 10 fish per person daily.

Contact the COE office (662) 562-6261 for accessible ramps at current water levels.