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Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 10/17/2017 3:22:45 PM

Water level 248.96 ft, falling 0.3 ft/day, 0.7 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Fall drawdown is supposed to start August 1 and reach winter pool (236 ft) by December 1. For water level information, call (662) 563-4531 or check at http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/docs/bullet.txt for a table or http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/plots/sardplot.png for a graph. Be sure to check the date on the table as it is not always updated daily.

The reservoir is on fall drawdown and falling fast to catch up to rule curve. The grass is out of the water now, and fish are following deeper water (river, creeks, sloughs, etc.) to the main lake as the water falls. Water temperatures will be falling from the 70s to the 60s this week with cooler weather. As the water falls and cools, expect fish to start moving shallower. Fall drawdown concentrates fish and generally puts predators in a feeding mode.

MDWFP angler creel surveys this past week found cold fronts and wind making fishing tough for most anglers. Expect improved fishing as the weather stabilizes. Crappie are still scattered by depth and area. Best luck for crappie anglers has been fishing 8 - 18 ft deep either slow-trolling jigs and/or minnows or pulling crankbaits in the main lake. Lately, jigs and minnows have been producing more keepers than crankbaits. Some folks are picking up a few crappie jigging the timber from Hurricane Creek to Holiday Lodge. White Crappie are suspending over creek mouths, old river and slough channels, dropoffs, and other bottom features. Expect a lot of short White Crappie from big 2014 and 2015 year classes, but the proportion of keepers has risen lately as the 2014 fish grow over 12 inches. Fish bigger crankbaits, jigs, and minnows to discourage smaller crappie and/or replace treble hooks with single hooks and/or squeeze down the barbs to reduce injuries to released fish. Most White Bass have been incidental catches by crappie anglers, but they are schooling off sandy, main lake points feeding on shad where they can be taken on jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. Teckville (Holiday Lodge), Cole's Point, and Wyatt's Crossing ramps have been good areas. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. For catfish, fish worms or stink baits in the creeks and river any time there is any rain runoff (unlikely this week). If no runoff, fish noodles (jugs) or trotlines 10 - 12 ft deep over deeper ledges where bigger blue cats are schooling; if the wind is stirring up the shallows, fish much shallower. Largemouth Bass have relocated from the flooded grass to any nearby adjacent cover such as brush tops, timber, etc. where soft plastics have been most productive. Bass and catfish have been concentrated in creek and river channels moving to deeper water with the fast drawdown. Most crappie have already moved out into the main lake.

Use the third (river) ramp at Wyatt's Crossing now. The river from the Hwy 7 ramp is inaccessible unless you drag a canoe or kayak across the mud. The Indian Mound ramp at Hurricane Creek is accessible now, but it is tough to get from Wyatt's to Hurricane (or vice versa) where the river is filled in near the old Umbrella Tree.

The spillway had two gates open 8.0 ft each (3300 cfs) Tuesday. The best reports here have been for catfish on natural baits. For White Bass, drift a 2 jig rig just off bottom in the current or fish small crankbaits or tailspinner lures. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows under a bobber near the rocks or troll in the Lower Lake. Some Largemouth or Spotted Bass should be biting crankbaits or soft plastics worked along the rocks. Check out the new COE fishing pier on the north side 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.

MDWFP shocking in the Lower Lake last year found Silver (jumping) Carp. Anglers are cautioned that small Asian carp (Silver and Bighead) are very hard to tell from shad.

MDWFP has started fall 2017 electrofishing. Results so far are a good spawn of bass and bream with all the flooded grass this year (young crappie are usually found in the main lake); also lots of small Gizzard and Threadfin Shad. Quite a few bass from 1 - 5 lb have been holding on cover on the edge of the river channel and planted brush tops in the main lake. We saw a few good Blue Catfish ("white river cats or "white humpbacks"). With the unseasonably warm weather, crappie are holding deeper than electrofishing can effectively sample. More information later as we continue sampling.

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.

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.

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