On a hunch .......
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 4:19 PM
Water level 262.77 ft, rising 0.6 ft/day, 9.9 ft over rule curve Tuesday. It is supposed to rise from 241 ft March 1 to 260 ft (summer pool) May 1. For water level information, call (662) 563-4531 or check at http://126.96.36.199/offices/ed/edh/docs/bullet.txt
for a table or http://188.8.131.52/offices/ed/edh/plots/sardplot.png
for a graph.
Fishing was difficult to dangerous this past week with high winds. The newest rise will likely turn off about everthing but catfish until the lake starts to stabilize and clear, but there is more rain forecast later this week, although it is supposed to be warmer. Despite the winds Saturday, a club crappie tournament was won with 12.80 lb (7 fish); big fish was 2.89. Best luck was fishing 6 - 7 ft deep.
Heavy rain yesterday (Monday) should raise the lake some more. Expect the rise to turn off about everything but catfish. Best luck for crappie should be in the upper end from Hurricane and Blackwater Creeks to above Redman's Bluff and in the backs of the major creeks fishing jigs and/or minnows 2 - 4 ft deep in spawning areas or slow trolling deeper out from spawning areas. The spawn usually progresses from the upper end down toward the dam. Expect a good catfish bite on worms in the river and creeks after the rain and in the shallows as they feed in newly flooded areas. Trotlines should work best in the shallows. For Largemouth Bass, look for clearer water in the backs of creeks and coves and try topwaters, buzzbaits, or spinnerbaits in flooded cover, especially grass and brush covered flats near creek channels. White Bass are in the creeks and river on their spawning run; fish jigs or small crankbaits over a sandy bottom. There are no size or number limits on White Bass. Carp and gar are moving in the shallows if you want to try some bowfishing.
The spillway had all gates closed Tuesday. Best luck down here has been trolling for crappie in the Lower Lake with jigs and/or minnows. White Bass can be taken on jigs where there is a little water coming out at the base of the "steps".
Crappie spawning in Sardis is normally from the end of March through the end of April, but it may vary a week or more depending on weather, moon phase, etc. Crappie spawned nearly a month later than normal the last couple of springs because a cold winter made main lake temperatures where crappie overwinter very cold. Main lake temperatures are warmer this winter and a more normal spawning time is expected unless we get an unusually cool spring. Not all crappie spawn at the same time; larger females usually spawn first and get the best spots. Black Crappie usually spawn earlier than White Crappie (males of both species get dark during the spawn; do not use color to tell the species apart). For crappie identification, see http://www.mdwfp.com/media/296824/fish_id_guide.pdf
MDWFP has completed fall, 2015, electrofishing. Higher water levels the last few years have allowed the bream population to prosper with abundant hand-sized bluegill. There were good numbers of crappie from the last 3 years (2013 white crappie averaged about 12 inches) plus some larger fish to nearly 3 lb. There were also a lot of blue catfish (white river cats). Largemouth bass were also abundant with a lot of chunky fish from 2 - 4 lbs. White bass were less numerous than in recent years, likely from the kill in September. Shad numbers were good.
Starting July 22, 2015, the daily creel limit for crappie is 15 per person. Crappie must be over 12 inches. Anglers may use no more than 4 poles per person and no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole. There is a 40 crappie per boat limit for boats with 3 or more anglers. The 12 inch length limit does not apply to the reservoir spillway, but the spillway, including Sardis Lower Lake, has a 15 crappie creel limit.
Starting July 22, 2015, limits on black bass (largemouth and spotted) go to statewide limits: no size limit, 10 fish per person daily.
Contact the COE office (662)563-4531 for accessible ramps at current water levels.