April is the month when winter has finally had its last gasp in Mississippi. The weather begins to moderate, plants bloom and fish begin to move into their spring patterns.
All of those factors combine to make this a great month to be on the water in the Magnolia State. Regardless of the species of freshwater fish you want to target, somewhere in the state you can find them biting.
For bass anglers the fish are either headed to the shore to spawn, or are already there. That equates to some great shallow water action for these fish.
Meanwhile, panfish are likely to be in the same areas as well. Crappie are most likely bunched around shall wood structure as they spawn.
Out on shallow mud or sand flats, redear sunfish will be fanning their saucer shaped beds as the full moon nears. The virtual moonscapes these fish — commonly called shell crackers — create as they pock mark the bottom are beacons to bream fishermen.
While the possibilities for catching these fish are wide spread, there are some better places to get into the action. And, between the four species, there is good fishing to be had throughout the state this month.
Let’s have a look at four destinations for finding this outstanding fishing action this April. We’ll start in the northern end of the state and work out way south.
Sardis Lake is a 31,400-acre flood control reservoir that was constructed on the Little Tallahatchie River in 1940. Located 9 miles east of the town of Sardis and 20 miles west of Oxford, the lake has 220 miles of shoreline.
This is a relatively shallow impoundment, averaging around 25 feet deep. There are some depths pushing 60 feet near the dam, but also a lot of water in the 5- to 10-foot depths as well.
It is those shallow areas, particularly in the many creek arms on the reservoir that attract the spawning crappie in the spring.
Although there was a lot of sunken timber left in the lakebed during construction, most has long since rotted away. But, abundant brush piles and fish attractors have replaced that lost cover. The best of these for crappie fishing are located along the drop into the old creek channels.
Some of the better arms for finding crappie are Blackwater and Hurricane creeks on the upper portion of the lake. Farther to the southwest on the lower lake the arms of check out are Clear, Greasy and Toby Tubby.
White crappie are the predominant species, although some black crappie are also present. These fish are quite popular on the impoundment. Surveys have found that up to 90 percent of all anglers on Sardis Lake are targeting crappie.
The chance at some real slabs is one appeal. Local angler Peyton Robinson hoisted a 4-pound white crappie from Sardis last year.
Several tactics work for crappie in the month of April. Probably the most popular is simply dangling a minnow under a cork. However, some anglers prefer to cast and tight line a jighead dressed with a grub or tube lure.
Also, the technique of trolling can produce some slabs on this lake. Moving slowly, either a minnow or jig can be rigged for this mobile method of fishing.
Jigs with red heads and white trailers are popular on Sardis, as are red-and-chartreuse color schemes. But, it‚s always a good idea to have a variety of colors on hand. If the fish aren’t biting, then keep changing shades until the crappie tell you what they want.
Regardless of the bait or lure, the places to concentrate you effort are along the creek channels mentioned earlier, paying particular attention to water 6 to 10 feet deep.
The creel limit for crappie on Sardis Lake is 20 fish per angler. Crappie must be more than 12 inches to be legally harvested.
While fishing on Sardis you can use no more than five poles per angler.