Fishing & Boating


Weekly fishing reports will resume the week of February 15, 2022. Listed below are winter fishing tips and techniques.

Boat ramp access is limited at low winter water levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announces that it will close a section of the toe road at Arkabutla Dam beginning Nov. 1.

The closure will affect the toe road from the intersection of Old Pratt Road to the outlet channel and is expected to last three to four weeks. Old Pratt Road and the Outlet Channel will remain open during this time. Visitors must detour across the top of Arkabutla Dam to access the outlet channel or Arkabutla Dam Road. For more information, contact the Arkabutla Lake Field Office at 662-562-6261.


Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 12/7/2021 3:43:20 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Fish soft plastics, bladed jigs, or jerkbaits in the clearest water available near any cover on main lake points or tributaries.
Crappie Troll or drift along the dam, in the gravel pit, or in the mouths of major creeks with jigs and/or minnows or jig in any remaining cover. A lot of short fish are being caught; use bigger baits and 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 redworms or waxworms near cover, including rip-rap.
Catfish Fish various natural baits on rod-and-reel, noodles (jugs), or trotlines over mudflats or on worms or stink baits in the rivers after rainfall.
White Bass Fish jigs or small crankbaits over sandy, main lake points. There are a few yellow bass in the lake. Neither white nor yellow bass have any size or number limits.

Winter fishing can be good since the fish often school tightly and/or are concentrated by low water. 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. Water falling, fish deeper; water rising, fish shallower.

Normal timing of fall drawdown lets vegetation colonize and grow on exposed mudflats until killed by frost. High water and late drawdowns prevent that growth. Next spring, the water will rise over bare mudflats with no vegetation to provide fish habitat and wave protection.

MDWFP fall 2021 sampling (electrofishing) finished recently. Lots of chunky 2 - 5 lb bass were seen, as well as hand-sized bream and a lot of 2 - 20+ lb catfish, holding on cover 1 - 5 ft deep. There were good numbers of crappie, but they were holding deeper than bass/bream; most were smaller fish less than 3 years old, but some larger fish were present. The February freeze severely reduced threadfin shad numbers, but gizzard shad were happy to make up the difference with lots of 3 - 6 inch young fish.

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. 


Spillway fishing is best when some water is being released, but not too much. Spillway gate openings, flow rates, and spillway water elevations can be obtained at or (click on 24-hour change for picture explanation of gate flow, spillway flow, etc.). 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 along the rocks with crankbaits or soft plastics.

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 12 inch crappie length limit does not apply to the reservoir spillway, but the spillway has a 15 crappie creel limit.

Water Level

Water level 210.53 ft, falling 0.3 ft/day, 0.3 ft below rule curve Tuesday. The water level is supposed fall from 220 ft (summer pool) on August 30 to 210 ft (winter pool) on December 1. Emergency spillway level is 238.3. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 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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