Dropping levels bring fisherman out of hiding

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 24, 2001

Local anglers Eddie Roberts and Danny Smith could talk fishing all day. And if they wanted to, they’d fish all day and all year. But, inevitably, there’s one thing that keeps them from hitting the water hard: the Mississippi River.

The river is slowly, but surely, falling as each day passes. This past week the river stage at Natchez fell below the 40-foot mark, a sign that good fishing is about to come for Miss-Lou anglers.

&uot;Everybody is watching the river,&uot; said Roberts, also a salesman at Bryan’s Marine in Vidalia, La.

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In a week or so, anglers should get into attack mode. Once the river falls below 35 feet, bream should be plentiful. At 28 feet, crappie will start to bite a little harder than usual. And when the river gets lower than that, anglers should start to haul in the bass by the cast.

Last year, fishermen got their rod and reels out a little earlier than normal. The combination of drought conditions and not as much rain falling in the upper Mississippi and Ohio river valleys brought the river down faster than in the past. But this year is a more normal, environmental cycle.

&uot;Last year we had an abnormal river stage. It seems like it’s more seasonal (this year),&uot; Roberts said. &uot;Usually, fishing starts in July. This is a little earlier than normal.&uot;

Nonetheless, Roberts and Smith are excited for the upcoming season. Smith got out to Lake St. John early on Saturday morning.

&uot;They bit pretty good. I had several good ones,&uot; said Smith, adding that midday and later seems to be the best time to fish, especially in the bladed grass with crawgators.

Fishing is starting to pick up on Lake Concordia, Lake St. John and Lake Bruin. But most locals are gearing up for the Old River.

&uot;We start hitting the Old River at 35 feet,&uot; Roberts said. &uot;Next weekend should be really good. Bass on the Old River should get better as the river falls. A few bream have been caught there.&uot;

On Aug. 25, Miss-Lou anglers are invited to participate in &uot;Fishing’ For A Cure&uot; at Four Rivers State Park. Proceeds from the event will go to the Muscular Distrophy Association. The event will be sponsored by McCartney Oil, Citgo Oil, Triton Boats and Bryan’s Marine.

Organizers will be raffling a Triton TR175 125-horsepower boat as a prize. The boat is valued at $18,000, and will be on display at Bryan’s Marine this coming week and throughout the Miss-Lou area in the coming weeks. Raffle tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at Bryan’s Marine and other locations.

Specific details on registering will be coming soon, but if anglers have any question, they should contact Eddie Roberts at Bryan’s Marine at 318-336-9009.