Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 4/17/2018 2:41:02 PM

Water level 237.00, rising 0.2 ft/day, 27.0 ft above rule curve Tuesday. The water level is below the emergency spillway (238.3 ft). Water level is supposed to be at winter pool (210 ft) until May 1 and rise to summer pool (220 ft) by May 15. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain rule curve. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 or check at for a table or for a graph or for both. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The water is rising from last week's rain and cooled off from the cold front. Warmer weather is predicted most of this week. Crappie fishing success has been spotty with a lot of folks catching 0 - 5 fish. The problem is finding the fish because they are moving with the water rising or falling and scattered in heavy cover. Best luck is with a jig and/or minnow fished around the trees (there are plenty in the water!) in 3 - 5 feet of water either by boat or wading. Best trees are those with vines and/or on edges of openings, trails, ditches, creeks, etc. No good reports from people trolling. Other than a few catfish on trotlines and some White Bass in the creeks, few reports on anything else. Access is difficult because the water is so high all ramps are underwater. Be extra careful because things like concrete picnic tables and road guardrails are also underwater.

Crappie fishing tip: Crappie sense water level changes and react accordingly. When the water is rising, they will spawn 1 - 3 ft deep; when it is falling (or very clear), they will spawn 3 - 6 ft deep or more. Eggs hatch in 2 - 3 days. Newly hatched fry have a yolk sac, but no mouth. They lie in the nest (guarded by the male) until their yolk sac is absorbed and mouth parts form in another 2 - 3 days. Then they swim up and start feeding. Development is faster when the water is warmer; laying eggs to swim-up usually takes less than a week. Not all fish spawn at the same time. Spawning may last 4 - 6 weeks, or more, ensuring some fish are produced each spring.

The spillway had all gates closed, but there was a 1100 cfs flow Tuesday AM, possibly from a log or something blocking a gate. The COE is trying to bring the reservoir down and will likely open the gates some more. Very few reports down here; look for all fish to be out of the heavy current when they open the gates.

MDWFP fall 2017 electrofishing found most Gizzard Shad were 3 – 4 inches long (2017 spawn). Threadfin Shad were seen for the first time; most were 1 - 2 inches. Blue Catfish ("white river cats” or "white humpbacks") were the most abundant catfish; they ranged from 12 - 36 inches with big peaks at 19 and 30 inches. White Bass were less numerous than in past years; most were young-of-year (YOY) less than 10 inches, or older fish over 14 inches. Largemouth Bass were 3 - 19 inches with good proportions less than 12 inches and from 15 - 19 inches. Crappie were 2 - 14 inches with lots of "short fish". Considering spring water levels, there was a good crappie spawn (mostly 3 inch YOY); keepers were mainly 13 inches.

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.

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.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries Biologists use various sampling methods to assess the fish populations in the State’s waters.   Sampling results for selected water bodies are summarized in Reel Facts Sheets.


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