Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) fisheries biologists are expecting a great 2017 fishing season in the Mississippi Delta.
Recent fish population sampling revealed improved populations of largemouth bass, crappie, and bream in most Delta oxbows.
“In general, the sport fish numbers in the oxbows are up dramatically,” said Nathan Aycock, MDWFP Fisheries Biologist. “Higher water levels since the 2012 drought have resulted in better spawns and higher numbers of fish.”
Bass fishing on the connected oxbow lakes of the Mississippi River should be excellent. During fall 2016 sampling at Lake Ferguson, near Greenville, biologists captured the highest number of bass in the last 30 years. Angler creel surveys at Ferguson in 2016 showed that bass catch rates were twice as high as a few years ago, and the fish were plump and healthy.
Good crappie catches are already being reported from some Delta oxbows, including Lake Washington in Washington County.
“Results from a multi-year study indicated the crappie population is stable and extremely productive at Lake Washington,” said Aycock. “We implemented an 11-inch minimum length limit on crappie to better protect the population. Fishing pressure is increasing as people throughout the nation discover this hidden hotspot.”