Marengo Bend creates new opportunities

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

A slow fall coming down the Mississippi River will continue for at least another week or so.

That’s a great thing for fishing the live oxbow lakes.

The river flows through the old river bend lakes at Deer Pak and Yucatan until the river level drops to about 14 or 15 feet on the Natchez gauge.

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We are a long way from that level.

As long as the river flows through these waters the fishing is great regardless of the heat.

I omitted the Old River at Vidalia from the statements above because this old river bend lake is apparently already landlocked.

Late last year a dam was built across the southern and northern ends of the Old River near Vidalia, known locally as Minorca, but officially it is Marengo Bend.

At 34 feet Marengo was trickling over the dam half-way up the chute on the south end. At today’s stage of 31.1 feet Marengo Bend is landlocked from the river.

This will create something we have never had before. It will be like having a new lake to fish.

At 31 feet there is a lot of cover in the form of green willow and hard wood trees left in this Old River. The points, bluffs and other fish holding cover that are usually exposed as the water falls will remain submerged.

Last summer I heard a dam or road bed may be constructed across the chute. Just in case this was true I made several trips to Marengo and marked a lot of promising cover when the river was extremely low. That cover may never be visible from the surface again.

Another thing I heard is there is a culvert under this roadbed, but if there a culvert it’s clogged up. I see no sign of any current coming under the dam.

This will be a very interesting year for the fishermen and ladies that fish Marengo bend.

Normally we began fishing the flooded green willows when the river is about 38 feet and move out to deeper water as the river level drops.

If this lake is indeed landlocked at 31 feet we will be in for some great fishing this year and the years to come.

When the river drops out of Deer Park and Yucatan there’s not much cover left to fish around. We won’t have that problem with Marengo Bend.

Despite the heat, reports from all the live oxbow lakes were good this past week.

Most people are launching just before daylight and catching limits of bream, bass and sac-a-lait before the blazing August sun runs them off.

The bream are still holding just inside the flooded green willows.

Keep your crickets and worms about a foot off the bottom for the larger bluegill and red ear bream.

If you fish shallow, the small fish will steal your bait.

The sac-a-lait, known locally as white perch, are holding along the outside edge of the green willow trees.

As the water falls at Deer Park and Yucatan you will have to move further off-shore to stay on the fish.

Since the Old River at Vidalia is landlocked the fish won’t move as much.