Fishing Strong River
Strong River is one of the very best small rivers in the South to fish. The healthy fish population is attributable to the quality of water in the stream. There are no dams on the Strong nor on any of its larger tributaries, which are also excellent fishing streams. Most of the locals along its course seek out these out-of-the-way confluences for the chance to harvest some fine eating or just to enjoy the sport. Even if you are visiting you can still enjoy the great fishing in Strong River and here are a few helpful guidelines:
Bass fishing in the Strong is best in the upper regions above D'Lo Water Park. The river is cleared of channel obstructions as far upstream as May's Bridge. The park can provide a canoe and shuttle to this location.
The bass will readily take topwater offerings such as Hula Poppers, Jitterbugs, etc. The best color schemes are frog or white/red. Fly fishing is excellent in this region and topwater poppers are the bait of choice. White is the most popular color. Also frog, black and various hoppers.
If you are mainly interested in catching some bass for the table and freezer your surest path to success lies with live bait. A minnow fished two feet beneath a bobber doesn't stand a flying chance!
tip: When casting lures to bass, accuracy counts. Land your lure within a couple of inches of the log or bank and you'll get a strike. Land it eight inches out from it and your offering will be ignored. Same rule applies to live bait.
Adjust fishing tactics to the seasons and you will have sucess. In summer fish early and late. Deep water access is important. In fall, the most productive season, fish small spinners in ambush areas and riffles. In winter fish the creek mouths with a crappie pole and jig for best results. Tip the jig with a tiny minnow. In spring fish the banks immediately below creek confluences. Minnows or minnow immitations are tops.
Panfish and crappie fishing
Bream will collect in any relatively deep area with structure. So will the crappies. Crickets and cane poles can fill your stringer with tasty bream. Use live minnows for crappie and you will also catch bass as well.
Artificials for bream that work consistently during good fishing times are tiny grub spinners, curly-tailed grubs, topwater baits and flies. The key here is "tiny". The crappie will take larger grub spinners or medium in-line spinners.
Cold water seems to have no effect on these fish. They can be caught in very cold weather if one fishes deep holes with slack current and lots of cover. Use live bait.
tip: Although bream can be collected using a variety of methods, including fly fishing, perhaps there is nothing more enjoyable than the simple light cane pole and bobber. Crickets or small earthworms are irresistable to these aggressive feeders.
There are three species of sporting catfish in Strong River: The channel catfish; the blue catfish and the flathead catfish. Although the blue catfish has the potential to be the largest of catfish species, in Strong River that title is held by the flathead.
Blues and channels can be caught virtually anywhere in the Strong. The larger ones are caught in areas in and near very deep water. Look for deep holes in the outside of bends with lots of submerged logs and you have found a catfish bonanza. If there is swift water above the hole, even better. Place your bait there. The bait of choice is cut-bait. The average cat will weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs. Larger bait will yield larger catches and 4 pounders are not uncommon. If you use dough bait, worms or livers the small cats will peck it off the hook. Don't waste your time.
Very large catfish do inhabit Strong River. They are extremely difficult to land on rod and reel due to the fact that they can and will easily break your line or wrap it around submerged structure and make good their escape. These brutes are best hunted at night in shallow water where they come out to feed and where there are no obstructions. Here you have a fighting chance as they can be hauled in with heavy duty tackle suited for quickly subduing very strong fish. Use cut-bait for blues and channels. Use live bluegills or other forage fish for flatheads. Flatheads feed only on live bait and this, in addition to their incredible strength, makes them the most difficult to catch.
tip: Nothing, absolutely nothing beats fresh catalpa worms for channels and blues in this stream. Place them on the bottom in swift water above a deep hole or ledge. Use sufficient weight to hold it down and in place. Use a 12-inch leader and a #1 wire hook.
The largest of the sporting species that I have seen that were harvested from the Strong River are as follows:
Blue catfish...19 lbs (caught between MS 13 and May's Bridge on cutbait)
Channel catfish...8 lbs (caught between Floyd's Bridge and MS 13)
Flathead catfish...36 lbs (caught just below Dabb's Creek confluence on trotline baited with live bream. Old photos exist of flatheads that are claimed to exceed 100 lbs from Strong River.)
Largemouth bass...7.5 lbs (caught just above MS 13 on live shiner)
Spotted bass...3.5 lbs (caught at the Sellers' Creek confluence on shiner)
Striped bass...13 lbs (caught at the Pearl River confluence in high water)
Hybrid striped bass...2.5 lbs (caught at D'Lo Water Park)
White crappie...1.5 lbs (caught at Berry Turn-Hole)
Black crappie 1.5 lbs (caught at Berry Turn-Hole)
Bluegill...1 lb (caught just above May's Bridge)
Shellcracker... .5 lb (caught just below Floyd's Bridge on red wiggler worm)
Redbreast... .5 lb (caught at the dug-out below U.S. 49 on cane pole and cricket)
Keep in mind that it's not the size of the fish that matters but the fishing experience as a whole. There are other places where you can catch much larger fish but one will not find a more beautiful place than the Strong River.
Please be familiar with all laws, limits and regulations pertaining to fresh water fishing in Mississippi and have on your person at all times a valid fishing license. Be safe and keep your life preserver on or within instant reach.
There is a Live Bait Shop inside the D'Lo Water Park office. We sell absolutely everything you could possibly need and more for an extended fishing trip on Strong River.