Try these five hot spots for January fishing in Mississippi

Stick to deep water this month for Ross Barnett’s slab crappie, either around the Highway 43 bridge, the Pelahatchie Bay creek channel or the Welfare Hole. (Picture by Dan Kibler)

Here are five recommendations for January fishing.

Barnett Reservoir crappie

This 33,000-acre lake near Jackson is dependable in January because there are four distinct patterns, and at least one will be red hot on any given day. In times of normal water flow, the river channel’s edge on the upper lake in the pinch point just above and below the Mississippi Highway 43 bridge, and the bridge pilings too, will hold crappie suspended between 14 and 18 feet deep. The creek channel in Pelahatchie Bay is also dependable, but look from 12 to 15 feet. On days with a lot of current, hit the spillway recreation area below the dam or fish the “Welfare Hole,” the common name of the big flat south and east of the Highway 43 bridge where all those fish that hold on the river’s pinch point move to get out of the current.

Biloxi Bay, Tchoutacabouffa River, mixed bag

Biloxi Bay, or Back Bay as the locals call it, along with its two feeder rivers, produces a variety of fish in January: saltwater species like speckled trout, redfish, flounder and black drum, and reshwater species like largemouth bass, striped bass and blue catfish. For bass and catfish, move further up the Biloxi and Tchoutacabouffa rivers and fish structure for largemouth and deep holes for stipes and catfish.

Tenn-Tom Waterway at Columbus catfish

If you can stand the cold, you can fill an ice chest with eating-sized catfish in deep holes along this section of the waterway. Cut bait or a big night crawler is all you need.

Calling Panther Lake bass

The creek channel on the upper end of this Homochitto National Forest Lake near Bude is a great pace to practice your skills with the drop-shot and shaky head worms. On cold days, stick to the edge of the channel in 18 to 20 feet of water, and use the drop-shot to finesse a bite. On warmer days, move up to the nearest bank and work the shallow cover with a shaky head.

Okatibbee Lake crappie

At Collinsville, just west of Meridian, this 1,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake can surprise you in the cold of January. The key is finding and sticking to the main creek channels. This shallow lake offers very little other deep water and cover that fish seek in the winter. This lake won’t produce many giants, but nice catches up to the limit are available. Drifting with spider rigs along the edge of the creek is the best strategy.

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Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1324 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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