River continues to tease locals

Published 12:04 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Mississippi River continues to tease the area fishermen and ladies.

We are about five or six feet away from a favorable river level for fishing the live oxbows; the Old Rivers at Vidalia, Deer Park and Yucatan. The big river has been relentless this year. We did not have a major flood level, but the river stayed near or at the 48 foot flood stage for months. Only once this year we had a fall that dropped the stage down to 39 feet. Many people have their favorite level for fishing the live oxbow lakes. The majority start fishing the Old Rivers for bream, white perch and bass at 38 feet and falling. The fall we have coming downriver now is painstakingly slow.

The river should be around 44.5 feet today at Natchez. The river predictions say the fall will continue for the next three or four days, but the lowest level on the charts is 43.5 feet on Wednesday of this coming week, which is okay for the catfish, but too high for bass, bream and perch. So we wait and watch the river stages. The landlocked lakes are producing some bass and perch and a few bream. The best reports on the white perch fishing are coming from the Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complex. It seems like Black River Lake is producing more fish than the bayous that run into and connect Horseshoe Lake with Black River Lake. I have no clue how deep the perch are, but I am assuming they are catching the perch off visible cover.

The bass bite is good during the early morning hours and on overcast, rainy days. I heard a good report on Lake Concordia recently. There is a good surface lure bite going on that will last until about noon if you hang with the east bank where the shade will be from daylight until about noon. If it’s a bright day, that bite may burn off by 10 a.m. or so. The exact same thing is going on at Lake St. John and Bruin.

You need to be on the water before sunrise and off the water by noon on a clear day. If one of the many thunderstorms that keep popping up every day passes while you are fishing, you can catch fish in the middle of the day, but if it is lightening, stay off the water. Boats, water and lightening are a very dangerous mix. The only other bite for the bass that I know of is coming off small crank baits like a Bandit series 100 or 200. Color is not as important as many think. Shad patterns will work, but I have more confidence in bream colored cranks.

Confidence in a lure will make it work for you. Over the past 40 years of fishing the area lakes extremely hard, I landed on a handful of bass lures and colors and rarely deviate from those lures. The one thing I do not fish and need to at times is finesse soft plastics like a straight tail worm on a light jig head. If you are having trouble getting the bass to bite, the small soft plastics fished on light line will work.

Getting back to the live oxbow lakes, I am very curious to know if the Mississippi River has restocked the Old Rivers with the non-native invasive Asian Carp. The Silver and Bighead Carp really messed our fishing up around 2011 when we had the record flood of 63.9 feet. In August of 2013, the river dropped to a very low stage and landlocked the live oxbows from the river which sent water temperatures soaring up to 94 degrees. That created a carp kill.

In 2014 the fishing improved. Hopefully we will not have to deal with the Asian carp this year. It is a wait and see deal.

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