Fishing & Boating


From the Corps:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will conduct scheduled maintenance and inspections at three of its north Mississippi lakes – Arkabutla, Grenada and Sardis – that will temporarily close each lake’s outlet gates from approximately mid-August through the end of September.

During the outlet gate closures, the outlet channels at Arkabutla and Grenada lakes will be closed to fishing. Additionally, Sardis Lake’s three lower lake beaches – Paradise Point, Main Beach and Cypress Point – will be closed to swimming.


Spillway gates were reopened Sept 5; it is assumed this is a resumption of operations (contact COE personnel about swim beaches).

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 9/22/2020 2:25:58 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Fish any cover on the edges of channels (river, creeks, ditches, etc.) as shallow bass move to the main lake. Otherwise, fish deeper water off major points, ledges, etc. Any cover (ex. stumps, brush tops, stake beds) is a big plus. Fish topwaters at dawn and dusk or at night and deeper running lures (bladed jigs, shad-colored crankbaits, soft plastics) during the day. Keep something handy that you can cast a long way for surface schooling activity.
Crappie Bruce (901-870-0298) at Wyatt's Crossing Outdoors reports some good catches lately despite rising water. Fish 10 - 12 ft deep in 12 - 15+ ft of water. Single pole fishing around standing timber (advanced electronics really help here), slow trolling/drifting with jigs and/or large minnows, or pulling/pushing crankbaits in the main lake have all been producing. Expect some catfish, White Bass, and short crappie. Fishing larger baits will result in more keepers and fewer 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 have been in similar places as bass. Fish any cover (stumps, brush tops, etc.) with crickets or worms under a bobber 4 - 8 ft deep.
Catfish Head for the river and creeks with worms or stinkbaits in rainfall runoff as long as it lasts. Fish minnows, cut shad, or flavored chicken using rod-and-reel, noodles (jugs), or lines over main lake flats. Don't fish lines or other stationary gear too deep or the fish may die.
White Bass Fish jigs or small crankbaits over sand-bottomed, main lake points early and late in the day. Piney Point, Cole's Point, and out from Holiday Lodge are good areas. Keep a shad imitation you can cast a long way handy and watch for surface schooling activity. There are no Striped or Hybrid Striped Bass in Sardis, just White Bass which have no size or number limits.

Expect windy weather and scattered storms this week; plan accordingly. Local rains raised the water level, but it should start falling again, moving fish toward the main lake and making them easier to pattern. 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 2 gates open 2.5 ft each (1300 cfs) Tuesday AM. Best luck in the spillway and Lower Lake is when some water is being released, but not too much. White Bass can be seen hitting shad at the surface just down from the white water; folks are catching them with jigs, in-line spinners, or other shad-imitating lures. For catfish, use cut shad or other natural baits drifted near the bottom. Few reports on anything else. 

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, including Sardis Lower Lake, has a 15 crappie creel limit.

Water Level

Water level 258.87, falling 0.07 ft/day, 6.3 ft above rule curve Tuesday. The water level should fall from summer pool (260 ft) August 1 to winter pool (236 ft) by December 1. Emergency spillway level is 281.4. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 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.

Contact the COE office (662) 563-4531 for accessible ramps at current water levels.

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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