Mississippi River approaching favorable levels

Published 12:15 am Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Mississippi River stage is slowly approaching a favorable level for fishing the old river bend lakes. If the fish population in the live oxbow lakes is anything like it was last year, we’re in for a good summer of fishing fun.

I just looked back at reports from June of 2009. We are basically experiencing the exact same conditions. That’s great news. The river stage at Natchez today is 47.3 feet and falling.

By mid week we should see a level of about 43.7 and that is getting very close to the level we need for fishing the Old Rivers. I spoke with several people that are catching limits of huge bream in the flooded backwaters right now. It’s matter of knowing where to go because there’s a lot of water in the woods right now.

The very best level for bream fishing is around 35 feet and falling. The bream will be holding tight to the flooded green willow trees in 5 to 8 feet of water. At 28 feet the white perch fishermen and ladies will be loading the freezer with slab perch.

The bass fishing on the Old Rivers is real good when the level drops to about 38 feet on a fast fall. The reason for this is the barrow pits will be flowing into the Old Rivers and when you find current you can locate and catch some nice bass at Deer Park, Old River Vidalia and Yucatan.

On the other side of the levee the landlocked lakes are producing a few nice bass. Try surface lures like Zara Spooks, Torpedoes, buzz baits and spinner baits. June is the time of year when the bass will be scattered and there are many ways to catch them.

For the active fish it’s hard to beat crank baits like the Bandit series 100, 200 and 300. The 100 series will cover depths down to about 5 feet. The 200 Bandit will catch fish from 4 to about 8 feet, and if you want to fish any deeper with crank baits go with the 300 series Bandit.

By June all the fish have spawned in the landlocked lakes. The white perch, bass, bream and catfish spawn is over on most waters. The only exception is the fish in the live oxbow lakes, the Old Rivers.

These waters fluctuate with the rise and fall of the Mississippi River. The fish spawn on the Old Rivers is very confusing. I saw bass and white perch full of eggs in the middle of the summer and in the fall on the Old Rivers.

I honestly think the fish spawn twice a year in the live oxbow lakes. It may have something to do with a water level that fluctuates anywhere from 30 to 40 feet each year, or maybe it’s the cooler river water that delays the fish spawn.

No matter what the deal is the place to be last year in June through August was the old river bend lakes. The Old River near Vidalia known locally as Minorca and officially called Marengo Bend receives the most fishing pressure simply because it’s closer to town.

Catch this old river bend lake before it land locks from the Mississippi River and you can load up on some huge game fish. Approximately 17 miles south of Vidalia you’ll find the less pressured waters of Deer Park.

About 45 miles north of Vidalia you will find the Old River known as Yucatan. Yucatan offers about the same great fishing as Deer Park. You have to play the river stage game when fishing these waters.