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Lake life

D’Arbonne Drawdown 2016


We aren’t even close to the end of 2016 and after this year if there is anybody in Louisiana that still thinks man can control the water, I just don’t know what to say to you. While half of south Louisiana tries to shed flood waters, folks around Lake D’Arbonne are getting ready to shed five feet of lake water.

On September 6th, the tainter gate on Lake D’Arbonne will be opened to try and draw the lake down five feet and hold it at that level though Nov. 15th. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will man the gates and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will monitor the drawdown.

All I got to say is, “Good Luck Fellas!”

Seriously, barring any regular major rains (good luck there, too), the lake will be taken down fairly quickly to five feet below pool stage. It is not supposed to go any lower than that this year. The LDWF release said the lake could go down as much as four inches a day after the gate is opened. Thank goodness for the new tainter gate. The old spillway gates were old and unreliable and hard to control. A five-foot drawdown could easily turn into a ten foot drawdown if we still had to depend on them. I’m not even sure how many of the old gates still work.

I know that the DOTD knows not to pull the lake down too quickly because that could damage seawalls and other structures on people’s property. I’m sure they will keep a close eye on that. I hope they are reading this, too.

There is no rush to get the lake down, but there is a need for it this year. Many people have repairs to make after this spring’s flooding. There is also some pesky giant Salvinia in the lake above the Hwy. 2 bridge up Corney and it needs to be killed, according to LDWF biologist Ryan Daniels, who is in charge of fisheries on the lake. The LDWF has been spraying it for several weeks now and hopefully the combination of that action and the drawdown will kill it. Salvinia can choke out shallow water areas in lakes.


This old stump was last seen by me in 2012

And I’ve not been able to find an old stump where I caught lots of crappie in the spring. I wonder if it is still there? I will know about five feet from now…

Ironically, the usually annoying hydrilla that hits many areas of the lake is not that bad this year. Hydrilla control is one of the main reasons for drawdowns every four years.
Once again, controlling Mother Nature is a worthy pursuit. So is catching falling stars.

The lake will be open for fishing throughout the drawdown and fishing limits will remain the same. There is no biological data to indicate anything else needs to be done, Daniels said. The lake will be brought up — let’s say plans to be brought back up — by the first of the year so it won’t affect spring spawns. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature, you know.

For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Ryan Daniel in the LDWF Monroe office at (318) 343-4044, or one of our Lake Commission members.



4 thoughts on “D’Arbonne Drawdown 2016

  1. I fished D’arbonne a lot 20 years ago when I lived in El Dorado. I now live about 3 hours away and want to make a fishing trip during the drawdown, but would like some confirmation I can get a 20′ bass boat in/out of the ramp at Jake’s or the spillway…any advice appreciated.

    Posted by Chuck Campbell | November 8, 2016, 12:368:41 pm
  2. Good question. The big ramp at the spillway, ramp road and Jake’s and the Hwy. 2 ramp should be accessible. The main issue is backing OFF the end of the ramp and not having enough horsepower to get back up over the “hump”. That should not happen at five feet. “Accessible” will also depend on what type of boat and pull vehicle when it gets to five feet or if it goes a little past five feet. All that to say, “Not sure — we will just have to wait and see and try them CAREFULLY”…. Should I run for office?

    Posted by darbone1 | August 22, 2016, 12:3611:08 am
  3. What boat ramps will be accessible once the lake has dropped 5′?

    Posted by Kirk Townsend | August 22, 2016, 12:3612:23 am
  4. Ahhh! Data, (a plural noun) I wonder what data do exist regarding fisheries in Lake D’Arbonne. It seems that most data or, more importantly, most compilations of and conclusions drawn from data are never seen by us, the public. This is not at all unique to the LDWF, but this is OUR Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. I would love to see annual reports on the conditions of our area lakes and rivers regarding game fish species. News releases in the various media could direct us to data/reports/findings regarding our fisheries.

    Posted by Ray Jones | August 22, 2016, 12:3612:21 am

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