Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 8/15/2017 7:00:44 PM

Water level 220.15 ft, falling 0.05 ft/day, 0.2 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 is just over summer pool and falling slowly; the gates were cut back Monday to slow the fall, and it may mess up the fishing for a few days. There are hundreds of acres of flooded smartweed and other vegetation that small fish have moved into, and bigger fish have followed.

Fishing has been challenging with all the flooded "grass". Best luck on crappie has been fishing very slowly in the deeper edges of the grass with minnows; some folks are single-poling, others are moving in and out with multiple poles. Forget about crankbaits. For catfish, fish worms or stinkbaits in the river and creeks if we get any rain runoff. Catfish are also feeding in the grass; best luck has been fishing various natural baits on trotlines, but noodles (jugs) have been working better. 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. As usual this time of year, fish shallower early and late in the day and deeper midday.

The spillway had one gate open 2.0 ft (600 cfs) Tuesday; the gate was cut back Monday. Few reports from down here, but best luck has been on catfish fishing natural baits. The bad smell in the spillway is hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) that is in solution in deep water where there is no oxygen in the upper lake. As deep water is drawn through the dam, the gas comes out of solution in the spillway when the water is re-oxygenated with splashing down the tunnel and rocks.

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.




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