Try these destinations for great Mississippi fishing in February.
Whether you like catfish, crappie or bass, Barnett Reservoir is a February hot spot. Seriously cold days offer catfishermen the best opportunity of the year to fish from the bank. Catfish move shallow to feast on shad that die in the cold water. Just cast as far as you can with night crawlers or cut shad and set multiple poles. Tight-lining on the bottom is the ticket. For crappie, watch the river current. A regular, slow river puts the attention on the natural bottleneck created at the Mississippi Highway 43 bride. Fishermen concentrate on the river channel edges both above and below the bridge. After heavy seasonal rains, a fast river usually follows, and that puts fish in the “Welfare Hole,” a popular fishing area just southeast of the bridge. The current forms a big eddy that offers fish safe haven. Of course, if the river is running, so is the spillway, and the crappie will be thick in the tailrace. Bass fishermen play the warm fronts. The third or fourth day of a warming trend will lure the big fish out of the deep water to nearby shallows. Pad stems along the river channel is an ideal target. Throw a small-bladed spinnerbait.
No doubt about it, visit this old Mississippi River oxbow north of Vicksburg and fish for suspended black crappie under the piers on the Mississippi bank. The Louisiana side is too shallow. Most of the fish are caught fishing jigs 3 to 4 feet deep in deeper water.
Bass fishermen enjoy hitting this lake early in the year. The upper end, which has the best-defined creek channel, is a good place to start. There are many spots where the deep creek nears a point or a steep bank. Suspending jerkbaits are good on warm days on those steep banks. On cold days, stick to a drop-shot or shaky head along the creek channel edge.
The Pascagoula, Biloxi and Jordan river systems on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast are excellent in February, especially if it’s a dry month without a lot of freshwater running in the rivers. The Pascagoula is a great late-winter trout producer, with deep holes holding the big specks. The Biloxi and its partner, the Tchoutacabouffa, produce great largemouth action in their upper ends, but any cast is also subject to bring a bite from a speck, redfish or puppy drum. A personal favorite is the U.S. Highway 90 bridge pilings at the mouth of the Jordan River in Bay St. Louis. Big sheepshead, puppy drum and redfish all use those pilings to ambush baitfish. Bridges on the other rivers work, too, but Bay St. Louis is the best.
Whether you’re trying to catch a monster flathead or blue cat, or just fill an icebox with keeper-sized and fun-to-eat channel catfish, Columbus Lake on the Tenn-Tom Waterway is the place to be. According to local knowledge, unless the water is 50 degrees or higher, forget the big ones and go for the smaller ones. Look for stumpy areas off the main channel with water between 7 and 20 feet and use cut bait on a 5/0 hook to catch blues and channels from 1 to 15 pounds.
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