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Lake life

Right place, right time – Part 2

Steve Danna didn’t mince words about what he thinks about crappie fishing on Lake D’Arbonne. He shared this information at last week’s Crappie Fishing Class at the Union Parish Library.

“This is one of the finest white perch fisheries in the state, and maybe anywhere. If you fish the right areas and use the right techniques, you can catch fish all year around,” he said. “We don’t have as many of the two, two and a half pounders as we had in the past, but I believe the new 25-fish limit will help bring that back.”

The key to consistently catching fish is the same as winning the lottery – being in the right place at the right time. And that starts with knowing the habits of Mr. Crappie. Here’s how Steve breaks the year down:

The Spawn – At the end of winter, when the water reaches 58-60 degrees, the fish will pull in to the bank. There are lots of these places on D’Arbonne.  The banks, cypress trees, shallow rKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAidges — they all hold crappie when the are trying to spawn. That can be in one foot of water or 4-5 feet of water. Here’s something a lot of people don’t understand — they think when the crappie move in and spawn, then pull out. that’s it. It’s done.  That isn’t true. They don’t all spawn all at one time and they don’t all spawn in the same place. The first ones get through and more move in. If they didn’t, we’d catch them all around the bank and there wouldn’t be any left.

After the spawn – When they come off the spawn, they pull back into the sloughs or stump flats in deeper water around small feeder creeks. Sometimes some of the fish are doing that while others are still moving in. That’s where they go and they basically stay there through the summer and into the fall. That water is usually in the 12-18 foot range. They get scattered out, but they will hold on tops, too. They are hard to find, but if you can find them, you can catch them.

Fall – As it starts to cool down, the fish will move out of the sloughs and head for the river channel. They migrate down the secondary creek and slough channels. While they are on the move, they are hard to locate, but they will still bite. They don’t go into the deepest water, but they hold on the top part of the edge of the channel, or the outside drop of the channel. They’ll hold there through October on the outside rise of the channel bank. The timing of this depends on how much the weather cools and how fast it cools the water.

Winter – When it gets cold, the crappie  head out to the deeper water in the main creek channels. This water can be 20-40 feet deep. Crappie are not bottom feeders, so even though they are in water this deep, they do not stay near the bottom. They suspend. Sometimes they are 10-12 feet deep. Sometimes they are 15-20 feet deep. But they’ll hold there in that general pattern until the water starts warming and the cycle begins all over  as spring approaches.

To get in touch with Steve for more information or to book a trip, call 318-245-6398 or email him at
lacrappieman@aol.com

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