Fishing & Boating


Because of the collapse of a portion of the Clear Creek ramp March 7, 2023, the COE has closed the ramp until further notice.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announces the closure of Cole’s Point boat ramp. The area closed Oct. 11, 2021, to accommodate equipment for construction at the Sardis Lake Marina. Fishermen are encouraged to use the Pat’s Bluff boat ramp until the work is completed. See the Vicksburg District website for details.

COE maintenance is ongoing at the Clear Creek Recreation Area boat ramp restrooms.

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 3/21/2023 4:30:52 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Some smaller male bass are in spawning coves, but bigger females should be holding in deeper water near spawning coves. Fish river, creek, and ditch 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 Bruce at Wyatt's Crossing Outdoors 901-870-0298 is back in the bait shop. Most crappie reports are in 3 – 5 ft of water in creek coves near cover (males) or 4 to 7 ft deep over main lake flats in open water or standing timber (females). 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 under a bobber in any cover (riprap, stake beds, brush tops, stumps, etc.)..
Catfish Fish natural baits on rod-and-reel, noodles (jugs), or trotlines over main lake flats or on worms or stink baits in the river and creeks after rainfall.
White Bass White bass are making their spawning run up the river and larger creeks (Clear, Toby Tubby, etc.). Fish jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits over a sand bottom in the river and creeks or over hard-bottomed main lake points. There are no size or number limits on white bass.

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.

Some crappie may have already spawned abnormally early, but air and water temperatures have cooled off, which will put the spawn on hold until it warms back up.

MDWFP completed fall 2022 electrofishing. Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish were in shallow (3 - 6 ft) cover. Crappie were also suspended deeper in standing timber or other cover. White bass up to 3 lb were concentrated on the dam and Engineer's Point.


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 two gates open 8.0 ft each (1530 cfs) Tuesday. Best luck in the spillway and Lower Lake is when some water is being released, but not too much. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows out of the current or right along the rocks. They can also be caught trolling or drifting in the Lower Lake; 5 to 10 fish is an average catch. 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, cover in the old river run is the best bet, or fish right on the rocks in the spillway with crankbaits or swimbaits. Spillway gate openings, flow rates, and spillway water levels can be obtained at (662)563-4531 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 usually is updated midday.

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, including Sardis Lower Lake, has a 15-crappie creel limit.

Water Level

Water level 252.68, falling 0.1 ft/day, 7.6 ft over rule curve Tuesday. Expect rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain the rule curve. The water level is supposed to rise from winter pool (236 ft) in mid-January to 241 ft by March 1. High winter water releases should mean good fishing in the spillway and Lower Lake. Emergency spillway level is 281.4. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 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.



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