With the gates closed on two of the most popular fishing holes in Northeast Mississippi, you might think that the region’s fishermen are in a bind.
Ha! Far from it.
Even though Lamar Bruce Lake and Lake Monroe are closed for renovation, biologists say myriad waters remain for anglers to explore, for bass, crappie, bream and catfish.
Among them are some of the best in the state.
Davis Lake near Houston and Trace State Park at Pontotoc are two of Mississippi’s hottest destinations for bass. Davis is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and it produced a 17.3-pound largemouth in 2013, the second largest ever recorded in the state.
Trace State Park, managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, is another lunker lake, that district biologist Tyler Stubbs said is rightfully being recognized now as a bass haven and he has the creel and electro-fishing survey data to support it.
It is one of many MDWFP lakes in the region worth a visit. There’s Elvis Presley Lake and Tombigbee State Park at Tupelo, and Tippah County Lake near Ripley, all three of which are loaded with bass. Perhaps, too many bass Stubbs said.
“To help promote a healthier bass population, creel limits on bass remain at 30 fish per day to encourage anglers to harvest these smaller bass to help improve the population,” Stubbs said.
One benefit of lakes overcrowded with bass, especially small fish, is that it promotes a healthy bream population.
“Quality crappie and bream populations were also observed while sampling at these lakes, especially in Tippah County Lake,” said Stubbs.
The state record redear is a 3.3-pounder caught in 1991 at Tippah.
Trace State Park is another hot spot for redear, especially in late March and April when the big panfish hit the beds.
Lamar Bruce has long been a favorite of bream fishermen, especially those with fly rods. It has been closed three years for renovation and restocking, and will open in 2015.
For small lake catfishing, Stubbs said Tippah County and Elvis Presley lakes both boast healthy populations of quality-sized catfish.
If you like big waters, then the Northeast region of Mississippi is certainly worth a visit. With the Tenn-Tom Waterway flowing from Iuka to Columbia, there’s always something biting.
Pickwick Lake near Iuka has become one of the hottest bass lakes in the country and remains a prime destination for bass anglers, especially during the early spring. Crappie and spotted bass populations remain in good shape at Bay Springs Lake.
The “river lakes,” Aberdeen, Columbus, and Aliceville, as well as the canal lakes A-E currently support healthy populations of catfish and crappie, with common reports of crappie from Aberdeen and Columbus rivaling those of the flood control reservoirs.