May is a big month for bream fishing, with a peak of bedding activity for the popular bluegill. The state’s thousands of stock ponds and lakes, its river oxbows, public lakes and even its streams are all great places to toss crickets under bobbers and catch a mess of fish.
Early in the month, especially in the northern half of the state, some chinquapin bream (redear) will also be bedding.
“You can double on them in the right situation, because you can actually find bluegills and chinqs sharing the same bedding areas,” said Joe Watts, who fishes a 60-acre subdivision lake near Canton. “Normally, the chinqs bed earlier than the bluegills, but in some years and in some waters, conditions aren’t right until later in April and even May.
“This year with an early full moon (May 3), I think we will see a big overlap. That is ideal.”
Top 5 bream lakes
Thanks to the MDWFP’s state lake and state park systems, Mississippians have several excellent bream holes to visit. And most offer plenty of bank-fishing opportunities, with fish attractors placed close to piers.
My favorite state lakes for bream, in a south-to-north order, are no-brainers.
• Lake Perry: Near Beaumont, this little jewel never lets me down, and long-time lake manager Gathel Hinton, now the south state lake manager, calls it the best fly-fishing lake ever for bream.
• Lake Prentiss Walker: Near Mize, this is where the big ones swim.
• Kemper County Lake: Near DeKalb, this lake can test anglers because the bream bed a little deeper. Figure that out and the fishing is great.
• Trace State Park: Up north, just outside of Pontotoc, is one of the best redear lakes in the state. This year should be perfect for finding both bluegill and chinquapins on the beds in May.
• Tippah County Lake: This lake near Ripley is not to be missed. It is one of the best-kept MDWFP lakes, has great scenery and camping, and the fishing is outstanding. Oh, and it produced the state’s redear record of 3.3 pounds.