Temperatures caused issues yet again

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cold fronts are not supposed to come this far south in May, but this one did.

The fishing was good for those that fished during the week just ahead of the cold front. The air temperature was warm, the barometric pressure was low and the sky was overcast. Those are the conditions we need for great fishing.

Good reports on the white perch were coming from Larto Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Bayou Louis. Several bass were caught from Black River Lake, but noting big.

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I have not heard a single good report from Saturday — and for good reason. This past Friday night, the temperature dropped to a near-record low of 42 degrees. We woke up Saturday morning to a clear sky and unusually low temperatures for the South, and we faced yet another weekend that was fine for fishing but horrible for catching.

Post-frontal conditions in May are rare, but this year has been so unusual weather-wise I would not be surprised if yet another cold front passes this month. I cannot recall a May cold front like this one in the past three decades or so.

Like the bass and perch spawn in March, the bream spawn is about a month later than normal. We are actually not sure we ever had a decent bass spawn, but whatever happened, it is over now. The perch spawn was a bit better than the bass spawn.

There may be a few perch still holding eggs, but not many. Last week, the bream fishing kicked off, and it appeared that the bream fishermen and ladies would have a good weekend, but that didn’t happen Saturday. High barometric pressure shut the fish activity down. Regardless of the weather, you can still catch some fish, but it is more like work than fun.

The best thing we have to look forward to, and it will be a month or so before this happens, is fishing the old river bend lakes. The live oxbow lakes are a bit different than the landlocked lakes that are lined with ancient cypress trees and lots of piers. About the 30 miles upriver from Natchez on the Louisiana side of the river, there is a live oxbow lake called Yucatan that offers some great fishing when the river level is right.

In Vidalia, we have Marango Bend, known locally as Old River Minorca. Approximately 17 miles south of Vidalia, Deer Park is the sister lake to Marango and Yucatan. All three of these Old Rivers are still connected to the big river. During the higher river levels, the Mississippi River flows into the upper end of the old river bend lakes and out the lower end. When we have a fast rise like we have going on right now, the river water flows into both ends, flooding thousands of acres of woods.

The fish spread out in the flooded woods, which makes it difficult to locate the fish, but not impossible. Right now, I would think the bream are spawning on the flooded gravel roads leading to the camps and homes on the Old Rivers. The bass will move up to thin water in the woods near the levee.

I noticed Saturday morning the waterline was approaching the bottom of the levee, so you may catch some bass by wade fishing or fishing from a small boat along the levee. I learned how to fish for bass in the flooded barrow pits from Vidalia down the Old River Control structure.

One of the best barrow pits down South is now gone. The hydroelectric plant’s channel was cut right through two fine bar pits. Those waters are now just memories. There are still other waters in south Concordia Parish that produce lots of bass, perch and bream.

The river stage at Natchez today is 47.5 feet and rising. Flood stage at Natchez is 48 feet. As predicted, the crest level and crest date have changed this morning. Rain and snow melt water is coming downriver.

The crest level is not predicted at 50 feet even on May 17. I look for that to change again this coming week. We could see about 52 to 54 feet this month. The good news is when the water retreats, the fishing will be great.