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Lake life

New Year’s Catching Up

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After a few days off, today we are “catching up”. No pun intended. Well, maybe.

We’ll start with a scary picture from the deer woods of northeastern Union Parish around Marion. The shot above was taken off the Huttig Highway the Sunday afternoon after Christmas. Not what you want to see anytime, anywhere. Fortunately, it did not cause much severe damage.

With the holidays and hunting seasons and all kinds of other things going on, you may have missed the fact that Lake D’Arbonne has been up almost three feet the past week. It crested around 82.6 feet and is inching back down now. Of course, if you rode by the Stowe Creek landing and saw little waves rolling across the parking lot or you saw the water lapping over Ramp Road, the high water was pretty apparent.

Considering the conditions, I think the DOTD did a pretty good job using the Tainter Gate to keep this from becoming a catastrophic event for some people. It got over some roads and a handful of low docks, but they can’t manage this lake to an exact level all the time. It’s my understanding they had to open the new gate to the full maximum to turn the water around this time. Use of the gate is managed to keep flooding to a minimum, but it also has to be done with care for a lot of reasons. One of those is managing the fisheries. A sudden fall this time of year can throw fish into a tailspin and affect the spring spawn.

If you are a river fishermen, you’ll also notice that the Ouachita is way up and it is not going down. There is no tainter gate on it. If the trend doesn’t change, it could be a problem early this spring.


Speaking of fish, there have been some really good catches of white perch the past few weeks. Okay, call them crappie, I don’t care. Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.45.20 PMFish have been deep for the most part, but some good ones headed up in 10-12 feet water as well before the latest cold snap. They probably thought it was getting time to prepare to spawn.

Lake D’Arbonne’s crappie fishing continued to gain notoriety as a group of local fishermen have also established a new Facebook page, Lake D’Arbonne Crappie Report, where local fishermen can share their catches and fishing information.

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If you fish this time of year, make sure you take proper precautions to be safe. Stay warm and stay out of the water at all costs. Always let someone know where you are doing — whether hunting or fishing — in case you do need help.


And speaking of crappie, the big Crappie Masters Louisiana Championship isn’t far away.

This year is the first ever Louisiana State Championship and that should bring in more people from around Louisiana and crappie country everywhere. Mark your calendar and plan on attending the weigh in, which is scheduled for the new D’Arbonne Pointe Resort on the lake. And for you fishermen planning on attending, check out their cabins and the 32  full-service RV sites,  a protected wood deck around the Pointe to pull your boat up to, gas on the lake and you’ll be right in the center of the action. Of course, we’ll cover all the action on lakedarbonnelife.com

cm logo“We are excited to be coming back to D’Arbonne again,” said Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine. “We had a great one-day tournament here last year. With this one being two days and only on Lake D’Arbonne and being the state championship, it will only be bigger and better.”

Vallentine also wants to make one thing perfectly clear:

“We have guys who travel around the country fishing in our tournaments, but most of the time, it is the local guys who usually win the big prizes in our events,” Vallentine said. “We want people in northeast Louisiana to understand that this is for everybody. Local fishermen are certainly welcome and are expected to make a good showing in our events.”

The fact is, 60% of the Crappie Masters tournaments are won by locals. Just like the tournament was here last year. Click here for more info:


You can get entry information online, or at many local businesses, including Farmerville’s new sporting goods store now, Taterbugs. When you are downtown, check them out.




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