Mississippi River level dropping

Published 12:01am Sunday, April 15, 2012

If you were out and about Thursday morning before the sun came up, you probably noticed numerous people trailering boats.

The bream, white perch, catfish and bass fishing really turned on this week due to a sharp fall on the Mississippi river.

The Old Rivers are pumping out some really nice fish.

The river stage at Natchez Friday was 34.4 feet and falling. That’s a perfect stage for the big Old River bream, a good level for the perch, great for the catfish and fair for the largemouth bass.

At 34 feet, there is still a lot of water in the woods, so that’s where you’ll find the best fishing.

The bream are spawning back in the flooded green willows from three to six feet deep. Be sure to check any flooded gravel roads for bream beds. Bream search for areas with hard bottoms.

The flooded roads leading to farms and boat camps attract a lot of bream and bass.

If you can find some current, that’s where you’ll find the largemouth and white bass.

Some of the barrow pits along the levee have drains that lead to the Old Rivers. When the river falls this fast, you’ll find some current in the drains and load up on some nice fish.

I heard several good reports from the white perch fishermen and ladies. One guy said he was catching spawning perch over deep water, but they were only 4 to 5 feet down.

Perch will suspend and spawn on a laydown log, green willows or whatever, so you don’t have to be in shallow water to catch the fish, but you do have to fish shallow over deep water.

On the protected side of the levee, the bass spawn is winding down and the bream spawn is wide open.

I heard several good reports on numbers of bream from Lakes Concordia and St. John.

Fish the cypress trees with the bulrush grass growing around them. Over the years, for whatever reason, we lost all the coontail moss from these two lakes. That’s one reason the fishing has fallen off, and the water clarity and quality is nowhere near as good as it used to be.

Moss acts like a filter and holds small fish. Big fish eat small fish. Take moss out of lake and the fishing always declines.

The bulrush is all we have left as far as vegetation. Find the bulrush growing around a big cypress tree, and you catch some bream from the landlocked lakes.

The largemouth bass will be hanging near the bream beds picking off the smaller fish.

For three weeks now most all the bass we’re catching were small, beat up post spawn male fish. The post spawn is winding down. The big female bass should be over the post spawn funk that has really made them tough to catch this year.

Early and late you should be able to catch some nice bass on surface lures. Poppers, chuggers and walking style lures will work.

During the middle of the day it’s hard to beat a good crank bait fisherman during a bass tournament. The local favorite is the Bandit 100 and 200 series in bream and shad patterns.

Just cast the little crank bait past a tree and try to get an angle on your retrieve that will allow the lure to hit the tree, log or whatever. This creates a reaction strike from non- aggressive bass.

Fishing season is here. The hardest decision now is where to go.

We are blessed to have the landlocked oxbows and live oxbows on the Louisiana side of the river and the small reservoir at the Natchez State Park, as well as Lake Okhissa in Franklin County.

Okhissa is home to some huge bass and bream. We’ll be on Lake Okhissa April 21 for the Fourth Annual Big Bass Challenge hosted by HHC and directed by Eddie’s Marine.

Come join us for a fun filled day on a great lake.