Fishing Reports


Arkabutla - 9/16/2014

Water level 223.17, falling 0.2 ft/day; 4.5 ft above rule curve Tuesday.  For water level information, call (662)562-6261 or check at for a table or for a graph.  The lake is supposed to be maintained at summer pool (220 ft) from May 15 – September 1.  Fall drawdown started September 1 with a target of 210 ft by December 1.


Flooding rains in the area last week popped the lake up about 3 ft, but it’s falling again now.  Best action recently has been for catfish in inflowing waters.  Success has been spotty for crappie; some folks have none, a few are getting close to a limit, and most folks are in between.  Best luck has been slow trolling jigs and/or minnows 8 – 10 ft deep in 11 – 12 ft of water in the mouths of major creek arms or on the south side of the main lake; minnows have been the key to bites.  Expect to land a few bass, catfish, and white bass, too.  Some folks have been catching crappie pole fishing the green bushes in similar depths and areas.  For catfish, fish trotlines, rods-and-reels, or noodles (jugs) baited with worms, shad, or shrimp in river and creek channels and the main lake.  For largemouth bass, fish spinnerbaits or soft plastics on main lake points with bushes, or on the channel dropoffs in the backs of creeks.  White bass have been schooling off sandy main lake points where they’ll bite small, shad-imitating lures (jigs, tailspinners, small crankbaits).


As the water falls, folks report balls of “fish eggs” or “jellyfish” clinging to sticks, trees, and about everything else.  These 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 one gate open 6.0 ft (1600 cfs) Tuesday.  Best luck down here has been for catfish (natural baits) or white bass (jigs, small crankbaits) in the faster water.  The bad smell in the spillway is hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) that is in solution in deep water where there is no oxygen in the upper lake.  As deep water is drawn through the dam, the gas comes out of solution in the spillway when the water is re-oxygenated with splashing down the tunnel and rocks.


Contact the COE office (662)562-6261 for accessible ramps at current water levels.

The daily creel limit for crappie on Arkabutla Lake is 20 per person. Crappie must be over 12 inches. Anglers fishing Arkabutla Lake may use no more than 5 poles per person and no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole.  There is a 50 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 has a 20 crappie creel limit.

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