Water level 240.05, stable; 2.5 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Expect the lake to start falling faster this week as rain runoff decreases. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 or check at http://184.108.40.206/offices/ed/edh/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://ftp.mvk.usace.army.mil/offices/ed/edh/graphs1.htm for a graph. Fall drawdown started August 1 with a target of 236 ft by December 1.
Water temperatures are in the high 40’s. More seasonable temperatures this week may improve things slightly. Access is limited at most ramps at current water levels. Best luck for crappie has been trolling jigs and/or minnows 6 – 12 ft deep in the main lake from the dam to Holiday Lodge. Several folks have been jigging the timber near Holiday Lodge, too. Expect a few catfish or white bass fishing for crappie. For catfish, fish worms, shad, or stink baits in the river and creek channels or on main lake flats. Shad or flavored chicken works better on bigger blue catfish (white river cats) than worms or chicken livers. White bass have been biting small shad-colored crankbaits, swimbaits, or jigs along the dam and Engineer’s Point rocks, but any sandy, main lake points are holding white bass (“stripes”). There is no size or number limit on white bass. As the lake falls, it pulls fish, including largemouth bass, out of the backs of creeks into the deeper channels. Fish spinnerbaits, swimbaits, or soft plastics on river or creek channel edges 2 – 6 ft deep fish crankbaits or soft plastics 4 – 10 ft deep on any cover (brush tops, stake beds, old timber) off main lake points.
MDWFP electrofishing this fall found very good numbers of largemouth bass and white bass. Most largemouths were 1 – 2 lbs with a decent proportion of larger fish. Crappie from this year and last year were seen, as well as older keepers. Crappie preferred deeper cover, especially black crappie on brush tops. There were numerous blue catfish from 2 – 20 lbs throughout the lake, but especially in the river channel. Don’t expect to catch them on chicken livers and worms like channel cats.
As the water falls, folks report balls of “fish eggs” or “jellyfish” clinging to sticks, trees, and about everything else. Those blobs are actually colonial animals called bryozoans that filter plankton out of the water. Nibbling by fish causes the colony to minimize its surface area to a round shape. Web search “freshwater bryozoans” for more on these interesting, ancient animals.
The spillway had two gates open 6.0 ft each, two gates open 12.0 ft each (3700 cfs) Tuesday. Most fishing down here has been for catfish with natural baits. Some folks have been picking up a few crappie trolling in the Lower Lake or fishing a jig under a cork along the rocks. White bass should be hitting crankbaits or jigs in the faster water.