Are you looking for a great fishing spot in Mississippi for your next catfish adventure? From the rivers of the Delta Region to picturesque lakes in central Mississippi, this state is home to some excellent spots that offer anglers a chance to catch giant catfish.
Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or just starting, this post will cover all the best locations and tips on how to get started seeing these much sought-after bottom dwellers.
The Top Catfish Fishing Locations in Mississippi
Mississippi is widely known for its fantastic catfish fishing opportunities. With abundant lakes, rivers, and reservoirs teeming with catfish, the state has become a prime destination for anglers seeking this popular game fish. Here are some of the best catfish fishing locations you should consider visiting during your next trip to Mississippi.
1. Ross Barnett Reservoir
Located near Jackson, Ross Barnett Reservoir is a 33,000-acre body of water home to an impressive population of channel, blue, and flathead catfish. The reservoir offers multiple access points, boat ramps, and fishing piers, making it a convenient choice for both shore and boat fishermen.
One of the best spots to target catfish in Ross Barnett is around the submerged timber and brush piles throughout the reservoir. Anglers can also succeed by fishing near the dam, where the flowing water attracts catfish searching for food. In addition, the Pearl River, which feeds into Ross Barnett, is another excellent location for catfish fishing.
2. Grenada Lake
Grenada Lake, located in North Mississippi, is another premier catfish fishing destination. This 36,000-acre reservoir is known for producing large blue and channel catfish, with some weighing over 50 pounds. The lake’s many coves, drop-offs, and underwater structures provide perfect cover for catfish.
Anglers can try their luck fishing near the Grenada Dam or along the main channel of the Yalobusha River, which runs through the lake. Additionally, targeting the numerous creek mouths and tributaries that flow into Grenada Lake can yield excellent results.
3. Mississippi River
The mighty Mississippi River offers endless opportunities for catfish fishing. Stretching along the entire western border of the state, the river is home to massive populations of blue, channel, and flathead catfish. Anglers can find success fishing from the banks, sandbars, or by boat.
Some popular spots along the Mississippi River include Vicksburg, Greenville, and Tunica areas. Focus on fishing near wing dikes, sandbars, and deep holes, as these are prime locations for catfish to congregate. Remember to use heavy tackle and strong line, as the river’s current can be powerful, and the fish can grow quite large.
4. Pickwick Lake
In the state’s northeastern corner, Pickwick Lake is a 43,000-acre reservoir spanning Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The lake is known for its excellent catfish fishing opportunities, particularly for blue and channel catfish.
Fishing near the Pickwick Dam tailwaters can yield excellent results, as the turbulent waters provide an ideal environment for catfish to feed. Additionally, anglers can target the tributaries and creek mouths that flow into Pickwick Lake, such as Yellow Creek, Indian Creek, and Bear Creek.
5. Sardis Lake
Sardis Lake, situated in the rolling hills of North Mississippi, is a 98,000-acre reservoir that offers exceptional catfish fishing. The lake is home to a healthy blue, channel, and flathead catfish population, with some reaching trophy sizes.
Anglers can find success fishing the many coves, points, and submerged structures seen throughout the lake. In addition, the Tallahatchie River, which feeds into Sardis Lake, is another productive location for catfish fishing. Targeting deep holes bends, and river eddies can lead to impressive catches.
6. Arkabutla Lake
Arkabutla Lake, located 30 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee, is a 33,000-acre reservoir with excellent catfish fishing opportunities. The lake is home to abundant blue, channel, and flathead catfish.
Anglers can target catfish near the many points, ledges, and submerged timber found throughout the lake. Fishing near the dam and along the Coldwater River, which feeds into Arkabutla Lake, can also produce great results.
Be sure to explore the numerous creek mouths and tributaries that flow into the lake, as they are prime locations for catfish to congregate.
7. Enid Lake
Enid Lake, located in North Mississippi, is a 28,000-acre reservoir known for its fantastic catfish fishing opportunities. This lake is home to a thriving blue, channel, and flathead catfish population.
Fishing near the Enid Dam tailwaters is a popular spot for anglers targeting catfish, as the turbulent waters create an ideal environment for feeding. In addition, the Yocona River, which runs through the lake, offers numerous bends, holes, and eddies that are prime catfish habitats.
Don’t forget to explore the various creeks and tributaries that flow into Enid Lake, as they often hold giant catfish.
8. Washington County Oxbow Lakes
The oxbow lakes in Washington County, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, provide unique catfish fishing opportunities. These lakes were once part of the Mississippi River but became isolated over time due to river course changes. These oxbow lakes, such as Lake Ferguson, Lake Lee, and Lake Whittington, are home to healthy blue, channel, and flathead catfish populations.
