Fish lakes while river’s high

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 17, 2009

Even with the river rising more each day, we still have many lakes to fish.

That’s the beauty of this area.

On the Mississippi side of the river there is the small lake at the Natchez State Park and Franklin County’s Okhissa Lake.

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In Louisiana, we have lakes Concordia, St. John, the Black River- Horseshoe Lake Complex and several small landlocked oxbow lakes along the Ouachita and Black Rivers.

These are just a few of the public lakes we’ll be fishing for a while.

The Mississippi River stage at Natchez Friday was approximately 51 feet, three feet above flood stage.

The predicted crest date is May 25 at 53 feet, but that could change with all the rainfall up north.

On the west side of Concordia Parish, the Black and Ouachita rivers continue to rise as well. The stage at Jonesville’s headwaters today is approximately 45 feet — flood stage is 50 feet.

The Black River may crest just before it reaches flood stage at Jonesville.

Once the rivers start to fall, the fishing should be great.

For now, the landlocked lakes, protected by the levee systems, will be the place to go for bream, white perch and bass.

The best reports on the bream are coming from lakes St. John and Concordia.

Some of the bream have spawned and moved out to the deeper cypress trees. That’s where you’ll find the larger fish, holding near the deeper trees.

I have not heard anything about Lake Concordia’s bream, but I’m sure they are doing the same thing.

I did hear of one eightpound bass that came from Concordia recently and another good report on the bass fishing on Lake St. John.

On Concordia, try surface lures early and late. During mid-day, pitch and flip jigs to the cypress trees or try crankbaits around the piers.

I spoke with a couple of fishermen that caught 14 nicely sized bass — including four over four pounds — from Lake St. John recently by using surface lures and crankbaits along the deeper seas walls.

The white perch have spawned, and they have all but disappeared from the shallow water cover.

If you’re looking for the perch, try using your sonar unit to locate offshore structure and balls of suspended baitfish.

Once the perch spawn, they leave the shallow water.

But remember, there are always exceptions to the rules when talking fishing.

May is a good month to catch white perch from the shallow waters of Horseshoe Lake.

Just target the cypress trees and any cover you can find along the shoreline.

Please practice safe boating.

Wear your life jacket and if you’re boating at night, and make sure your running lights are in working order.

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