Here are five excellent Mississippi fishing holes, each for a different species, to fish in June.
1. Barnett Reservoir, catfish: You don’t have to be fearless enough to grab them by hand to enjoy catfish action on the 33,000-acre lake near Jackson, which may be better known as a bass and crappie lake but is absolutely loaded with blue, channel and flathead catfish. As the weather heats up, thousands of eating-sized channel and blue cats stack on shallow- and medium-depth flats on the lower main lake where neither jugging or trotlining is allowed. Fished on the bottom, freezer-burned shrimp is a local favorite bait, but anything from commercial prepared stink bait, night crawlers and even squid will work.
2. Tippah County Lake, bedding bream: This MDWFP lake near Ripley is one of the best redear and bluegill lakes in the state, and because of its location in extreme north Mississippi the fish are later hitting the beds. Bluegill will be thick on the shallow bedding areas, and readily smelled by a trained nose. Redear are usually through bedding by June, and the females have moved back to deep water where they can be caught on the bottom in 8- to 12-feet depths. A good percentage of the big redear males will still be shallow to protect the beds, but some will also have returned deep to join the females for the deep summer haunts. One Tippah tip: Use light fluorocarbon line because the water is clear.
3. Pickwick Lake, black bass: This lake in the far northeast corner of Mississippi is worth a visit for just its scenic beauty, but the bass fishing is what brings it fame. All three species of black bass — largemouth, smallmouth and spotted — call Pickwick home. Smallmouth are usually found concentrated on the humps in the river and bite like crazy on the hottest days when the TVA turns up the generators at Pickwick Dam to sate the demand for power to run air conditioners. Largemouth will find the patches of hydrilla and live in and around the vegetation. In years with a big hydrilla outbreak, the largemouth bite is hard to beat and can steal away the attraction of the state’s only true smallmouth site. Spotted bass like to hold close to rock banks and also suspend under boats in marinas and harbors.
4. Grenada Lake, crappie: As summer approaches, and after it arrives, crappie fishermen at all of the North Mississippi Corps of Engineer Flood Control Project lakes put down their jig poles and start trolling. The No. 1 location is Grenada Lake, which is the top-ranked lake on every national crappie hot spot list. Trolling, either with crankbaits or with jigs, works but crankbaits like the Bandit 200 and 300 Series are the most popular and target the biggest fish. Most of the action is centered around main lake points, which offer crappie — and fishermen — a variety of different depths. In early June, they will be shallower that in late June and the summer.
5. Mississippi River and its oxbows, white bass: Probably the most overlooked prolific game fish in the state, white bass provide plenty of action in June. In the river, look below breaks in jetty dikes, gravel bars and any where clear water is mixing with muddy water. Small crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, tail-spinners and grubs all are good choices for these feisty fish. The strength of a Mississippi River white bass has to be experienced to be believed, especially on ultra-light spinning gear. In the connected oxbows, like Ferguson near Greenville and Chotard/Albermale near Vicksburg, look on sandbar banks and points, concrete boat ramps and other firm bottoms, but also watch of signs of white bass feeding on the surface. When a school is spotted on top, it can be wild. There is no limit, either, and cleaned correctly a white bass is fine to eat.