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Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 8/15/2017 7:07:39 PM

Water level 257.70 ft, rising 0.1 ft/day, 0.2 ft below rule curve Tuesday. Fall drawdown is supposed to start August 1 and reach winter pool (236 ft) by December 1. For water level information, call (662) 563-4531 or check at http://155.76.244.230/offices/ed/edh/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://155.76.244.230/offices/ed/edh/plots/sardplot.png for a graph. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The water level is rising from recent heavy rains, muddying up the river and creeks; it is the highest it has been this year. Small fish are in the flooded "grass", and bass and other predators are after them. Fall drawdown was supposed to start August 1, but was delayed until the water level has about caught up with the rule curve.

MDWFP angler creel surveys this past week found crappie anglers fishing 8 - 15+ ft deep either slow-trolling jigs and/or minnows or pulling crankbaits in the main lake or jigging the timber from Holiday Lodge up to Hurricane Creek. Submerged brush tops are producing mostly Black Crappie. White Crappie are suspending over creek mouths, old river and slough channels, dropoffs, and other bottom features. Expect a lot of White Crappie just under 12 inches from a big 2014 year class. Fish bigger crankbaits, jigs, and minnows to discourage smaller crappie and/or replace treble hooks with single hooks and/or squeeze down the barbs to reduce injuries to released fish. White Bass are schooling off sandy main lake points feeding on shad where they can be taken on jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits; early mornings and late evenings have been best. Teckville (Holiday Lodge) and Wyatt's Crossing ramps have been good spots for an evening White Bass bite. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. For catfish, fish worms or stink baits in the creeks and river as long as there is any rain runoff. Fish noodles (jugs) or suspended trotlines 12 - 15 ft deep over deeper ledges where bigger blue cats are schooling. Folks drifting baits on the bottom are catching mostly smaller cats. Channel cats are more likely to bite worms, liver, or stinkbaits, while bigger, more abundant blues ("white humpbacks") prefer minnows, cut shad, or flavored chicken. Most catches of Largemouth Bass have been on creek, slough, or river channel edges fishing 3 - 8 ft deep on the edges of flooded grass with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or a jig-n-pig very early and late in the day (or at night). Midday, fish any deeper cover (brush tops, etc.) on main lake points or other deep structure (drop-offs, flooded ramps, etc.).

Use the second ramp at Wyatt's Crossing now. The Hwy 7 ramp was recently cleaned off, but only through the first mud bar. The water should be deep enough to get in this week.

The spillway had two gates open 1.0 ft each (500 cfs) Tuesday; the gates have been opened up more as fall drawdown starts. Expect better fishing down here with the increased flow. About the best reports here have been for catfish on natural baits. For White Bass, drift a 2 jig rig just off bottom in the current or fish small crankbaits or tailspinner lures. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows under a bobber near the rocks or troll in the Lower Lake. 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 shocking in the Lower Lake last year found Silver (jumping) Carp. Anglers are cautioned that small Asian carp (Silver and Bighead) are very hard to tell from shad.

MDWFP fall 2016 electrofishing found most Gizzard Shad were about 3 inches long (2016 spawn). Threadfin Shad had shown up again; most were about 2 inches. Blue Catfish ("white river cats or "white humpbacks") were abundant in creek and river channels and shallow flats; most fish were 13 - 35 inches long with a big group near 21 inches. White Bass were uncommon; most were 11 - 12 inches and were mainly found on sandy points. Largemouth Bass, crappie, and bream were around any remaining cover (brush, stakes, stumps, etc.). Bass of all sizes were seen with a good proportion from 16 - 21 inches. Crappie were 2 - 16 inches with lots of "short fish"; keepers were mainly 13 inches.

MDWFP fall 2016 trapnetting found fish mostly from 2016 and 2015 less than 8 inches, although larger fish were seen, especially Black Crappie.

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, including Sardis Lower Lake, 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) 563-4531 for accessible ramps at current water levels.

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, including Sardis Lower Lake, 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) 563-4531 for accessible ramps at current water levels.

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