Anglers can find success fishing near these lakes’ numerous drop-offs, sandbars, and submerged structures. Additionally, targeting the mouths of small creeks and ditches that flow into the lakes can yield excellent results.
9. Okatibbee Lake
Located in east-central Mississippi, Okatibbee Lake is a 4,144-acre reservoir that offers superb catfish fishing opportunities. The lake is home to a healthy channel, blue, and flathead catfish population.
Fishing near the dam and along the main channel of Okatibbee Creek, which runs through the lake, can produce great results for anglers seeking catfish. The numerous coves, points, and underwater structures found throughout the lake provide perfect cover for catfish. Don’t forget to explore the various tributaries and creek mouths that flow into Okatibbee Lake, as they are prime locations for catfish to congregate.
10. Big Black River
The Big Black River, located in central Mississippi, is an excellent destination for catfish fishing. This slow-moving river is home to abundant blue, channel, and flathead catfish populations.
Anglers can find success fishing near deep holes, bends, and logjams, as these are prime locations for catfish to hide and feed. Additionally, targeting the numerous tributaries and creek mouths that flow into the Big Black River can yield impressive catches. Be prepared to use heavy tackle and strong line, as the fish can grow large in this river system.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting, these spots offer excellent chances for catching some impressive catfish.
Best Time of Year to Fish for Catfish in Mississippi
Mississippi offers excellent catfish fishing opportunities throughout the year, but certain seasons and conditions can be more productive than others. Understanding the best times to target catfish can help you plan your fishing trips and increase your chances of success.
Spring is an excellent time to fish for catfish in Mississippi, as the warming waters trigger increased activity levels and feeding. During this season, catfish move into shallow areas and tributaries to spawn, making them more accessible to anglers. The pre-spawn period, typically from late March to early May, can be particularly productive, as catfish aggressively feed to build energy reserves for spawning.
Fishing for catfish during the summer can also be very productive, especially during the early mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler. As the water temperatures rise, catfish will often seek out deeper, cooler waters during the day and move to shallower areas to feed at night.
Targeting deep holes, drop-offs, and underwater structures during the day, and transitioning to shallower areas near the banks and tributaries in the early morning and evening can yield great results.
Fall is another prime time for catfish fishing in Mississippi, as the cooling waters prompt catfish to feed heavily in preparation for the winter months. During this time, catfish can often be found in shallow areas near cover and structure, such as submerged timber, rock piles, and creek mouths.
As the water temperatures drop, catfish will gradually move to deeper areas, so adjusting your fishing tactics accordingly can be beneficial.
While catfish can still be caught during winter, their activity levels tend to decrease as the water temperatures drop. However, dedicated anglers can still succeed by targeting deep holes, channels, and ledges where catfish are likely to congregate. Fishing with fresh, high-quality bait and using a slow, patient approach can help entice these less active fish to bite.
Catfish can be caught year-round in Mississippi, but the spring, summer, and fall generally offer the most productive fishing. By understanding the seasonal patterns and adjusting your tactics accordingly, you can increase your chances of landing some impressive catfish during your next fishing adventure in Mississippi.
1. Do I need a fishing license to fish in Mississippi?
You need a valid Mississippi fishing license if you are 16 or older and plan to fish in the state’s public waters. Licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or at various license vendors throughout the state.
2. What are the most common catfish species found in Mississippi?
Mississippi’s three most common catfish species are the channel, blue, and flathead catfish. All three species can be found in various lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the state.
3. What are some popular catfish baits to use in Mississippi?
3. What are some popular catfish baits to use in Mississippi?
Some popular catfish baits include cut bait (shad, herring, or skipjack), nightcrawlers, chicken liver, stink baits, and live bait like shiners or small bluegill. The choice of bait often depends on the specific catfish species you are targeting and their natural food sources in the area.
4. Can I fish for catfish at night in Mississippi?
Yes, night fishing for catfish is allowed and can be very productive, as catfish are often more active during the cooler nighttime hours. Be sure to follow all state fishing regulations and safety guidelines when fishing at night.
5. Are there any special regulations for catfish fishing in Mississippi?
Mississippi has statewide creel and size limits for catfish. The daily creel limit for channel and blue catfish is ten per person, with no more than one fish over 34 inches long. The daily creel limit for flathead catfish is five fish per person, with no size limitation. Be sure to consult the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for any additional regulations that may apply to specific bodies of water.
6. Can I use a cast net to catch baitfish for catfishing in Mississippi?
Yes, cast nets are allowed for catching baitfish in Mississippi. However, there are certain restrictions on the size and type of cast net that can be used and where it can be used. Be sure to consult the Mississippi fishing regulations for specific information on cast net usage.