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2019 Spring Fishing Forecast for Northwest Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks fisheries biologists are optimistic about fishing success this year in northwest Mississippi.

Most fishing in the region occurs on the Corps of Engineers’ flood control reservoirs in Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada. They support about 1.5 million hours of fishing annually, mainly for crappie.

High water in 2018 reduced angler catches, but increased fish survival and produced good spawns. Crappie have had good spawns since 2013.

Most “short fish” last year were from the 2016-year class. It takes five to seven years to grow a trophy white crappie.

According to MDWFP, largemouth bass numbers have risen in recent years, and surveys showed the best bass fishing is at Enid Reservoir. Sampling found a big 2013-year class with many fish near 5 pounds and a big 2016-year class with fish from 1 to 2 pounds. White bass numbers were average. Bream size and numbers improved in 2018. Blue catfish were common except at Enid, but they were increasing there. Blues were larger than channel catfish, with some more than 20 pounds. Shad or flavored chicken are better baits for blues than typical “catfish baits.”

Tunica Cutoff also had high water and low fishing pressure in 2018. Sampling in 2017 found abundant channel catfish and big spawns of bream and crappie, which should be harvestable sizes this year.

For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call 601-432-2200. Follow MDWFP on Facebook at facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

Hottytoddy.com staff report

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