Faster rise expected during May

Published 12:01am Sunday, May 4, 2014

April fishing casted off on the slow side. We had almost a foot of rain in three weeks that really made the fishing tough until the last week of the month.

The water clarity cleared a bit and surface temperatures topped out in the low 70s, which kicked off the bream and catfish spawn.

Late April was a great time to catch lots of bream and catfish a few bass and some white perch. The month of May should be much more stable as far as weather and water conditions, hopefully.

There is no doubt we will be fishing on the protected side of the Mississippi River levee. The river did drop to a level of about 35 to 36 feet and that is a good level for bream fishing the Old Rivers at Yucatan, Old River Vidalia and Deer Park, but that level is not going to last long.

A very fast rise is heading downriver. By Wednesday, the river stage at Natchez/Vidalia will be right at 40 feet and if the predictions are correct, the rise will continue. My guess is we will have a crest around 47 feet about one foot shy of the 48 foot flood stage, but I am not the expert.

Just keep an eye on the river gauge if you have a camp, home or land on the unprotected side of the levee. Hopefully, the river will crest before it hits flood stage, and we will see a slight fall before we get the normal late May and June rise. If you like to catch catfish and bream now is the time. Lakes Concordia, St. John, the Saline/Larto and Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complexes are all producing limits of big bluegill, chinquapin, channel catfish and some blue catfish.

Cut bait like skipjack, a baitfish in the herring family, seems to be the bait the catfish want. I sold 360 pounds in two weeks. We are sold out now .but should have some more this coming week. The bream are still bedding on the lakes. Just fish the shallow cypress trees and the open areas between the thick, shallow cypress. Bream usually do not build beds in the shade. It takes sunlight for the roe to hatch, so most beds will be just out from thick cover.

Live crickets will catch the bluegill and the chinquapin seems to prefer red worms more than crickets. The bass fishing has been fair. I heard of good numbers of small bass coming from the Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complex. A fishing friend boated more than 17 bass Friday, but his five largest only weighed 12 pounds.

It’s still fun to catch the numbers regardless of size. If you are looking for larger bass and not numbers try Lakes Concordia and St. John. Bandit 100 and 200 series or any small crank bait that will cover the three to six foot depths will catch the bass.

You can also catch bass on light CrawGator or Elk River Jigs with a swimming style trailer. Instead of using the slow cold water dragging the bottom retrieve, speed things up and try to make you jig act more like a bream than a crawfish. When the bream spawn the bass feed on the bream.

So locate the bream beds and you will find the bass. Many of us were on Lake Concordia helping out Jason Stanley’s with the Children with Special Needs Fishing Day. We had 20 children sign up and managed to find 20 boaters to take these children out fishing.

A special thanks to those boaters for donating their time and putting a smile on the children’s face. You can check my personal Facebook page for the results of that day. All the children are winners. Everyone will get a rod and reel, tackle/gift bag, and we had several other things planned. Thanks to all the local businesses that made donations to this event and a special thanks to the host marina, Lakeview Lodge on Lake Concordia. We hope to make this an annual event.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.