Water levels recede, good fishing in sight

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 31, 2011

We could not ask for a better river level and forecast for fishing the Old River.

The Mississippi River stage at Natchez Friday was 33.9 feet.

We were wishing for a slow fall. A slow fall coming downriver keeps the water clarity good on the old river bend lakes at Deer Park, Vidalia and Yucatan.

Email newsletter signup

If the forecast is correct we will get our wish.

On Monday the level is supposed to be 33.7 feet, Tuesday 33.5 and by Wednesday 33.4 feet. The river can’t fall much slower than that.

I predict excellent summer and fall fishing on the Old Rivers. That is a pretty easy prediction since many limits of bass, bream, sac-a-lait, white bass and catfish are already coming from these waters.

Right now the bream fishermen and ladies are catching limits on crickets and red worms fishing just inside the flooded green willows.

Some people were complaining about catching a lot of small bream. I told them to go deeper. Just add another split shot or two to your line and get down past the little bait thieves.

Those same people came back a couple days later with an ice chest full of big bream.

Another indication that you are fishing too shallow is your cork will lie over on its side instead of going under. That means the fish are under your lure and coming up to take the bait, this puts slack in your line and makes the cork lie across the water instead of going under.

Try fishing about a foot off the bottom, and you will find the big bluegill and red ear bream.

The sac-a-lait are doing their normal deal.

The perch will turn, and they will turn off just as fast as they turn on. With the white perch it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

This year I’m hearing better reports from the jig fishermen than the live bait fishermen and ladies that are using minnows. That’s a good thing.

You don’t have to bait up, and fishing jigs is a lot less expensive, and you don’t have to worry about keeping the minnows alive in this hot weather.

The best reports on the sac-a-lait are coming from Deer park. Fish jigs along the outside edge of the flooded green willows. The water is still deep in that area and the perch are suspended anywhere from eight to 12 feet deep.

Of course that will change as the water continues to fall.

A great way to keep the kids fishing and catching is to target the white bass. Locally this fish is called a bar fish.

There is a fish known as a yellow-barred fish, but they rarely exceed a pound.

The white bass on the Old Rivers average well over a pound, and 2- to 3-pound whites are common. These fish travel in huge tight-grouped schools, so when you catch one slow down. You can bet there are some more nearby.

Tail spinners like the Little George, Rattle Traps and spoons will catch the white bass. My favorite white bass lure that will also catch the largemouth bass and an occasional sea-run striper is Bandit series 200 crank bait in a shad pattern.

On overcast days try the really bright colored cranks like chartreuse. The fishing is great on the Old Rivers so don’t expect to have it all to yourself. So be nice and don’t pull right on top of someone that was in the area before you.