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Better fishing in warmer weather

Warmer water temperatures this week kicked off a lot more fish activity than we had the week prior.

The bream had just moved up to spawn when we had that late-season May cold front pass through and slow the bream bite and most everything else down. This week was warm, and we had a couple inches of rain.

The bream are back on the beds, and that is a big plus for both the bream and bass fishermen and ladies. When the bass spawn in late February and March, the bream move into the spawning flats looking for an easy meal of bass eggs.

The male bass guarding the nest stays really busy trying to keep the bream and other fish away from the nest. Well, it’s payback time now. When the bream spawn kicks off, the bass move into the spawning areas and feed on the bream. Shallow diving crank baits like a Bandit 100 in bream patterns, Crawgator jigs trailed with a swimming chunk and big noisy surface lures will catch some nice bass while the bream are spawning.

If you are fishing backwater lakes where the bass are not so lure educated, a simple spinner bait will catch the bass. Surface water temperatures of the area lakes have been up and down so much this year the fishing has been really strange. The water temperature is now above 70 degrees and, barring no more weird cold fronts, the water should not drop below 70 until late fall.

This means we may actually put together some sort of pattern that will last more than a day or two. I heard reports of numbers of 1 1/2- to 2-pound fish coming from Black River Lake and few larger fish caught from Horseshoe Lake. Saturday, there were three bass tournaments going on at the same time on the complex. On Lake St. John, there were two visiting clubs fishing Saturday, and a club from Baton Rouge was on Lake Concordia.

They probably had an average day on all the lakes. The weather was perfect Saturday with an overcast sky and some rain here and there. The surface lure bite for bass was probably good. When the bass start feeding on bream instead of crawfish, they will be looking up for a meal instead of down at the lake’s bottom. That’s when the shallow diving square bill crank baits, a variety of surface lures and other lures that cover the surface and shallow water depths should be used.

Many of us are watching the Mississippi River stage closely over the past week or so. It won’t be much longer before we change from fishing the highly pressured landlocked lakes and cross the levee to fish for less hook-educated fish on the Old Rivers, the live oxbow lakes still connected to the big river. It looks like it will be a while before the river level drops to a favorable stage for Old river fishing, but when it does, the fishing will be good.

The river stage at Natchez today is 49.5 feet and rising slowly, approximately a tenth of a foot a day. The predicted crest date is still May 18 with a level of 50 feet. At 40 feet and falling, there is still a lot of water in the woods, but you can locate some bass around the ditches and flooded barrow pits.

At approximately 38 feet and falling, the big old river bream will be holding in the flooded green willows. The best bream bite is usually at approximately 35 feet down to about 28, but you can find the fish at other levels if you spend some time looking. The white perch fishermen and ladies prefer a level of 28 feet, but you can catch the perch a few higher than 28 and, of course, at lower water levels.

The Old River should be great this year. We just have to wait and see. Right now, it looks like conditions will be right by mid-June, if not early June.

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