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Fishing & Boating

Alert

Weekly fishing reports will resume the week of February 15, 2022. Listed below are winter fishing tips and techniques.

Winter boat ramp access is usually very limited with low water levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announces the closure of Cole’s Point boat ramp. The area closed Oct. 11 to accommodate equipment for construction at the Sardis Lake Marina. Fishermen are encouraged to use the Pat’s Bluff boat ramp until the work is completed. See the Vicksburg District website for details.

COE maintenance is ongoing at the Clear Creek Recreation Area boat ramp restrooms.


Fishing Report

Sardis Lake - 12/7/2021 2:41:12 PM
Species Detail
Largemouth Bass Bass congregate on Engineer's Point and the dam, but also around any cover in the main lake; fish soft plastics, bladed jigs, or jerkbaits.
Crappie Bruce at Wyatt's Crossing Outdoors 901-870-0298 will be closed until March 2022. Drift or troll jigs and/or minnows for suspended fish around the dam or over the river channel in the main lake, or jig in any remaining cover. Use bigger baits and/or fish deeper to target larger crappie. Replace treble hooks with single hooks and/or pinch down the barbs to make releasing short fish faster and less damaging; it does no good to release dead fish.
Bream Fish redworms or waxworms around any cover, including rip-rap.
Catfish Fish various natural baits on rod-and-reel, noodles (jugs), or trotlines over main lake flats or on worms or stink baits in tributaries after rainfall.
White Bass Fish shad-imitating crankbaits, jigs, or soft plastic minnows at the dam, Engineer's Point, or main lake points. There are no size or number limits on white bass.

Winter fishing can be good since the fish often school tightly. Fish bite better after a few warm, sunny days. Unlike the summer, best bet is to fish midday on sunny banks. Check water level trends; except for catfish, fishing is usually better on a slow fall than a fast rise. Even in cold weather, catfish will feed in rainfall runoff. Water falling, fish deeper; water rising, fish shallower.

Normal timing of fall drawdown lets vegetation colonize and grow on exposed mudflats until killed by frost. High water and late drawdowns prevent that growth. Next spring, the water will rise over bare mudflats with no vegetation to provide fish habitat and wave protection.

MDWFP fall 2021 sampling (electrofishing) was completed Nov 30. The fish population has expanded due to recent flood years. Lots of 1 - 5 lb largemouth bass were seen, plus smaller and larger fish. There was a good 2021 crappie spawn (now 3 - 4 inches). Short and legal crappie were seen, but most adult fish were deeper than electrofishing could reach. Catfish were common; blues were larger and more abundant than channels. 2021's gizzard shad (3 - 4 inches) were very abundant. No threadfin shad were seen; they were severely reduced (or eliminated) by cold weather in February. Bluegill (bream) were good-sized, but not as numerous as expected. More information will be provided as data are analyzed.

Special Fishing Regulations


Species

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. 


Spillway


Spillway gate openings, flow rates, and spillway water levels can be obtained at (662)563-4531 or check at http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/bulletin.txt for a table or http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/plots/sardplot.png for a graph or http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm 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; it usually is updated midday. Best luck in the spillway and Lower Lake is when some water is being released, but not too much. Best luck in winter is usually for catfish using natural baits fished near the bottom. Fish for crappie with jigs and/or minnows along the rocks or trolling in the Lower Lake. Fish up against the rocks in the spillway with crankbaits or a bladed jig for both Largemouth and Spotted Bass; alternately, fish soft plastics fish around wood cover in the old river run.

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, including Sardis Lower Lake, has a 15 crappie creel limit.


Water Level


Expect rapid water level rises and drawdowns as rain events happen and the Corps tries to achieve and maintain winter pool (236 ft) from December 1 until mid-January, then it should rise to 241 ft by March 1. Emergency spillway level is 281.4. For water level information, call (662)563-4531 or check at http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/bulletin.txt for a table or http://mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/plots/sardplot.png for a graph or http://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm 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; it is usually updated midday.


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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