Good fishing news hard to find last week

Published 12:21 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

Successful fishing reports were hard to come by this week.

But I did hear some not so good reports which are common when water temperatures drop a full 10 degrees.

The tropical storm passed and a cold front came in right behind it. The fresh water and wind aerated the lakes and probably saved us from having a summer fish kill. The cool front was a good thing but it brought in high barometric pressure, and fish are not very active when the pressure is high.

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A bright clear sky with no wind is considered by some a great time to fish, and it is.

It is just not a great time for catching fish.

I would take a 20 mph wind and rain rather than the type of conditions we saw this week.

This system should move on out of here soon.

While surface water temperature in the mid-80s is much better than 95 degrees, 85 degrees is still hot. Expect the fishing to get a lot better when the water temperatures drop to the mid- to low-70s.

We may not see water that cool until October but once we do get ready for some great days on the water.

The only good reports I heard this week were from the cat fishermen and ladies. Some are tight lining with live goldfish and red worms in the big river and doing pretty good. Others have trout lines stretched out in the river, and they are loading the river with tasty catfish filets.

The Mississippi River stage at Natchez Friday was 23.8 feet, and we have a very slight rise coming downriver. The rise came from the tropical storm, so I don’t expect the rise will amount to much.

On Monday the river will be at 23.9 and by Tuesday it will be 24.3. It looks like the river will crest just above 25 feet and then we will probably see another slow fall.

The level and the cooler water temperature will really turn the fish on when this high pressure system moves out.

The Old Rivers continue to be the very best place to catch sac-a-lait, bream, white bass and largemouth bass.

At the current river stage the old dead timber will start to show on Deer Park and Yucatan. The dam at the southern end of the Old River near Vidalia is holding back several feet of water. That is a great thing.

We still have flooded green willows in the water, and that’s where you will find a lot of game fish.

As we move on into September the landlocked lakes will cool off, and the fish activity will pick up on Lakes Bruin, St. John and Concordia. Those three lakes are at their very best when water temperatures drop below 72 degrees.

Lake Bruin is on a drawdown right now, which is a great thing. If the people in charge of lake levels would pull all the landlocked lake levels down in the fall and plug them back up by January we would see the great fishing we had in the 1980s and 90s.

Drawing the lakes down several feet hardens the bottom which in turn creates a better spawn in the spring. This also gives marine operators and lakefront property owners an opportunity to work on the piers, seawalls and boat ramps.

For the past decade the lake management people have done the opposite by leaving the water level too low in the spring. Hopefully we will see some changes next year in lake management. If so we will benefit from all the fishermen and ladies that used to travel to this area to fish, not to mention the local people will catch more fish.

This year the visitors didn’t come here simply because you can’t catch what is not there.

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