• Freshwater Fishing

    Crappie can’t avoid Terry Blankenship just because it’s summer and they’re deep.

    Top 7 tips for catching slabs in brush

    Terry Blankenship’s passion is finding and catching crappie year-round. And the fish don’t stand a chance when the summer heat pushes fish out to deep, flooded brush and standing timber.

    September 18 at 6:00am
    The lateral-line system detects water movement. This ability may help this bluegill find prey but also alert it to an approaching predator.

    Fish Sensory Systems: Part 3

    Fish rely on their senses to survive, and in particular, to find food in their underwater homes. Part I of this series explored vision, a very fast and accurate sense for detecting objects in the environment, but also a sense quickly impaired by changes in water clarity. Part II explored how taste and smell are involved in feeding and concluded that chemical cues may be important for accepting or rejecting objects as food but probably have a relatively minor role in detecting prey or attracting fish. This final segment explores fishes’ ability to detect sound and water movement. These senses may have much more to do with feeding than formerly known or even thought.

    September 11 at 9:00am
    Popular Lake Mary Crawford near Monticello has been closed for renovation.

    Popular MDWFP lake closed for renovation

    One of the most popular and productive lakes in the MDWFP’s State Lakes System has been drained to prepare for renovations, repair and restocking.

    August 31 at 6:00am
    This endangered pallid sturgeon lives on the bottom in the deep, dark waters of the Mississippi River. Taste and smell are important for finding food.

    Fish Sensory Systems - Part 2

    Part 1 of this three-part series explored vision. Light travels rapidly through water and, as such, provides real-time information about a fish’s environment. If the fish sees it, it’s there. If it moves, the fish sees it move. As a source of information, chemicals are at the opposite end of the communication spectrum. Chemicals travel slowly and, at best, provide imprecise information about the location of the source. Nevertheless, detection of chemical cues can be very important to feeding.

    August 10 at 8:30am
    In the heat of the summer, some anglers find the heat of the day too oppressive and take to the water only after dark.

    Safety is paramount

    It is vital that every safety precaution be set in place while fishing at night:

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Portable lights can put more fish in the boat — or on your dock — at night as well as make your trip safer.

    Night fishing musts

    When fishing at night, remember to pack:

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Steve Coleman replaces jigs with crankbaits and pushes them out the front of his boat in power trolling fashion.

    Coleman and Capps love deep cranking

    For the last 20 years, the team of Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman has been the team to beat on national crappie tournament circuits. The duo has developed tournament crappie tactics so successful that manufacturers began creating rods, rigs, and lures just for that style of fishing. 

    July 15 at 7:00am
    A number of set ups are used for power trolling, but most involve tandem jigs and a heavy weight to keep the baits down in the water column at faster trolling speeds.

    One head, different colors

    Veteran crappie angler Les Smith highly recommends Road Runner jigheads for his style of power trolling. He said the balance of the jig, along with the additional flash provided by the spinner blade works well when power trolling.

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Veteran crappie angler Les Smith from Senatobia looks to power trolling in the summer to consistently catch slab fish.

    Trip information

    Where to go: Veteran crappie angler Les Smith has friends who have successfully used power-trolling techniques all across the country, but he knows how well it works on north Mississippi’s four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control lakes along the state’s I-55 crappie corridor.

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Yes, fish have color vision. Crappie have a penchant for bright, gaudy colors.

    Fish Sensory Systems - Part 1

    A fish’s survival depends on its ability to sense its environment. Anglers, of course, are most concerned about feeding — how fish detect, select, and ultimately attack and consume food. We make the assumption that sensory systems involved in feeding are equally involved in catching fish with lures or real food impaled on a hook. This three-part series explores fish vision, taste, smell, hearing, and detection of water movement. Understanding the basics of how fish sensory systems work is relatively simple. The more difficult, but vital, part of understanding how fish use their sensory systems for feeding is comprehending the differences between the fish’s aqueous home and our aerial world.

    July 10 at 9:00am
    A light, either above or below the surface, is necessary to nighttime fishing success.

    Under the light: crappie at night

    Even biologists struggle to agree on an answer: Do fish sleep?

    Some say yes, others say no, and both make a case to prove their answer is correct. The evidence points to fish taking periods of rest, but without eyelids, or that portion of the brain mammals use to produce sleep, how do we know if and when they sleep?

    July 01 at 7:00am
    Crankbait and long line trolling lack the precise depth control that can be achieved when power trolling.

    Power troll for summertime crappie

    When Les Smith of Senatobia looks at the thermometer in July, it’s not the weather temperature that comes to mind, it’s the fishing temperature. His years of experience on north Mississippi’s famous crappie factories like Enid, Sardis, Grenada, and Arkabutla lakes have shown that the heat of summer doesn’t mean it’s time to stop fishing.

    July 01 at 7:00am
    Catching a limit with plastics isn’t as hard as you might think once you’ve got your presentation dialed in.

    Summer crappie like fast-break approach

    I don’t know about you, but when I think of crappie fishing during June, I picture a laid-back, leisurely affair that feels about as lazy and slow as a Mississippi summer.

    June 15 at 7:00am
    Mississippi’s noodling, or hand-grabbing season for catfish, opened May 1 and ends July 15, making June the peak month for hands-on action.

    Noodling (a.k.a. hand-grabbing) peaks in June

    One of the few freshwater fishing seasons in Mississippi is the hands-on noodling season for catfish. It opened May 1 and will close on July 15, making June the peak month for activity.

    June 15 at 6:00am
    Follow Wally

    Mr. Crappie’s top 10 crappie-fishing tips

    Seeing a school of crappie on your side-imaging electronics is one thing: Getting those fish into the boat is quite another.

    But Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall has it figured out. Once fish are in their summertime pattern, he begins by using his Humminbird Helix units to identify submerged timber or submerged brush tops holding fish.

    June 08 at 9:45am
    The good thing about crankbaits and jigs is that you don't have to worry about keeping minnows alive.

    Kicking the minnow habit

    There’s no doubt live minnows catch crappie.

    There’s also no doubt that live minnows are a bit of a hassle. Like disposable razors, live minnows have a finite shelf life, after which they are more trouble than what they’re worth. 

    June 01 at 7:00am