Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 10/9/2018 3:19:54 PM

Water level 251.17, falling 0.4 ft/day, 1.2 ft over rule curve Tuesday. Fall drawdown is supposed to start August 1 and reach winter pool (236 ft) December 1. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 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.

Crappie are off main lake points, in the mouths of major creeks, and over drop-offs on the old river channel. Best luck has been pulling crankbaits or slow trolling jigs and/or minnows for fish suspended 8 - 16 ft deep in 10 - 20+ ft of water. A few can be taken single poling similar depths in any standing timber from Clear Creek up to Hurricane Creek as they head downlake toward deeper water; target the edges of creek, slough, and river channels. White Bass and catfish may hit crappie baits. Expect a lot of short crappie; to return them 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. White Bass are in the main lake feeding on shad off sandy main lake points. Fish jigs or small crankbaits. There are no size on number limits on White Bass. There are no Striped or Hybrid Striped Bass in Sardis, just White Bass. Catfishing has been improving lately as the water is coming down, particularly in the river channel and sloughs in the upper end (the water level pulled into the river channel at Wyatt's this week). Fish various natural baits with noodles (jugs) or trotlines, but rod-and-reel will work, too, especially drifting flavored chicken over main lake flats. Grab some worms or stinkbait and head for the river or creeks if we get any rainfall runoff. Fish for Largemouth Bass off main lake points and other deep structure (humps, ledges, etc.) about 6 - 12 ft deep with crankbaits or soft plastics. Any cover (stumps, brush tops, stake beds, etc.) is a plus. Be sure to check out the river and creeks as bass are pulled out of the flats into deeper water.

Sardis COE personnel have closed the Hurricane Creek campground and will soon close the road to repave the road to the ramps and to repair the road out to the Indian Mound ramp. Although it will be an inconvenience until they are done, it will be nice to have the potholes gone.

As the water falls, folks report balls of “fish eggs” or “jellyfish” clinging to sticks, trees, etc. or floating in the water. These are actually colonial animals called bryozoans. They are like coral, but with a jelly-like rather than stony matrix. Like coral, they filter plankton out of the water.  Nibbling by fish causes the colony to become rounded.  Web search “freshwater bryozoans” for more on these interesting, ancient animals.

Classic fall turnover occurs when cooling surface waters become dense enough to mix with cooler, deeper, low oxygenated water. The water becomes about the same temperature top to bottom and oxygen levels decline from mixing with the deeper water; fish can be anywhere and may bite less due to lower oxygen levels. However, fall turnover on the flood control reservoirs is different because the spillway pulls out most of the deeper, low oxygen water by then. Turnover usually happens on these reservoirs in late September or early October; although the fish are not lethargic from low oxygen, they still may be scattered and hard to find.

The spillway had two gates open 11.5 ft each (4170 cfs) Tuesday AM. Most spillway fishing has been for catfish on natural baits near bottom, but you will need a lot of weight to get there with the amount of water coming out. White Bass are in the current, use jigs (especially under a popping cork) or small crankbaits. A few folks have reported catching crappie spider rigging the Lower Lake. For bass, either fish along the rip-rap rocks (spots) or in cover in the old river channel (largemouths). Check out the new COE fishing pier on the north side of the spillway near the end of the rip-rap.

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. 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, including Sardis Lower Lake, 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) 563-4531 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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