Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 6/19/2017 6:34:42 PM

Water level 256.21 ft, rising 0.1 ft/day, 3.8 ft below rule curve Monday. The Corps is supposed to maintain summer pool (260 ft) from May 1 to August 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 slowly rising from this past weekend's rains and is murky in the tributaries. With the river bank full and rolling at the Hwy 7 bridge Monday, expect several days more rise before the water stabilizes and clears. The rise has a lot of newly hatched bream and minnows swimming in recently flooded smartweed and other vegetation. Bass and other predators are after the small fish, and catfish and other bottom feeders are feeding in the newly flooded areas. Water temperatures are in the low 80's; cool enough that crappie have still not really stacked up in summer patterns yet.

MDWFP angler creel surveys this past week found crappie anglers fishing 8 - 20+ 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 or squeeze down the barbs to reduce injuries to released fish. There is an American Crappie Trail tournament Friday and Saturday. Cool livewell water 10 degrees below surface water temperature with ice, recirculate livewell water to keep from bringing in warm water (flush only if fish regurgitate), use oxygen if you have it, and take other measures to keep fish alive for successful release in warm water. Most White Bass have been incidental catches by crappie anglers; they are schooling off sandy main lake points to feed on shad where they can be taken on jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. Catfishing has fallen off recently as bigger fish are spawning; you can still catch smaller ones. Channels are more likely to bite worms or stinkbaits, while bigger blues prefer minnows, cut shad, or flavored chicken; there are a lot more blues than channels in the reservoir the last few years. Channels are using the holes in the rip-rap rocks to spawn; worms under a bobber have been working in these areas. There have been some good reports on hand grabbling with most fish landed being blue cats ("white humpbacks") averaging nearly 20 lb, but some flatheads and a big channel or two have been showing up as the water warms. Most catches of Largemouth Bass have been on creek, slough, or river channel edges fishing 4 - 6 ft deep in flooded grass with spinnerbaits, topwaters (including buzzbaits), and soft plastics. Some bass have been on deeper cover (brush tops, etc.) on secondary and main lake points. Bass fish shallower early and late in the day and deeper mid-day. A few folks have been catching bedding bream fishing crickets or worms under a bobber in the shallows over a firm bottom (sand, gravel, sandstone).

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 river has to be up enough to get a boat out from the ramp. It should be high enough most of this week.

The spillway had one gate open 0.5 ft (100 cfs) Monday to maintain a minimum flow in the river below. 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.

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.