Have you ever seen those day-after-Thanksgiving pictures of droves of crazy shoppers pushing and shoving in line outside J.C. Penney anxiously waiting for the doors to open so they can bust in on the big Black Friday sales? Well, they aren’t lined up at the boat ramps, but that is kind of what the fishermen feel like right now waiting on the crappie to bite. But the fish just aren’t open for business for the most part just yet.
I always pose those “what is the meaning of life” questions like this to my friend, Mike Wood, head of inland fisheries for Louisiana and an avid fan of Lake D’Arbonne. Okay, Mike, why aren’t the fish biting?
“Sorry Kinny. I have to admit that I just don’t know. I think speculation concerning weather and water influences are on the right track,” he said. “I have no reason at all to believe that the D’Arbonne crappie population is down. So… it’s reasonable to assume to the fish will start biting again before too long.”
Relax folks. I know the weather’s pretty, but it’s just January. It may snow again around here before the fish start biting. There are a few brave souls toughing it out and catching a mess of fish, but for the most part, things are slow. That’s all I know. I’ve talked to a lot of fishermen and that’s the best fishing report I can get. I can tell you this. Until the fish start biting up the creeks, you can bet it’s a couple of weeks before anything happens on the big lake. Some are wondering if the quick rise recently, then opening the tainter gates plus water pouring over the spillway let so much water out so fast, it brought muddy water down quicker and might have put the fish in “pause” mode. I don’t know. The water is clearing and warming some, so good fishing is coming. It just won’t be as early as last year. Plus, one of my fishing friends said, “every crappie in the lake from three inches to three pounds saw at least 200 jigs of all shapes and sizes last year. They may be a little more wary this year.” I’m no expert on crappie memory, so I’ll just pass that along without comment. I’ve also heard that right now if you fish three or four hours and catch three or four good keepers on most area waters, you’ve done good. I do feel confident that last night’s cold front won’t make things any better for a few days.
Here on D’Arbonne, there are some folks catching nice catfish on yo-yo’s and a few white perch. Remember to follow the new yo-yo regulations on the lake. you cannot attach a yo-yo to anything but a tree limb or your own boat dock for the most part. Last year enforcement folks pretty well let the new regs slide, but don’t look to get so lucky this year. Like it or not, it’s the law, and it is the best thing for the lake in my opinion because some of the giant yo-yo fields of plastic pipe were frankly taking away from the beauty of the lake. And when the white poles fall and leave a welding rod stuck in a stump for people to tear their boat up on, that just isn’t right.
Back to the fishing report. A handful of nice bass have been caught on lakes like Poverty Point and Caney Lake. Poverty isn’t producing any white perch to speak of, but Caney has started to give up some fish. Most are in the deeper water around 30 feet deep. At Lake Claiborne, a few crappie are being caught, but very few. Some bass are starting to be caught around the holding areas near shallow water, like deep piers and flats.
The Ouachita River usually produces some good white perch this time of year, but it’s off, too. River lakes are giving up some, but you have to work long and hard to get them. Same with Black Bayou and Cheniere Lake.
My best advice: Take this time to catch up on your honey-do list, make sure your gear is in order and hang on until Mother Nature decides to open the doors.