Old Rivers are the place in the Miss-Lou to catch fish
We are blessed as fishermen and ladies to live in an area with numerous lakes, rivers, and the live and landlocked oxbow lakes.
Over the years, as the Mississippi River changed course, several old river bend lakes were formed. When the levee was constructed some of these river bends became landlocked.
If the Mississippi River is high and rising, we fish the landlocked oxbow lakes along the protected side of the levee for bass, stripers, bream, catfish and sac-au-lait.
By late April or May the pleasure boat traffic picks up, and the fish have become very educated to the sting of a hook.
When the river stage at Natchez drops below 38 feet or so, we just cross the levee and fish the live oxbows known locally as Old River Minorca and Old River Deer Park.
The bite on these waters all depends on the river stage and right now it is perfect.
We had a fast fall come downriver a couple of weeks ago, and we were afraid the river would fall too fast and the fishing would not have been as good as it normally is on the Old Rivers. A slight rise this past week slowed the fall down and really helped the fishing.
We did have a couple of days during the slight rise when the bite was off, but that’s over now.
I’m hearing good reports on the Old River perch, bass, bream and catfish. The white bass are schooled up as well, and they are very easy to catch.
The river stage at Natchez Saturday was 28 feet even and falling real slow. If you read my columns over the years you already know this is the perfect stage to catch the white perch.
Some call them crappie, sac-au-lait or specks, but no matter what you call these fish, nothing eats better than fried sac-au-fillets.
At a level of 28 feet and below some of the old dead willow stumps and snags will be visible above the waterline. The people I spoke with are catching the big slab perch around these snags anywhere from 8 to 12 feet deep.
The hottest lure, the most productive lure so far this year on the Old Rivers, is Gene Larew’s Slab Slayer in black and chartreuse and clear with silver flake.
Any of the shad colors will catch the perch. The Gene Larew split tail tube jig is catching fish as well. Some use the old standard 1/32 ounce jig head, but if the wind is blowing and the fish are deeper than 8 feet the Larew Mo’Glo 1/16 sure makes it easier to maintain contact with your jig.
If you’re after big fat bluegill and chinquapin, try fishing just inside the dead snags along the flooded green willows with crickets and red worms. For whatever reason the chinquapin (red ear bream) seem to like small red worms while the bluegill like crickets.
You would have to ask the fish why and the last time I tried that they were not talking.
The river forecast looks good for the next few days. On Monday we should see the level remain at 28 feet then a slight fall will hit Natchez on Tuesday. By Wednesday we’ll see a level around 26 feet.
Now is the time to fill your freezer with Old River perch, bream and catfish.
The third stop of the new Top Rod Series will land on Lake St. John May 12 out of Spokane Landing.
These bass tournaments feature a singles format with a 100 percent pay out hosted by Eddie’s Marine. All fees collected are paid out to the top five contestants with the heaviest five bass creels, and the contestant with the single largest bass.
The winner of the last T.R.S. event on Lake Concordia netted over $1,400.
For more information on this series as well as most all of the local bass tournaments in the area contact me.
May is a great month for fishing in the Miss-Lou area. Good luck to all!