Fishing & Boating


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 - 6/30/2020 4:58:26 PM
Species Detail
Bass Bass will be in the clearest water available on any cover in channel edges where weedless lures (spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs, or soft plastics) are best choices. Check out where any sloughs or cuts drain into Hickahala Creek or other creeks.
Crappie Fishing is improving with crappie finally starting to pull out of the bushes, but if the water rises again, they may go back in the bushes. Both single pole jiggers and crankbait trollers have been reporting good catches if the wind and weather cooperate. Expect the occasional catfish or White Bass and numerous short crappie. Bigger crankbaits 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 the edges of flooded vegetation.
Catfish 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. Most fish have been Blue Catfish. Channel Catfish can be landed fishing worms under a bobber over rip-rap (dam, ramps, etc.). Grabbling season started May 1; an 80+ lb flathead was reported handgrabbled this past weekend, but was not a record.
White Bass Fish for White Bass over sandy, main lake points 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.

Expect extra boats on the water this holiday weekend. The water level is falling to a point fish are starting to exit flooded vegetation. The water level still needs to drop 1 - 3 ft for fishing to improve significantly. Fish will be following the water as it rises or falls. Fish in or near tributaries, ditches, and other travel routes. Water falling, fish deeper; water rising, fish shallower. Tuesday's rain may raise the water level enough to slow the crappie fishing but make the catfish bite.


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 (2075 cfs) Tuesday. Best luck in the spillway is for catfish on 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 a jig-n-pig. 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 227.84, falling 0.2 ft/day, 7.9 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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