Water level 211.28 ft, rising 0.1 ft/day, 3.7 ft below rule curve Tuesday. The Corps is supposed to maintain summer pool (215 ft) from May 1 to August 1. For water level information, call (662) 226-5911 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/grenplot.png for a graph. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.
The water level rose over 1.5 ft from last week's tropical rains; it continues to rise slowly, flooding colonized vegetation. Expect water in the tributaries to be murky until the water level stabilizes. 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.
Collins' Bait Shop (662) 226-3581 reports the best luck for crappie has been fishing 8 - 12 ft deep in 14 ft of water slow trolling a 1/8 - 1/4 oz florescent red or pink jig with a contrasting skirt or spinner-jig; for either, tip it with a minnow or just use plain minnows. Some folks are pulling crankbaits at similar depths. Best areas have been over deep structure (channels and ledges) like Jack's Slough, the Turkey Creek area, and Carver Point. For catfish, the runoff bite is winding down. Fish various baits on trotlines or noodles (jugs). Channel cats are spawning in the rip-rap rock holes; worms fished under a bobber will work here. There have been some good reports on hand-grabbling lately for both Blue ("white river cats" or "white humpbacks") and Flathead Catfish, if you moved your boxes before the water came up. Most White Bass have been incidental catches by crappie anglers; they should be moving into the main lake and schooling off sandy points to feed on shad where they can be taken on jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. The main lake point where the two rivers join is a perennial hot spot. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. There have been a few reports lately on Largemouth Bass, but no word on where or on what. Expect most bass to be in the shallow, flooded grass on creek, slough, or river channel edges where spinnerbaits, topwaters, or soft plastics should work; look for the clearest water available. Some bass have moved to main lake points where they should hold on any cover (brush tops, stake beds, etc.). As usual for this time of year, fish shallow early and late in the day and deeper mid-day.
The spillway had one gate open 0.5 ft (110 cfs) Tuesday to maintain a minimum flow in the river below. Best luck down here has been for catfish on various natural baits, especially nightcrawlers and chicken liver. White Bass ("stripes") can be taken on jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. There have been some recent reports of Largemouth Bass being taken fishing spinnerbaits or soft plastics along the banks below the spillway.
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 most Gizzard Shad were about 4 inches long (2016 spawn). Blue Catfish ("white river cats or "white humpbacks") were abundant in creek and river channels and shallow flats; most fish were 13 - 36 inches long with a big group near 22 inches. 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 from the big 2013 year class (12 - 15 inches), with both smaller and larger fish seen. Crappie were mostly 2016 fish (3 - 4 inches) or fish over 12 inches long; there was a big group at 13 inches.
The daily creel limit for crappie is 15 per person. Crappie must be over 12 inches. 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) 226-5911 for accessible ramps at current water levels.