Fishing reports come from visitors, anglers

Published 7:01 pm Saturday, May 29, 2021

Bob M. Dearing Natchez State Park Manager Neil Hayes does not sit in a boat all day fishing to write the fishing reports. Instead, he fishes for information from visitors.

“I just ask people, like cabin guests,” Hayes said. “When people check out, I just ask them how did the fishing go. People who are out here fishing, I’ll chat with them. That is where I get the reports from.”

Hayes does take the temperature and visibility readings of the lake. To gather the visibility measurement, he puts a Secchi disk into the water. This disk has black and white sections on it, and he said he lowers the disk until he cannot see it anymore.

The last visibility reading of the lake was about ten inches, he said. The clearest he has ever seen the lake is the visibility of about 3 feet. One thing impacting the visibility is if they have had any rain or not, he said. Rains muddy the water.

“It’s been muddy lately, but hopefully, it will clear up again,” Hayes said. “These rains we have been getting have helped keep it muddy. Of course, fish will still bite in this muddy water.”

By lowering a thermometer, he takes temperature readings of the lake. Right now, the temperature has been 80 degrees, he said. It does get higher than that, he said.

Natchez State Park Lake is a no-wake zone, but you can still put a boat in it or even a kayak to fish. If you don’t have a boat, the bank fishing is just as good, he said.

He can see where the fish bed in the lake, especially the bream. Fish beds are a point to target fish during the spawn and look like craters on the moon’s surface.

“If the water is turning kind of bubbling like that is a bed of fish,” Hayes said. “Sometimes I’m driving along (the levee), and I can see the water turning. People will be out there fishing with crickets or a fly rod and doing well.”