River levels expected to stay lowPublished 12:30am Sunday, September 23, 2012
The Mississippi River remains at a very low level.
Going into the normally dry months of fall, I certainly don’t look for that to change any time soon. It is usually late November before we see a significant rise come down river.
The stage at Natchez today is 9.9 feet and falling real slow. I get mixed reports on the condition of the Vidalia Riverfront boat launch. I do know the ramp now ends at least 20 feet from the river’s edge but a few people say they have launched there but you have to back your truck down so far it will be in the water.
I was told the ramp at Natchez Port was in very poor condition. We have two towns only a river apart and no boat ramps to access the river. I can understand the problem at this low level.
This would be a great time to continue extending the ramps as the water level falls. Hopefully that is what will be done.
If you can find a way to launch a boat in the river, the catfish bite is strong. At this level the flats are dry. The fish have no choice but to hold in the main channel in the deep holes.
The water level at the mouths of Coles Creek, St. Catherine Creek and the Homochitto River is extremely low. If you follow these creeks and river out to the main river channel and fish the intersection you will probably find the catfish stacked up.
Of course the old standby pattern is to fish the ends of the rock jetties. On the landlocked lakes the water levels are still low.
The good news is cooler nights have lowered the surface water temperature several degrees. Last weekend Lake Bruin’s water temperature topped out at 85 by mid-day. That is a lot better than 90-92 degree water. The bass were somewhat active, but you had to work for the bites. Some caught fish on surface lures.
I stayed with a semi-deep water pattern fishing the piers in water 6 to 12 feet deep. The only way I could catch any decent fish was crash casting a 3/4 ounce jig as far back under the docks and over the cross members as I could. Out of nine strikes, I landed only six.
That is a tough way to fish, but it works.
There is a good surface bite going on with the bass on Black River Lake. The water clarity is ultra clear. You can see some really big bass follow your lure out and not strike.
The best action will be very early before the sun rises over the trees. Once the sun gets up you can stay with the clear water and catch some bass on bottom lures and jerk baits, but you may be better off heading up the bayous to Cocodrie where the water is stained.
On a clear day stained to muddy water will out produce clear water.
Horseshoe lake’s water clarity looks great for mid-day fishing, but the water is so low you can fish all the cover this lake has to offer in about three or four hours.
Lake Concordia is producing a good surface bite early and then you can go to a bandit crank bait and pick up enough bass to have a good day. The same thing holds true for Lake St. John.
Fall is here and this is a major transition month for game fish. Good things are beginning to happen and it will just keep getting better as the water cools down.
Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.