Fishing ReportTunica Cutoff - 12/22/2017 10:32:21 AM
Late fall/winter fishing report. Weekly updates will resume in February.
With the weir, the Mississippi River will not enter the Cutoff until it rises above 6 ft (Memphis gauge). Flood stage is 34 ft. Best fishing is usually on a slow fall from 15 to 10 ft. For the river level and 5 day forecast, call (901) 544-0408 (press 2) or check http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lmrfc/?n=lmrfc-mississippiandohioriverforecast
Charlie's Camp and Bordeaux (Tait) ramps are the only ones open to the public. Use the honor boxes. Bait is now available across the levee.
Winter fishing on the Cutoff can be good since the fish often school tightly. Fish bite better after a few warm, sunny days. Unlike summer, best bet is to fish midday on steep, sunny banks near deeper water. 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. If the water is rising, fish shallower on the inside edges of cover. If the water is falling, fish deeper on the outside edges. Move stationary gear (lines, yo-yos, etc.) frequently if the water is rising or falling quickly.
Best winter fishing here is for crappie or White Bass ("stripes"). For crappie, troll or drift in the main lake, or jig in any cover (trees, planted brush tops, etc.) with a jig and/or minnow. Yo-yo's also work. For White Bass, fish jigs or small crankbaits on or near the ramps, the runout, or off sandy points. There is no size or number limit on White Bass. However, with the lake connected to the river, you might land a Striped Bass or hybrid, both of which have to be over 15 inches long with a daily limit of 6 fish per person. The best way to tell these fish apart is by their stripes. White Bass have 1 stripe running to the tail; stripers and hybrids have 2 or more stripes running to the tail. For Largemouth Bass, fish soft plastics or a jig-n-pig around cover on steep, sandy banks. Best luck for winter bream is with waxworms or redworms fished around cover near bottom. For catfish, fish trotlines or yo-yo's on mudflats, but rod-and-reel action will be better in the runout using various natural baits.
MDWFP fisheries biologists sampled 4, 1 acre areas in the lake in August, 2017, to compare current conditions to similar sampling done before Asian carp were present. Asian carp made up a significant portion of the fish population. Other abundant fish were Freshwater Drum and Channel Catfish, with a lot of cats near a pound (good eating size). 2017 spawned bream and crappie were fairly abundant, but larger bream and crappie were not. Hopefully, this means there should be more larger bream and crappie in the future.
An Asian carp kill occurred in late summer, but likely had little effect on the population.
Memphis District Corps personnel allow placement of artificial fish habitat. This is a good time to sweeten your favorite spots; remember to save GPS waypoints if you have the capability.
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.