Fishing ReportArkabutla - 11/27/2017 3:21:22 PM
Late fall/winter fishing report. Weekly updates will resume in February.
Winter fishing usually means limited ramp access. 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. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 or check at http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/plots/arkaplot.png for a graph. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.
Winter fishing can be good since the fish often school tightly. Fish bite better after a few warm, sunny days. Unlike summer, best bet is to fish midday on sunny banks. Check water level trends; except for catfish, fishing is usually better on a slow fall than a fast rise. Even in cold weather, catfish will feed in rainfall runoff.
Best luck for crappie is either trolling or drifting along the dam, in the gravel pit, or in the mouths of major creeks with jigs and/or minnows or jigging in any remaining cover. White Bass can be taken on jigs or small crankbaits fished off sandy main lake points. Largemouth Bass usually will be in the clearest available water on any cover, on main lake points, or tributaries where soft plastics or a jig-n-pig are best baits. Catfishing is normally best using various natural baits on rod-and-reel, noodles (jugs), or trotlines over mudflats or on worms or stink baits in tributaries after rainfall.
Best luck in the spillway is when some water is being released. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows 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 a jig-n-pig.
MDWFP fall 2017 electrofishing found most Gizzard Shad were 3 – 4 inches long (2017 spawn). Threadfin Shad were seen for the first time; most were 1 - 2 inches. Blue Catfish ("white river cats” or "white humpbacks") were the most abundant catfish; they ranged from 12 - 36 inches with big peaks at 19 and 30 inches. White Bass were less numerous than in past years; most were young-of-year (YOY) less than 10 inches, or older fish over 14 inches. Largemouth Bass were 3 - 19 inches with good proportions less than 12 inches and from 15 - 19 inches. Crappie were 2 - 14 inches with lots of "short fish". Considering spring water levels, there was a good crappie spawn (mostly 3 inch YOY); keepers were mainly 13 inches.
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 daily creel limit for crappie is 15 per person. Crappie must be over 12 inches long. Anglers may use no more than 4 poles per person and no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole. There is a 40 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 15 crappie creel limit.
Limits on Black Bass (Largemouth and Spotted Bass) are statewide limits: no size limit, 10 fish per person daily.
Contact the COE office (662) 562-6261 for accessible ramps at current water levels.