Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 3/21/2023 3:48:42 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Bass should be in deeper water out from spawning coves. Fish river and creek channel edges with soft plastics, jerkbaits, or spinnerbaits around any cover (brush tops, stake beds, timber, etc.). Secondary points in coves may also hold bass.
Crappie Best reports have come from Massacuna Creek and Coldwater Point fishing jigs and/or minnows 4 to 7 ft deep around willows or other structure on channel edges (advanced electronics helps). Falling water levels mean fish will be deeper, even if it warms up and they “go shallow”. There have been fewer reports from the other northern creeks (Cane, Hurricane) or with other techniques. Use bigger baits and/or fish deeper to target larger crappie. Replace treble hooks with single hooks and/or pinch down the barbs to make releasing short fish faster and less damaging; it does no good to release dead fish.
Bream No reports. Fish redworms or waxworms under a bobber in any cover (riprap, rocks, brush tops, stake beds, etc.).
Catfish Fish worms or stinkbaits in the river or creeks if there is any rainfall runoff. Otherwise, fish various natural baits over main lake flats.
White Bass Female white bass should head up the river and creeks to join the males if it warms back up. Cast jigs or small crankbaits in the river and creeks over a sandy bottom or over hard-bottomed main lake points. There are a few yellow bass in the lake. Neither white nor yellow bass have any size or number limits.

Recent cold fronts and wind have slowed fishing success, but warmer weather this week may turn them on. Check water level trends; except for catfish, fishing is usually better on a slow fall than a fast rise. Water falling, fish deeper; water rising, fish shallower.

Crappie start to spawn when average daily water temperature at “fish depth” is about 58, peak at about 65, and end at about 75 F. Timing and duration of the spawn depends on temperature and water level trends, weather fronts, and moon phases. 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 during the spawn; females do not change color. Historically, crappie spawn on the flood control reservoirs from the last week of March until about the first week of May, but it may shift earlier, later, or be split into two or more peaks due to weather and water fluctuations.

Air and water temperatures have cooled off, which will put the spawn on hold until it warms back up. 

Special Fishing Regulations


Species Type Length To Release
Crappie (combined black and white) Minimum Length Limit 12 inches and under

Creel Limits (per person, per day)

Type Amount Additional Information
Crappie (combined black and white) 15 There is a 40 crappie per boat limit for boats with 3 or more anglers.

Anglers may use no more than 4 poles per person and no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole. 


The spillway had one gate open 19.0 ft and two gates open 1.0 ft each (3305 cfs) Tuesday AM. Best luck in the spillway is when some water is being released, but not too much. Most folks are fishing for crappie or white bass. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows under a bobber out of the current, like in Elbow Creek, or right along the rocks. Catfishing is best in eddies on natural bait fished near the bottom. White Bass will be in the current where you can drift a 2-jig rig just off bottom (watch the rocks!) or fish small crankbaits or tailspinner lures. For largemouths, fish any cover or right on the rocks in the spillway with crankbaits or jerkbaits. Spillway gate openings, flow rates, and spillway water elevations can be obtained at or (click on 24-hour change for picture explanation of gate flow, spillway flow, etc.).

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 12-inch crappie length limit does not apply to the reservoir spillway, but the spillway has a 15-crappie creel limit.

Water Level

Water level 224.07, falling 0.3 ft/day, 14.1 ft over rule curve Tuesday. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain winter pool (210 ft) from December 1 until May 1. High winter water releases should mean good fishing in the spillway. Emergency spillway level is 238.3. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 or check at for a table or for a graph or for both (click on 24-hour change for picture explanation of gate flow, spillway flow, etc.). Be sure to check the date on the table; it is usually updated midday.

Additional Information

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.

Share this share this share this

Sign up, Keep Up

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters featuring all the latest news and happenings from MDWFP.
- or -
Sign up to receive survey questions from MDWFP. Your information is valuable to our conservation efforts!