Rising water lures crappie fishing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Vicksburg Corps of Engineers predicts a Mississippi River stage of 27 feet at Natchez by mid-week. We were wishing for higher water levels to improve the fishing on the live oxbow lakes at Deer Park, Vidalia and Yucatan. I guess we wished a bit too much. Just a couple of days ago the river stage stood at 16.1 feet. If the forecast holds up, we will have a 12 feet rise at Natchez over the next 4 days.

Of course, that much water pouring into the Old River lakes will make fishing tough for at least a week or so. The good news is there is a fall predicted that should reach Natchez by next weekend. The ideal stage for crappie fishing on the Old Rivers is 28 feet and preferably falling. If the forecast is accurate, we should see those exact conditions. The bream and crappie will move to the newly flooded green willow trees. White bass by the thousands will bunch up anywhere you can find shad. Keep an eye on the river stage over the next week or so.

Bass fishing reports are still inconsistent. A good example of this occurred last weekend on Turkey Creek near Wisner, La. That’s where Concordia Bass held their September club tournament. It took a five bass limit weighing over 25 pounds to win. With the winner catching that much weight, you would think everyone caught fish. That’s not what happened. Danny Smith of Monterey dropped the five bass, 25.25 pound sack of fish on the scales anchored by a nice 6.64 pound Turkey Creek bass and walked away with the win. Smith had a comfortable six pound lead over Gaylen Collins second-place 19-pound limit. Smith has made a habit of winning tournaments; not only in this area but just about anywhere he goes. Gaylen’s wife, Cricket, placed third. Their son placed fourth.

Email newsletter signup

The weights dropped off fast. Twenty-nine people fished the event, six did not catch a bass and many caught only 1 or 2 fish. That’s not unusual for Turkey Creek. Fishing the creek is like fishing in thick woods. Thousands of cypress trees, logs and brush piles dot the northern half of the lake. In fact, there is so much cover available it’s very difficult to locate the fish. But, if you do find the key, the right pattern, you can load up not only on bass but big slab crappie and bream as well.

If you plan to fish Turkey Creek for the first time, take a GPS or compass. Once you leave the shoreline and enter the maze of cypress trees, you can get lost. If you get turned around, just head west or east and you’ll find the shore again. If you head north or northeast you can travel for miles through the cypress jungle and never see the shore.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by e-mail at fishingwitheddie@highstream.net.