Fishing & Boating


The COE is working in the spillway tunnel area. Just the section of road below the dam that crosses the tunnel is closed to vehicles, but the spillway fishing areas can be accessed from either direction. If you want to drive from one side of the spillway to the other, you have to go across the top of the dam.

From the Corps: 

Boat ramps on COE reservoirs will remain open. See

A tornado crossed the lake earlier this year, and storms blew down more trees on Easter Sunday and with tropical storm Cristobal. Some USCOE facilities (campgrounds, picnic tables, etc.) may be closed off until clean-up and repairs can be made. Contact the Corps for any questions.

Boat ramp access and parking are improving as the water is falling.

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 8/4/2020 2:08:28 PM
Species Detail
Bass Bass will be in the clearest water available on any cover on channel edges where weedless lures (spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs, or soft plastics) are best choices. Check out where any sloughs or cuts drain into Hickahala, Panther, Hurricane or other creeks. Some bass will be on main lake points and in the gravel pit.
Crappie Success has been good but spotty with fish moving with the water falling. Best luck has been drifting or slow trolling with minnows and/or jigs fishing 6 – 7 ft deep in 8 – 10 ft of water in major creek mouths and the main lake, but single pole jigging and crankbaiting have been producing, too. Expect the occasional catfish or White Bass and numerous short crappie. Bigger baits result in more keepers and less short fish. Please replace treble hooks with single hooks and/or pinch down the barbs to reduce damage and increase survival of short fish.
Bream Bream are holding in the same places as bass. Fish worms or crickets 3 - 7 ft deep under a bobber on channel edges around any cover.
Catfish Catfishing has been improving. Fish worms or stinkbaits in the river or creeks if there is any rainfall runoff. Otherwise, fish various natural baits on trotlines or noodles (jugs) over deeper flats near cover. Do not set stationary gear too deep or fish will die from low oxygen.
White Bass Fish for White Bass over sandy, main lake points (Hernando Point to Cane Creek) or in Hickahala and other sand-bottomed creeks with shad-imitating jigs or small crankbaits. There are no Striped or Hybrid Striped Bass in Arkabutla, just White Bass and a few Yellow Bass. Neither has a size or daily number limit.

Fishing is improving with lower water levels. Fish will follow the water if it falls or rises. Fish in or near tributaries, ditches, and other travel routes. Water falling, fish deeper; water rising, fish shallower.


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. 


The spillway had one gate open 7.0 ft (1810 cfs) Tuesday. Most spillway fishing is for catfish using natural baits fished near the bottom. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows out of the current, like in Elbow Creek, or right along the rocks. 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 spinnerbaits. Bream may be caught in eddies or near the rocks fishing worms or crickets under a bobber.

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 221.27, falling 0.2 ft/day, 1.3 ft over rule curve Tuesday. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen. The rule curve is supposed to remain at summer pool (220 ft) from May 15 until September 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 as it is not always updated daily.

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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