I am proud to report that there is unprecedented and newfound interest in the last 18 months to help our area realize the true benefits of beautiful Lake D’Arbonne.
The latest came to light in recent weeks as a result of discussions related to the first ever professional Crappie Masters tournament in Louisiana. The discussion started on crappie.com and I’m glad to help spread that discussion with a goal of getting the problem smoothed out.
But first, in case you didn’t know, it is official: Crappie Masters will be back next year. That’s great news. Expect other major crappie tournament interest in the lake as well. And while that means extra fishermen on the lake at times, it won’t hurt the lake and it is great to help develop this community and its businesses. These are good people as well as good fishermen! That’s my two cents worth.
But the rest of this story isn’t as good news. As I said earlier, attention to it came a few weeks back and has been heightened by letters and contacts with several of our state and local elected officials. It’s about the important link between fishermen and the lake: boat ramps, ramp parking lots and the roads connected to them. The Stowe Creek ramp is full of bumps and potholes and muddy parking spots. Although not near as bad, so is the one most of us still call the public ramp at “Jake’s”. The small ramp at Terrell Island is in rough shape, too. In fact, they could all use a little attention. I’ve fished all around the country and I have to say, they don’t stack up with others on popular lakes. Some of the potholes at Stowe seem big enough to fill with water and stock fish in (Okay, maybe that’s stretching the truth a bit, even for a fisherman. But they are bad).
It’s bad enough when a guy backs down and lowers a 12-foot aluminum boat out of the back of the truck, but when you back a big $35,000 fishing rig through the holey maze and hear the axle scrape concrete or hit a hole and hear a tire pop, it becomes a problem.
I and many others have probably never said anything about it because in Louisiana, we have become as accustomed to potholes as we have to mosquitoes and high water. And even though access roads and parking lots are in terrible shape, we’ve just come to accept them and are glad we have concrete to back our rigs down into the lake because of the great fishing.
That isn’t good enough anymore. It’s one thing when we “locals” just put up with it. But when major tourism dollars are on the line, well… Unfortunately, our newfound “awareness” of this problem and the upcoming effort to get it fixed come at a really bad time. The Louisiana state budget is so far in the red that it glows in the dark. Our state elected officials have their backs to the wall. But there’s always money somewhere. To reach a solution will take creative and cooperative efforts, but I’m sure our leaders are up to it. Two more cents…. Frankly, I’d rather see money go to fix the ramps we’ve got NOW than to take on new projects, even the proposed new mega-ramp plans for a year. I know that opinion may be about as popular as a backlash on your first cast of the morning, but that’s how I feel.
We’ll share some of the things going on around this issue and some more folks opinions in the next few days. I’ve always heard the squeaky wheel is the one that gets greased. Or in this case, hopefully it will be the squeaky pothole that gets filled in… It’s time to squeak.
Tomorrow: Anglers speak out….