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. 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 is limited with high water; several are flooded.

Fishing Report

Arkabutla - 5/26/2020 6:52:34 PM
Species Detail
Bass Bass will be in the clearest water available on any cover in coves or tributaries where weedless lures (spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs, or soft plastics) are best choices.
Crappie Most catches have been less than 5 keepers, but anglers have been picking up a lot of short fish. Fish the outside edges of vegetation. Best luck has been single pole fishing with a bright colored jig and/or minnow in the trees and bushes 5 - 9 ft deep. Those with advanced electronics are doing best.
Bream Some folks have been catching bream fishing worms or crickets 3 - 5 ft deep under a bobber in flooded vegetation. Target spawners over any firm bottom (flooded gravel roads, 4-wheeler trails, etc.).
Catfish Catfishing has been slow recently. Fish worms or stinkbaits in the river or creeks if there is any rainfall runoff. Trotlines on deeper flats near cover have been doing best using various natural baits. 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; few reports yet.
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.

Arkabutla is the second highest above rule curve of the Big Four; most fish are still in flooded vegetation. The water level still needs to drop 3 - 4 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. Rain is forecast this week.


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 (2200 cfs) Tuesday. Best luck in the spillway is when some water is being released, but not too much. For crappie, fish jigs and/or minnows out of the current, like in Elbow Creek, or right along the rocks. Catfishing is best in eddies on natural bait fished near the bottom. 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 231.68, falling 0.2 ft/day, 11.6 ft over rule curve Tuesday. Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen. The rule curve is supposed to rise from winter pool (210 ft) on May 1 to summer pool (220 ft) on May 15. 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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