Fishing frenzy: Conditions now right for anglers everywhere

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal Conditions currently coincide for all-around excellent fishing, no matter what the target species. Those targeting catfish spawning along the high rock walls of Pickwick often collect a few bonus smallmouth bass along the way.

Kevin Tate | Daily Journal
Conditions currently coincide for all-around excellent fishing, no matter what the target species. Those targeting catfish spawning along the high rock walls of Pickwick often collect a few bonus smallmouth bass along the way.

By Kevin Tate

Outdoors Writer

Because of continuing rains, cool weather and a handy full moon, spring fishing not only hit its peak on time but has continued to stay there well longer than normal this year, making right now an ideal time to hit the water.

Water temperatures have been very favorable to keep the crappie shallow, the bass have spawned and are in all stages of the transition to summer pattern, catfish are preparing to spawn and are headed for the rock walls at Pickwick and the bream are hanging around the beds in anticipation of next month’s full moon.

“If you were ever going to fish, now would be a good time to do it,” said Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle, in Tupelo.

Sun, wind, rain and generally cooler-than-normal weather have kept water temperatures very stable for the past two or three months.

Long, cool spring

“The best we can tell, the crappie came in and spawned and did their thing, but they just stayed,” Coleman said. “I still hear from people catching them in two to three feet of water all over the (Tenn-Tom) Waterway.

“The crappie in Bay Springs have pulled out deeper, but they live deep up there year ‘round anyway. They feel comfortable deeper.”

Crappie fishermen on Pickwick have found success recently by trolling.

For bass enthusiasts, the cool weather has afforded a much longer post-spawn transition period, putting bass everywhere and anywhere one might be likely to find a fish.

Bass on the move

“They’re chasing anything that moves right now,” Coleman said. “On bigger water, they’re starting to pull out a little deeper. Some are in transition but they’re all making the move to go toward summer pattern now. You can kind of catch them where you want to right now.”

At Pickwick, the steep bluffs that rise from the water’s edge trace the same curves below and host spawning catfish in great numbers, an annual phenomenon that’s recently begun.

“They’re catching them not only in the main river, but on the creeks running in that have rock walls,” Coleman said. “They’re throwing little redworms under a cork two or three feet deep and wearing them out.”

He added that a number of fishermen use fly rods, casting an eight-weight line and a red worm on a tough hook, all suspended under a string cork designed just for that purpose.

For bream fishermen, the interim between the May and June full moons can be very productive.

“The bream came in a little early on the full moon this month and started spawning two weeks out, then were full blown spawning the week of,” Coleman said. “The bite has slowed down just a little bit, but they’ll still be gathered up near the beds. I’d find the first little treetop nearby, because they’ll come back and do it again in June.”

Some like it hot

Unlike the crappie, warming waters won’t send the bream to their lake’s deepest reaches for the duration of the summer.

“You can’t get the water too hot for bream,” he said. “They’re all about some hot water.”