John N. Felsher headshot
By John N. Felsher
February 2023

Grenada Lake: Home of the 3-pound crappie.

2 men in boat on lakeAcross the nation, anglers hoping to land giant crappie always think of the “I-55 Corridor” in northern Mississippi as the road to monster slabs.

All of the “Big Four” flood control reservoirs along Interstate 55 — Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada, and Sardis — produce massive crappie. Two produced current crappie records. Arkabutla Lake in Tate and DeSoto counties delivered the state record black crappie at 4.25 pounds, but Enid near Batesville gave up the world record white crappie at 5 pounds, 3 ounces. However, Grenada Lake, about three miles northeast of the town of Grenada, consistently produces the most crappie topping three pounds.

“All four of the lakes are capable of producing crappie exceeding three pounds,” stated Keith Meals, a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks biologist. “I would rank Enid and Sardis best for numbers and Arkabutla and Grenada best for size. Grenada Lake produces many 2- to 2.5-pound fish with the biggest crappie in many tournaments often coming in around 3.5 pounds or better.”

Jarad Roper holding fish by mouth in boat
Jarad Roper

Each fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draws down the reservoirs. The lakes begin to refill in mid-January, depending upon the amount of rain. Although anglers might catch huge crappie all year long at Grenada Lake, the best fishing for big ones typically occurs in late winter or early spring before the spawn.

Dubbed “the home of the 3-pound crappie,” the largest lake entirely within Mississippi spreads across 35,000 acres at pool stage. Relatively shallow and full of stumps and timber, Grenada Lake drops to more than 30 feet deep in the main river channels at pool stage.

“Anytime someone drops a bait into Grenada Lake, that person could possibly catch the biggest crappie of his or her life,” exclaimed Jarad Roper, a professional crappie angler. “Grenada does produce bigger than average fish every year. I’ve never seen crappie so aggressive as they are on Grenada Lake.”

2 men in boat with fishing poles in waterThe Skuna and Yalobusha Rivers flows into Grenada Lake, the southernmost of the Big Four. A little larger than the Skuna, the Yalobusha typically carries muddier water. Since the Skuna runs a little clearer, many anglers fish this arm first during the spawning season. Look for little ditches or creek channels that lead into shallow sunny backwater areas that might warm quicker.

“Water warms up faster on the Skuna arm than it does on the Yalobusha,” explained John Harrison with JH Guide Service (662) 983-5999 in Calhoun City. “Crappie usually start spawning on the Skuna side about a week to 10 days before they start on the Yalobusha side. The Skuna has more sand in it so it clears up faster. Once the water temperature starts getting in the high 50s or around 60 to 62 degrees, the males start hitting the banks. I start fishing the Skuna in early March and fish around to the Yalobusha side.”

Many campgrounds, hotels and restaurants offer accommodations around Grenada Lake.

People might wish to rent a cabin at Hugh White State Park can visit the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website. For area information, visit the Grenada Missisippi Tourism Commission website.

Category: Outdoors Today

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