Old Rivers holding at perfect level

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Old Rivers, the live oxbow lakes along the Mississippi River, are still holding at a perfect level.

Many fishermen and ladies are catching limits of bass, white perch and bream. Normally the old river bend lakes fluctuate as the river rises and falls but for the past three weeks the river stage has been practically steady, holding between 22 and 23 feet.

When this happens the Old Rivers fish more like a landlocked lake than a live oxbow lake. The fish we locate and the patterns we establish produce for a much longer period of time when the river is steady.

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The white perch fishermen are catching the fish on a couple different patterns. Some are fishing shallow visible cover with jigs and live minnows along the island side of the Old Rivers.

The cover in this area is not much deeper than 4 feet. Just ease along the willow stumps and logs and drop a jig or shiner by the cover and you will find the white perch.

Other perch fishermen and ladies are drift-fishing off-shore following the huge schools of shad and catching the big slab perch feeding on the shad. These fish are suspended 8 to 12 feet down over water as deep as 25 to 35 feet.

They have pole holders rigged on their boats. Just put several poles out with different colored jigs tipped with a shiner and watch your sonar unit real close. When you drift through the shad and catch a few white perch rig all the poles at the most productive depths with the most productive lures or bait.

The bass fishermen are catching easy limits and, like the perch fishermen, they are doing it different ways. The shallow bite is easy. Just tie on a shallow diving crank bait like a Bandit 100 series or any crank bait that will cover depths down to about 4 feet.

If your lure is digging into the bottom on every cast and picking up dead leaves and debris change to heavier pound test line. You can take a lure like the Bandit 100 and adjust the depth it was designed to fish by changing your line to a different pound test.

The thicker line keeps the bait running a few inches shallower. Find a line that will keep the lure just off the bottom and maybe just hit the bottom now and then and you can load up on some keeper size bass on the Old Rivers.

For fewer strikes but larger bass stay with the points, bluff banks and off-shore cover. Plastic worms, jigs and deep diving crank baits work well on the big Old River bass.

If you’re looking for a trophy bass, a bass over 7 pounds, try the little lake at the Natchez State Park. This lake receives very little pressure from the locals and it is home to some big bass.

Try big surface lure early and late and once the sun gets up fish the edges of the creek channels with jigs and big soft plastic lures.