Fishing & Boating


The COE lowered the spillway and Lower Lake July 15 to inspect and repair the tunnels. It will be a few weeks before the gates reopen. Fall drawdown will be delayed.

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 - 8/9/2022 2:59:15 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Fish shallow (topwaters, spinnerbaits) early and late in the day or at night. Fish main lake points midday (any cover is a plus) and over the edges of the old river channel 8 to 15 ft deep with soft plastics, bladed jigs, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits.
Crappie Bruce at Wyatt's Crossing Outdoors 901-870-0298 reports good crappie fishing for August; advanced electronics and/or experience help find scattered fish. Some folks have found skittish crappie feeding shallow on shad; try casting to them. Jig standing timber or other cover (stake beds, brush tops) in the upper end. Most folks are fishing from Clear Creek to the dam by trolling or drifting with jigs and/or minnows or pulling crankbaits 13 to 18 ft deep in 15 - 20+ ft of water. 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 Fish crickets or redworms 4 - 6 ft under a bobber in any cover. There is a full moon Thursday; some fish may be spawning.
Catfish Fish various natural baits in the river and creeks if there is rainfall runoff. Otherwise, fish trotlines, jugs (noodles), or drift with rod-and-reel over main lake flats (cut bait has been best).
White Bass Whites have been schooling on bait fish off hard-bottomed points early and late in the day. Fish shad-imitating jigs or small crankbaits. There are no size or number limits on white bass.

The water level is relatively stable (and fish scattered) with the gates closed; evaporation is keeping the lake from rising unless there is significant rainfall. 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.

MDWFP fall 2021 electrofishing was completed Nov. 30. The fish population has expanded due to recent flood years. Lots of 1 - 5 lb largemouth bass were seen, plus smaller and larger fish. There was a good 2021 crappie spawn (now 3 - 4 inches). Short and legal crappie were seen, but most adult fish were deeper than electrofishing could reach. Catfish were common; blues were larger and more abundant than channels. 2021's gizzard shad (3 - 4 inches) were very abundant. No threadfin shad were seen; they were severely reduced (or eliminated) by cold weather in February. Bluegill (bream) were good-sized, but not as numerous as expected. More information will be provided as data are analyzed.

MDWFP fall 2021 trap netting was completed Dec 17. A very large 2021 year class was seen (black and white crappie), but the 2020 year class was weaker than expected. However, catch rates were the highest seen netting. Other than the 2021 year class, most were from the big 2019 year class. 2019 white crappie averaged 11.6 inches long. 

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 still had all gates closed and sealed (0 cfs) Tuesday for tunnel inspection/repair. The spillway and the Lower Lake are low. 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 260.93, stable, 2.6 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Fall drawdown is supposed to start August 1 and reach winter pool (236 ft) December 1. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain the rule curve. 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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