Drought Takes Toll on Mississippi River Boaters, Fishermen

MEMPHIS, TN - Drought conditions have left many boat ramps, and fishermen, high and dry along the Mississippi River.

Dozens of discarded Christmas trees have been placed along the shoreline of Herb Parsons Lake, about 30 miles southeast of Memphis.

Those trees were meant to serve as underwater cover for several species of fish.  But now they are just a dry reminder of the lake's persistent low water level.

Low lake levels forced the closure of one of two of the lake's boat ramps last year and this year could be much of the same.

Fishermen can now walk to areas that once were under three to four feet of water.

All four flood-control reservoirs in Mississippi...Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada, have been far below normal pool.

At Arkabutla Lake, less than 30 minutes south of the Tennessee state line in Mississippi, levels were two-and-a-half feet below normal levels.

Last week, thousands of male crappie were found floating on Sardis and Enid lakes.

Mississippi fisheries biologist Keith Meals said extremely low water levels and agressive competition over spawning sites may have led to the high fish mortality.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)