Ready to shake off the winter doldrums and break loose for some spring fishing? These are a few must-do trips to consider.
1. Barnett Reservoir — Although delayed with the current weather conditions, the spring crappie spawn should produce one of the best months of fishing ever. With the lake level up, and a steady population, look for this lake near Jackson to produce a lot of slabs in April. The best bet is the shallow vegetation in the coves on the Rankin County side of the main lake, beginning at the islands about two-thirds up the lake toward Highway 43.
2. Lake Washington — Another top pick for the crappie spawn. The peak action here is in late March during the final states of the prespawn, when the bigger females stage outside the tree lines and are caught drifting or trolling in 5 to 8 feet of water, but they can still be caught in April when they move up to spawn around the thousands of cypress trees and knees.
3. Neshoba County Lake — Our first choice for bass this month remains this state lake near Philadelphia. At about 138 acres, it is easy to fish this entire lake over a weekend to find spawning bass on the beds. With its population of Florida bass reaching maturity after the lakes renovation and restocking between 2000 and 2006, Neshoba County is producing a lot of double-digit bass. And with a newly renovated campground just opening with 22 full-service pads, it’s perfect for a weekend camping/fishing trip.
4. Trace State Park — Your choice: bass or redear. This double lake — two different pools sharing the same dam — is full of trophy-sized representatives of both species, and April is the time when both hit their spawning beds. Take some good polarized sunglasses, and hit the backs of the pockets and coves and look for signs.
5. Lake Jeff Davis — This small state that reopened to fishing in 2013 is full of fishing opportunity, including a return to the great bream fishery that it has always boasted. Though just three years from restocking, the redear and bluegill are already reaching hand-sized proportions, with weights pushing a pound and more. The redear will bed, for sure, and there’s a good chance the bluegills will be there, too, by the full moon on April 15. And, of course, as is the case with any renovated lake, the bass fishing is just stupid good with a lot of slot fish (16- to 20-inch fish must be released) being caught. Want fish to eat? Biologists are encouraging bass anglers to take home a limit of undersized largemouth, which includes all bass under 16 inches. The limit is 15 per day, and only one can exceed 20 inches.