Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 3/20/2018 2:09:52 PM

Water level 239.80, rising 0.2 ft/day, 29.8 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Water is flowing over the emergency spillway (238.3 ft). Water level is supposed to be at winter pool (210 ft) until May 1 and rise to summer pool (220 ft) by May 15. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain rule curve. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 or check at for a table or for a graph or for both. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The reservoir is about 1.5 ft over flood stage and muddy; it is about 35,000 acres at this level. Most folks lately have been fishing for crappie with best luck with a jig and/or minnow fished around the trees (there are plenty in the water!) in 2 - 3 feet of water either by boat or wading.  Best trees are those on edges of openings, trails, ditches, creeks, etc. Fish are scattered in high water; 10 - 12 keepers is a good day right now, but the average is less. Few reports on anything else. Access is difficult because the water is so high all ramps are underwater. Be extra careful because things like concrete picnic tables and road guardrails are also underwater.

The spillway had one gate open 5.0 ft (1750 cfs) Tuesday AM. The COE is trying to bring the reservoir down; the Mississippi River is supposed to fall this week which may mean opening the gates some more. Very few reports down here; best luck would likely be for White Bass in the current with crankbaits or jigs.

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.

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.


Share this share this share this

Sign up, Keep Up

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters featuring all the latest news and happenings from MDWFP.