?Arkabutla: The water is falling fairly quickly. Crappie fishing has picked up lately with the water starting to pull out of the vegetation. Best luck has been fishing crankbaits 10 12 ft deep in the main lake and major creek mouths. Expect a lot of short fish; use large baits and/or fish deeper to hook more keepers. Pinch down the barbs on crankbait hooks to make releasing short fish faster and less damaging; it does no good to release dead fish. Quite a few blue catfish and white bass have been hitting crankbaits meant for crappie. Best luck on catfish has been on jugs (noddles) fishing various natural baits on the south side of the main lake. White bass are in the main lake feeding on small shad; fish jigs, tailspinner lures, or small crankbaits over sandy points. There is no size or number limit on white bass. There have been some good reports of chunky largemouth bass lately from 1.5 5 lb; most are 1.5 2 lbs. Bass are 4 10 ft deep in flooded cover where spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or other search lures fished over channel edges or main lake points should draw strikes. Slow down and fish soft plastics if you find a concentration of deeper fish. Fish shallower early and late in the day and deeper midday. Look for clearer water for bass.
As the water falls, folks report balls of fish eggs or jellyfish clinging to sticks, trees, and about everything else. These are actually colonial animals (like coral) that filter plankton out of the water. Nibbling by fish results in a rounded colony. Web search freshwater bryozoans for more on these interesting, ancient animals.
The spillway had one gate open 5.0 ft (1500 cfs) Tuesday. Best luck down here has been for blue and flathead catfish on live bait fished near the bottom. The bad smell in the spillway is hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) that is in solution in deep water where there is no oxygen in the upper lake. As deep water is drawn through the dam, the gas comes out of solution in the spillway when the water is re-oxygenated with splashing down the tunnel and rocks.
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 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.