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Summer conditions kill silver carp

Summer lost its grip on the Miss-Lou a bit this past week.

Lows in the 60s and highs in the 80s offered a much needed few days of relief from the heat. Of course summer is not over.

The forecast predicts the highs will be back in the 90s this coming week.

I suspect the cooler air temperature and the clouds increased the fish activity a bit. The weekend reports will start rolling in Monday morning. Several people called or came by asking what’s going on at the Old River/Vidalia.

Hundreds of fish are dead and dying. From what I saw the majority of dead fish, are silver carp which is an invasive species that wreaks havoc on our rivers and old rivers. That is good news.

When silver carp invade a body of water, the game fishing will drop off.

I saw shad and some white bass but no dead white perch, bass or bream. The culprit is an extremely low water level combined with surface water temperature in the 90s and lack of wind.

Wind stirs the water up and adds oxygen. I would not doubt that we see more fish kills on other rivers and lakes before this summer is over.

The Mississippi River remains at a near record low level and there is not much change in the forecast. The river stage at Natchez Saturday was 8.5 feet and falling real slowly.

The low river stage landlocked the Old Rivers from any influence by the river, which contributed to the recent fish kill. The sad thing is the Old Rivers were producing more bass and white perch than any of our lakes.

Reports are not very good now. Even though there are very few dead bass, bream and perch, the bad water quality will put the fish in a non-feeding mode for at least a week or so.

The surface water looks bad. If you plan to fish any of the Old Rivers, I would think the fish have pulled out of the shallows and suspended in depths of 15 to 18 feet over 25 to 35 feet of water.

The white perch will certainly suspend when conditions are like this. Trolling small crank baits or drift fishing with multiple jig poles is a good way to catch the perch right now.

For bass I would head to Okhissa Lake in Franklin County. This small reservoir offers a lot of deep water opportunities. Fish the points, ridges and submerged islands with big deep diving crank baits and soft plastics. If they don’t work, try big jigging spoons.

The 4 to 5 inch spoons fished almost vertical work well on summer bass in man-made reservoirs. The early bite may be good on surface lures. Try big walking lures like a Heddon Zara Spook or any one of the larger popping or chugging style top water plugs.

Okhissa was formed by a dam across Porter Creek. Just out from the dam you can find water depths of almost 80 feet. The white perch population will increase over the next few years.

Currently the Florida strain bass and hybrid bluegill are the most sought after game fish on this reservoir. During early spring to the beginning of summer Okhissa Lake produces some huge bream. It is a bit of a mystery where these bream go after they spawn.

I would think they go deep and suspend near or over the creek channels.

August is just about over. Good things will happen in the fishing world as the days get shorter and the nights grow cooler.