Too hot to fish during mid day

Published 12:04 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

The area lake’s surface water temperature is about 91 degrees today, and that is just before sunrise.

I have not been on the water in the mid afternoon and have no intention to, but a safe guess would be a surface water temp of about 94-95 degrees. That is about five to six degrees higher than the summer of last year, and about the same as the summer of 2013. July is creeping on by, but August is going to be a tough month.

Those that do not fish the flooded Mississippi River backwaters are stuck on the landlocked lakes fishing still water. I spoke with a few people catching some decent bass really early, but after that, it gets too hot for me to stay in a boat. You can catch fish during the day if you are mad at the fish. I am not. I was raised as a cold water angler and just don’t care much for hot water fishing.

Email newsletter signup

I used to be what a friend called “mad at the fish” when I was a few years younger. As I grew older, I slowed way down during the summer months. It just seems like it is hotter than it used to be. I am not sure if it’s the age factor, getting wiser or the weather. Regardless I will not be fishing during the middle of the day the next month or so unless there is a bass tournament that pays out $1,000 for first place or more, or we get a tropical depression. I certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt, but a tropical depression is the only thing that will give us any relief. The best summer fishing I ever experienced was during a rain or storm. That is why June was such a good month. We practically had a rain chance every day.

When July rolled around, we went from wet every day to extremely dry and hot. The predictable is not so predictable anymore. While we can pretty much bet our summer months will be hot, the Mississippi River is living up to its reputation as being unpredictable. Normally we would be on the unprotected side of the river levee fishing the live oxbow lakes and barrow pits. When you drive down the levee now, the waterline is right there at the foot of the levee. That is not normal for late July. The stage at Natchez today should be around 52.6’. On Monday the predictions say 52.6’. On Tuesday and Wednesday the predictions still say 52.6’. On Thursday of this coming week, the charts say 52.5’ so we wait.

We need about a 10-15 foot fall to access the Old River ramps. Looking at the Ohio River and other tributaries up north, there is a sharp fall coming downriver in about ten days. Of course that could change, but I doubt it. Once we get a fall this time the river should drop out fast, maybe. There are a few people that know how to fish the flooded backwaters, or more like “where” to fish in the thousands of acres of flooded woods. They are quietly catching a lot of fish. It takes a four wheel drive and an aluminum boat to get to them, but if you know where to look, the fish are there.

The bass, bream and perch are fat, and for the most part, have not seen a lure or bait at all. This will be very interesting when we do get a fall and the Old Rivers are fish-able. I am curious to see if the Old Rivers will be loaded with the nonnative invasive Silver and Bighead carp again. I certainly hope not. The years 2012 and 2013 were not good years for fishing the live oxbows because of these nasty carp. In late July and August of 2013 surface water temps on the Old Rivers hit 94 degrees. The nonnative carp cannot tolerate water that hot. Thousands of Silver Carp died and 2014 was a better year. For now, it is a wait and see what happens deal.


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