• Freshwater Fishing

    Pony head jigs like this Road Runner account for a lot of crappie, especially in stained water where the small spinner provides vibration and flash.

    The jig is up. But which one?

    Walk into any tackle shop this time of year and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with choices of crappie jigs to use to tempt one of the country’s favorite gamefish. How do you decide which one(s) to buy and use? 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    The senses of smell and taste were important to catching this Mississippi River blue catfish.

    The biology behind the bite

    The vulnerability of fish to hook-and-line capture has become a hot topic among fisheries scientists. 

    January 09 at 9:00am
    Shimano Curado 200 K series

    Shimano Curado 200 K series

    Shimano made some waves in the fishing industry last summer when it debuted its new Curado 200 K series baitcasting reels at the annual ICAST show, where they promptly took home the honor as the best new freshwater reel.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    When managers at Barnett Reservoir increase discharge at the spillway, crappie are pulled through the gates and congregate in the eddy currents below.

    Sure-thing spillway slabs?

    A popular idiom for simplicity is to compare something to “shooting fish in a barrel.” It has no better application than some winter fishing opportunities on the Pearl River when the waters in the spillway below Barnett Reservoir begin to rise.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Limits of big crappie have been taken from the edge of the river channel above and below the Mississippi Highway 43 Bridge at Barnett Reservoir. It's usually a winter hot spot but this year, it started earlier and has just gotten better.

    Barnett crappie hot in December

    Crappie fishermen on Barnett Reservoir enjoyed an early Christmas present in December, with one of the best late-season runs on the fish in anyone’s memory.

    December 20, 2017 at 6:30am
    Healthy bass populations produce quality bass.

    Too much of a good thing

    The adoption of catch-and-release benefited black bass fisheries, but now many fisheries managers wish it would go away — or that at least a few anglers would harvest some bass. 

    December 11, 2017 at 9:00am
    This cross section from a shovelnose sturgeon spine has six annuli.

    Get a grip on fish growth rate

    Many anglers are interested in how many fish of a certain species live in a body of water. Estimating population size is difficult and, even with extensive effort estimates, is imprecise. Growth rate is much more informative from a fishery management perspective and can be measured very precisely.

    November 08, 2017 at 9:00am
    Sweetening your trolling baits with added scents can help sell the deal.

    Helpful hints for fall crappie

    For fall crappie work, consider these finer points, as needed:

    October 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    Big crappie don’t have trouble finding shad to eat in the fall, because they can eat larger baitfish.

    Fall: A time of fishing changes

    Most of Mississippi has enjoyed a relatively cool summer, but its waters still got “summer hot.” With August and September gone, nights are cooler, days are shorter and the sun is far less intense. The water cools; that is predictable. What fish do is not so predictable, but if you can follow the changes they face and how they might respond, better days on the water could be the result.

    October 11, 2017 at 9:00am
    A well-placed spread pushed at a slow pace is the recipe for crappie bites.

    Trolling the transition - Can’t miss September crappie tips

    Summer’s swelter is on the way out and fall’s advancing coolness will soon tickle the backs of our necks and push crappie toward their fourth-quarter patterns. Main lake targets will continue to produce for a few more weeks, but Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall says the sooner you head to inside waters the better.

    October 01, 2017 at 7:00am
    This slab crappie also inhaled a Cajun Lures’ Slim Jimmy.

    Slim Jimmys

    Before there was a Cooyon Croaker, Kaplan-based Cajun Lures probably was best known for the little soft plastic that slayed sac-a-lait here, there and everywhere.

    September 27, 2017 at 9:00am
    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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 at 7:00am