Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 6/19/2018 2:55:23 PM

Water level 226.15, falling 0.2 ft/day, 6.2 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Water level is supposed to be at summer pool (220 ft) from May 15 until September 1. 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 water is still falling and pulling fish out of the trees and bushes. Crappie fishing success dropped off when rain runoff slowed the fall, but has picked up lately with best success pulling crankbaits about 4 - 5 ft deep in 10 - 14 ft of water off main lake points. Folks pushing jigs and/or minnows have not been doing as well as cranks. Single pole jigging has picked up lately, but still not as productive as trolling. Some crappie have been coming from the river as fish move out of some of the brakes and sloughs to head downriver to deeper water. To return short crappie alive and in good shape, PLEASE replace treble hooks with singles, especially the rear hook on crankbaits, and/or pinch the barbs down to make unhooking easier. Losing a few fish is better than killing a lot. Catfishing reports have been slow, indicating cats are more interested in spawning than eating. Best luck has been on trotlines or jugs (noodles) or fishing over rip-rap rocks for small cats. Other reports for catfish have been Will Bennett ditch in the Hurricane Creek arm fishing cut shad with rod-and-reel and limb lines in the river. White Bass have started blowing up on shad. Be there at daylight at Bird Island, the main lake island, or other sandy, main lake points; fish jigs, white spinnerbaits, or small crankbaits. The fast bite only lasts about 1 - 2 hours. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. Normally, on high water years the bream grow big and spawn over firm bottoms like gravel roads or 4-wheeler trails; try some crickets. No reports on Largemouth Bass other than some incidental catches on crankbaits for crappie. Bass have been in main lake patterns on the other reservoirs, but may still be in the bushes here with the fish shallow. Look for them on creek and ditch edges as the water falls and fish spinnerbaits or soft plastics.

The spillway had one gate open 5.0 ft (1480 cfs) Tuesday AM. As usual this time of year with hot weather and lots of flooded vegetation, they are pulling "dead water" (low oxygen) through the tunnel now with the standard sulfur smell (sulfur dioxide or "rotten egg gas"). A few catfish have been biting, plus there are some White Bass and bream here, if you can get past the odor.

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.


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