Fishing & Boating

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 8/14/2018 3:34:32 PM

Water level 221.40, falling 0.05 ft/day, 1.4 ft above rule curve Tuesday. Water level is supposed to be at summer pool (220 ft) from May 15 until September 1. For water level information, call (662)562-6261 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.

Arkabutla did not come down much last week due to heavy local rains. Crappie fishing has been spotty with good and bad days. Best luck has been pulling crankbaits about 10 - 12 ft deep (some reports to 16 ft) off main lake points and in the mouths of major creek arms. Folks pushing jigs and/or minnows have not been doing as well as cranks, although some have been doing well pushing jigs fairly quickly behind a heavy weight ("power trolling"). Quite a few short fish have been landed recently. To return short crappie 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. Best luck for catfish has been fishing trotlines baited with flavored chicken or other natural baits in the upper end where the Coldwater River and Hickahala Creek come in. Noodles (jugs) or rod-and-reel will also work in creek or river channels or over main lake flats. Head for the river and creeks with worms or stinkbaits if there is any rainfall runoff. White Bass have been schooling on shad off sandy, main lake points early and late in the day; fish jigs, white spinnerbaits, or small crankbaits. The fast bite only lasts about 1 - 2 hours. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. Largemouth Bass fishing has improved recently. Bass are either in the tributaries heading downstream (fish cover on channel edges) or in main lake summer patterns; check out any rock and/or hard clay points especially with other cover (bushes, brush tops, stake beds, etc.). Fish topwaters or spinnerbaits early and late and crankbaits or soft plastics midday.

The spillway had one gate open 2.5 ft (881 cfs) Tuesday AM. Best luck down here has been for catfish on various natural baits fished near the bottom.

MDWFP fall 2017 electrofishing found most Gizzard Shad were 3 – 4 inches long (2017 spawn). Threadfin Shad were seen for the first time; most were 1 - 2 inches. Blue Catfish ("white river cats” or "white humpbacks") were the most abundant catfish; they ranged from 12 - 36 inches with big peaks at 19 and 30 inches. White Bass were less numerous than in past years; most were young-of-year (YOY) less than 10 inches, or older fish over 14 inches. Largemouth Bass were 3 - 19 inches with good proportions less than 12 inches and from 15 - 19 inches. Crappie were 2 - 14 inches with lots of "short fish". Considering spring water levels, there was a good crappie spawn (mostly 3 inch YOY); keepers were mainly 13 inches.

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 long. 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 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) 562-6261 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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