?Arkabutla: Water level 217.77 ft, falling about 0.05 ft/day, on rule curve Tuesday. The Corps normally starts fall drawdown September 1 (fall drawdown starts a month later than at the other flood control reservoirs) with a target of 210 ft by December 1. For water level or road closure information, call (662) 562-6261
The lake is near rule curve and on fall drawdown; fish are relating to creeks and river channels following deeper water to the main lake. A rainless cold front pushed through Monday; often anglers react quicker enjoying the cooler weather than the fish. Expect the bite to improve after a few days of cooler, more stable temperatures.
Shad are abundant, so predators like bass and crappie have lots to eat without hitting minnows or crankbaits. Folks have not been catching a lot of crappie, but the ones they have been landing are good sized. Best reports have been drifting or pushing jigs and/or minnows 5 to 8 ft deep. Some folks are catching fish trolling crankbaits in the mouths of creeks 8 to 12 ft deep. Some fish can be taken jigging similar depths around live or dead cypress trees and/or sunken brush tops. Use bigger baits and fish deeper to discourage smaller fish. Replace treble hooks with singles and/or pinch down the barbs on hooks to make releasing short fish faster and less damaging; it does no good to release dead fish. Catfishing has been good with 1 - 5 lb Blue Catfish (white humpbacks) hitting natural baits (whole or cut shad have been good) on trotlines or noodles (jugs). If you find a tributary with some rainfall runoff, fish worms or stink baits. Otherwise, the best spot is in the upper end near where Hickahala Creek and the river come in. For Largemouth Bass, look for clearer water and try soft plastics or spinnerbaits off main lake points or fish cover on the edges of deeper channels. Bass will be shallower early and late in the day and deeper midday. For White Bass, fish jigs or small crankbaits over sandy points. There are no size or number limits for White Bass.
The spillway had one gate open 2.0 ft (600 cfs) Tuesday. Best reports down here have been for Blue Catfish (white humpbacks) fishing minnows or shad. White Bass should be hitting jigs or small crankbaits fished in the faster water early and late in the day. 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 by splashing down the tunnel and rocks.
As the water falls in the lake, folks report balls of "fish eggs" or "jellyfish" clinging to sticks, trees, and about everything else. They are actually colonial animals called bryozoans that filter plankton out of the water. Nibbling by fish causes the colony to minimize its surface area to a rounded shape. Websearch "freshwater bryozoans" for more on these interesting, ancient animals.