The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District is the state agency created to construct and manage the 33,000-acre Ross Barnett Reservoir and the 17,000 acres surrounding the lake. Ross Barnett is a shallow reservoir with average depth being about 11 feet…
The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District is the state agency created to construct and manage the 33,000-acre Ross Barnett Reservoir and the 17,000 acres surrounding the lake. Ross Barnett is a shallow reservoir with average depth being about 11 feet; however, the areas around the old Pearl River channel go as deep as 50 feet. There is a good bit of water along the channel that is 18 to 20 feet. Channel markers are very important when running the reservoir and a good map of the lake is a must. Due to the water depth, wind and rain play a big part in fishing Ross Barnett; areas such as the Main Channel and Pelahatchie Bay should be avoided in winds as low as 5 to 10 mph. Rain will cause muddy water conditions and negatively affect the fishing for two to four days.
Ross Barnett Reservoir is located just north of Jackson, MS, with Interstate 20 being the easiest route. Highways 51 and 43 provide access to the lake. Most tournaments on the reservoir are held out of either Tommy’s Trading Post or Safe Harbor Marina, both places are located on Highway 43. But there are plenty of launches located around the lake.
The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District provides recreational opportunities that include managing 48 parks and recreational facilities for an estimated 2.5 million annual visitors. Visitors can relax at five campgrounds, 16 parks, 22 boat launches, three handicapped-accessible trails, two multi-purpose trails and a mountain bike trail. Each campground has a live-in, on-site Reservoir Patrol manager. In conjunction with private and public sectors, the District has also developed five marinas, four baseball/soccer complexes and two golf courses. If you are planning a trip to Ross Barnett Reservoir, check out the facilities that are available: campgrounds – http://www.therez.ms/camping.html and parks – http://www.therez.ms/parks.html.
Among all the popular activities that go along with a lake or reservoir, bass fishing is the most popular sport on Ross Barnett. Other species such as spotted bass, crappie, and catfish attract lots of fishermen; bass fishing brings the most folks to the reservoir. With the size of Ross Barnett, there are quite a few different ways to catch bass.
In springtime, the fish are moving shallow for the spawn. You might have some difficulty finding the bass but once located you definitely want to plastic jerkbaits and floating trick style worms, smaller spinnerbaits, and lightly weighted lizards. Summertime brings on a great deal of vegetation in the reservoir. Lots of anglers are flipping the vegetation, working spinnerbaits, or dragging plastic frogs across the top of the vegetation. Fishermen also move out to the ledges with deep crankbaits and carolina-rigged plastics. You can also find schooling fish in many areas of the lake during summertime. Casting surface lures at the abundant schoolers can provide a lot of fun for the bass fisherman. The schooling bass carry over into the fall and fishermen also continue many of the same summertime patterns such as spinnerbaits and lures that work well in vegetation. If you are going to Ross Barnett in wintertime, be sure to have jigs with trailers, rattletraps, spinnerbaits, and worms on hand. These have historically been the best producers during the cold weather months.
No matter the time of year or reason for making a visit to Ross Barnett Reservoir, you are sure to have an enjoyable time. Be sure to bring along some fishing equipment and take advantage of the great bass fishing that the reservoir has to offer.
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