Summer heat taking its toll on fish

Published 12:28 am Sunday, August 3, 2008

July is out of here, thank goodness. Not that August will offer us much relief from the heat but at least we are one month closer to the end of summer.

So far this one has been a scorcher. Air temperatures topped out at 100 degrees during the first part of the week followed by thunder showers that made the air even more humid.

The heat is taking its toll on the fish as well. The average surface water temperatures on our area lakes is 93 to 94 degrees with some shallow backwater pockets hitting 96 degrees.

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The fishing on the landlocked lakes is tough to say the least but we do live in a unique area when you consider the many different type lakes and rivers within a few miles of Natchez.

Just about the time the fishing really gets slow on the landlocked lakes, the Mississippi River drops to a favorable stage for fishing the old river bend lakes.

The Old Rivers near Vidalia, Deer Park, Woodville and St. Joseph are loaded with bream this year. The hard pulling panfish are holding in the shallow flooded green willows just inside the dead snags in two to eight feet of water.

Try fishing with crickets and red worms just off the bottom. If you like artificial lures break out the ultra light and cast a small Cajun Spinner in black and yellow. Slow your retrieve way down and you can do just as well on the small spinner as the live bait fishermen.

You can locate and catch the bream using the same pattern at Deer Park and Yucatan. I have yet to hear a good report on the white perch fishing but they should be biting.

The river stage at Natchez today is 30.2 feet. The sharp fall is over and we’re now looking at a rise over the next few days.

The level for Tuesday may be around 32.5 if the forecast holds up. That is a good thing. If the river drops out of the Old Rivers too fast the good fishing won’t last as long.

Look to for the white perch to be holding around the dead willow trees and stumps in 8 to 14 feet of water.

The bass fishing is fair on the Old Rivers but you have to get up early. By the time the sun gets overhead the bass tend to drop back to the deep water holes and refuse to feed.

The 10th Annual MDA Benefit Bass Tournament will cast off Aug. 23 on the Four-Rivers near Jonesville.

Entry forms are available in Natchez at Sports Center and in Vidalia at Eddie’s Marine. We will once again conduct the weigh-in for this worthy event.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at