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Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 4/17/2019 4:24:57 PM

Water level 275.57, rising 0.4 ft/day, 19.8 ft over rule curve Wednesday.  Water levels are supposed to rise from 241 ft March 1 to 260 ft (summer pool) by May 1. Emergency spillway level is 281.4. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 or check at http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/plots/sardplot.png for a graph or http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm for both. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The water level rose over 3 ft from last week, which usually generates a new run of fish to the banks spawning shallow. More rain is expected this week. Angler access is limited due to flooding.

Crappie start spawning when average daily water temperature is about 58 F, peak at about 65 - 68 F, and end at about 80 F. It is cooler at "fish depth" than at the surface. Timing and duration of the spawn depends on temperature and water level trends, weather, and, to a lesser extent, moon phase. Fish will spawn shallower in rising water, deeper in falling water. Bigger females usually spawn first. Males of any size can be caught throughout the spawn. Males will stay on the nest until eggs hatch and fry swim up (4 - 7 days) even if the water rises or falls (unless the nest gets too shallow). Males of both Black and White Crappie get darker on their throat and sides during the spawn when in clear water; males from muddy water will be paler. Females do not change color.

More rain, more water, more flooded vegetation. Some reports indicate some females with eggs are being caught in deeper water while mostly males are shallow. Best luck for crappie has been fishing small boats or wading the shallows and backwaters 1.5 - 4 ft deep with a bright colored jig and/or minnow. Some anglers are carrying loppers to get through the bushes. Fish are scattered in dense vegetation and no real pattern has emerged; fish enough bushes and trees and you should catch some. A few folks are slow-trolling similar depths out from flooded vegetation. White Bass have moved up the river (Hwy 7 ramp is a hot spot) and creeks where they can be caught fishing jigs or small crankbaits over sandbars. There are no Striped or Hybrid Striped Bass in Sardis, just White Bass that have no size or number limit. For Largemouth Bass, look for the clearest water and fish around flooded cover. A spinnerbait or buzzbait covers a lot of water; have a weedless soft plastic rigged on another rod in case you miss a strike. Males should be starting to look for bedding areas. Gravel roads and 4-wheeler trails through flooded vegetation are bedding bass magnets because of the firm bottom. For catfish, fish various natural baits with your gear of choice (rod-and-reel, trotlines, etc.). Most catfishing has been near the Hwy 7 Bridge or over newly re-flooded flats in the main lake. This is a good time to bowfish for rough fish (carp, gar, and buffalo).

The spillway had all gates closed (0 cfs) Wednesday. Usually fishing here is better with some current. Gates opening this week will depend on rainfall and Mississippi River levels. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows out of the current or right along the rocks. Folks have also been catching crappie spider rigging in the Lower Lake. For catfish, fish natural baits near the bottom. Fish for White Bass with jigs or small crankbaits (watch the rocks!) in the current. For largemouths, cover in the old river run is the best bet, or fish right on the rocks in the spillway with crankbaits or a jig-n-pig.

Sardis COE personnel have closed the Hurricane Creek ramp road to have the road repaved, including out to the Indian Mound ramp (not that section until next winter). Contact the COE office to see when it is expected to reopen. The county has been repairing bridges on the road to Clear Creek Landing (Hwy 314 or Old Sardis Rd) and sporadically closing the road. The ramp is open and you can bypass the bridge work if you know the back roads from Hwy 6 to Hwy 314.

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. 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.

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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