Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 9/18/2018 3:18:21 PM

Water level 218.80, falling 0.2 ft/day, 0.4 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Fall drawdown is supposed to start September 1 and reach winter pool (210 ft) by December 1. 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.

Arkabutla is on fall drawdown. Hot weather this week has fish acting like it was mid-August. Fishing should improve as the water level keeps falling and the weather cools. Best luck for crappie has been pulling crankbaits or pushing jigs and/or minnows about 8 - 12 ft deep (some reports to 16 ft) off main lake points and in the mouths of major creek arms. There have been some reports of catching crappie 3 ft deep by flipping (like for bass) because they are shallow and spooky. There is a Magnolia Crappie Club tournament coming up this weekend. Quite a few short fish have been landed recently. To return short crappie alive and in good shape, PLEASE replace treble hooks with singles, especially the rear hook on crankbaits, and/or pinch the barbs down to make unhooking easier. Losing a few fish is better than killing a lot. Best luck for catfish has been fishing trotlines baited with flavored chicken or other natural baits in the upper end. Noodles (jugs) or rod-and-reel will also work in creek or river channels or over main lake flats. Head for the river and creeks with worms or stinkbaits if there is any rainfall runoff. White Bass have been schooling on shad off sandy, main lake points early and late in the day; fish jigs, white spinnerbaits, or small crankbaits. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. Largemouth Bass fishing has improved recently. Bass are either in the tributaries heading downstream (fish cover on channel edges) or in main lake summer patterns; check out any rock and/or hard clay points especially with other cover (bushes, brush tops, stake beds, etc.). Fish topwaters or spinnerbaits early and late and crankbaits or soft plastics midday. As with crappie, recent reports are bass are shallow despite the heat.

As the water falls, folks report balls of “fish eggs” or “jellyfish” clinging to sticks, trees, etc. or floating in the water. These are actually colonial animals called bryozoans. They are like coral, but with a jelly-like rather than stony matrix. Like coral, they filter plankton out of the water.  Nibbling by fish causes the colony to become rounded.  Web search “freshwater bryozoans” for more on these interesting, ancient animals.

Classic fall turnover occurs when cooling surface waters become dense enough to mix with cooler, deeper, low oxygenated water. The water becomes about the same temperature top to bottom and oxygen levels decline from mixing with the deeper water; fish can be anywhere and may bite less due to lower oxygen levels. However, fall turnover on the flood control reservoirs is different because the spillway pulls out most of the deeper, low oxygen water by then. Turnover usually happens on these reservoirs in late September or early October; although the fish are not lethargic from low oxygen, they still may be scattered and hard to find.

The spillway had one gate open 5.5 ft (1324 cfs) Tuesday AM. The gates have been gradually opened up the past week and the lack of steady flow has made fishing erratic. Best luck down here has been for catfish on various natural baits fished near the bottom.

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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