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Asian carp main story of summer

The Mississippi River stage is at a good level for fishing the live oxbow lakes.

The level is just about back down to 34 feet, where it was a couple weeks ago before the rise. I seriously doubt we will see another significant rise until November.

This is a slow fall, and a slow fall is exactly what we need to keep the water clarity good and the fish active.

Reports this week were few and far between, but they were not many people fishing during the week. I heard a couple good reports on the big Old River bluegill and chinquapin. Try fishing just inside the green willows that still sit in flooded waters.

The depth the bream are holding in depends on what time of day you are fishing. The fish may be a bit shallower in the early morning hours and deeper as the July sun heats the water up by mid-day. The drains from the barrow pits to the Old River are moving.

If you’re fishing a run-out, try backing way off with deep diving crank baits if the fish are not shallow. As hot as it is, the bass may be holding way off the run-outs on the first drop-off. The river stage today at Natchez should be around 35.4 feet, and the slow fall will continue. Do expect to catch some white bass and sea run striped bass around moving water and flooded boat ramps. I am not sure why we have so many sea run striped bass in the Old River this year but they are there, and we are not complaining.

These fish will be anywhere you catch the white bass. White bass are what most locals call bar fish, but bar fish are yellow barred bass and they rarely get over a pound or two pounds at the most.

Whites can get up to four pounds. The sea-runs and white bass are easy to locate and catch, making them a good species to target for young anglers. When I get bored chasing the elusive largemouth bass on the Old Rivers, I look for the stripers.

You can catch 25 to 50, sometimes 100 a day if you really get on them. Spoons, tail spinners, and bright colored crank baits that dive to the depth of water you are fishing will catch these fish. I like fishing with spoons. You can spoon fish for stripers and get into some big largemouth bass on the Old River. Of course, there is a depressing downside to fishing the live oxbow lakes. Any body of water connected to the Mississippi River or any rivers in this area, and as far north as Michigan, are being invaded by Asian carp. I feel like I am wearing this subject out, but it is serious.

The Silver and Bighead carp can devastate a river or river lake. Like I have been saying for months, the Silver carp are those crazy fish that are spooked by outboard motor noise and jump as high as 10 to 15 feet out of the water. That can be dangerous. I have spoken with people with broke noses and cracked ribs. When a 15 to 30 pound fish jumps 10 to 15 feet in the air, they come down fast and these fish will hurt you.

The Silver carp spawn up to six times a year. Their Asian cousins, the Bighead carp, don’t jump like these crazy fish, so you rarely see them. Samples show the Bighead carp population is dwindling as the Silver carp take over. That is what’s happening to our native fish.

These invasive species are taking over our rivers and river lakes. Like our native carp and buffalo, these fish do not strike lures so they are useless as a game fish, and so far, no one can figure out a way to market them for human consumption. I can see why. They are the nastiest fish that swims. They smell bad and look like a mutant.

Time will tell if the Silver carp are going to be as bad in the Old Rivers as they were last year. When idling in shallow water on the river lakes, be careful or you may get a face full of nasty fish.

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