Fishing is a year-round sport in Mississippi and, because of reduced pressure due to hunting, December is one of the best months of the year to hit the water. 

Public waters like the MDWFP’s state lakes system, are good places to look. Contributing writer Phillip Gentry has spent this year touring the state to report on the best state lakes, and in this edition he recommends the crappie fishing at Lake Lincoln State Park near Wesson.

He could have chosen many others, biologists said.

 “(December) is one of my favorite times to fish, as the summer crowds trade in their rods for (hunting equipment),” said Trevor Knight, the MDWFP’s south region fisheries biologist. “Largemouth bass form schools during the fall, and the action can be fast and furious. Shallow brush piles and trees harbor some really big bass this time of year as they lay in wait to ambush shad, shiners and bream.”

North district biologist Tyler Stubbs is big on fall fishing, too, and added some big waters of the Tenn-Tom Waterway to his list of bass recommendations.

“Fish start feeding more in preparation for the winter months,” Stubbs said. “Bass anglers should target lakes that have large shad and shiner populations, such as Pickwick, Bay Springs and the canal section lakes A through E.”

Another good northern choice is Lake Lamar Bruce, an MDWFP lake near Saltillo. It reopened earlier this year after being closed several years for renovation and restocking.

As expected the bass fishing has exploded.

“Anglers have been very successful all summer at Lamar Bruce, and this lake should continue to provide prime fishing for area bass anglers (in December),” Stubbs said.

Trace State Park near Pontotoc, Davis Lake near Houlka and Tippah County Lake near Ripley are three more good bass lakes in the north.

In the south, Knight recommended the MDWFP’s Lake Jeff Davis, Natchez State Park, and Lake Lincoln State Park, and historically, Lake Bill Waller and Calling Panther Lake are great in the winter.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Okhissa Lake near Bude offers outstanding deep-water bassing along the creek channel in December.

Crappie fishing is also outstanding in December, at all the usual suspect lakes, including the four North Mississippi U.S. Army Corps of Engineer flood control lakes: (south to north) Grenada, Enid, Sardis and Arkabutla.

The oxbow lakes along the Mississippi River are also outstanding, with Lake Washington, Lakes Chotard and Albermarle and Lake Mary topping the list.

“And don’t forget Eagle Lake and those great big black crappie under the piers,” said David Thornton, an Eagle Lake resident and member of the Magnolia Crappie Club. “That’s about as wild as it gets.”

Barnett Reservoir near Jackson is also worth a trip.

“When the weather gets cold, it concentrates the fish deep along the edges of the old lake beds,” said Jeremy Weems of Carthage. “All you have to do is locate the ideal depth and every crappie in the area will be within a foot of that depth.”