There are about as many good crappie lakes in America than there are colors, styles, shapes and sizes of crappie jigs on the market today.
So how did the brand new national American Crappie Trail end up picking Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville for one of it’s March 31-April 1 tournament, one of five regular season events this year?
Two simple reasons.
“First, it is a premier crappie fishery,” says ACT Co-Founder Matt Morgan. “It has quality fish. It has numbers of fish and it was handpicked by me as we put this tour together. For a long time, not that many people knew about D’Arbonne, but in the last five or six years, it has become well known. It’s the kind of lake that people like to travel to because they know they have the chance to catch fish.”
And the second reason?
“Local support is vital,” Morgan says. “This community gets it. That’s a big deal. You have people who are willing to step up and help. You have great coverage of what’s going on at the lake. It takes community support to make these events work. That is just about as important as being able to catch quality fish.”
Here’s this week’s fishing tip from me: We need to all do everything we can to make these folks successful here because the long-term benefit is huge. From the tournament organizers to the fishermen to their families, let’s put our best foot forward! There will also be a group of tour sponsors and outdoor writers that follow the trail here, too. Farmerville benefits from this. Union Parish benefits from this. Lincoln Parish benefits from this. In fact, our whole area benefits from it economically and in other ways most folks here can’t even imagine.
The ACT trail is new and with one tournament in the livewell already, they are geared up to go. Morgan has put together a $100,000 trailer that’s already in place at D’Arbonne Pointe to host the weigh-ins and publicize the tour. They have also designed a Release Boat, which will hold the fish that are caught in oxygenated tanks and then the fish will be released back into the water. The Union Parish Tourist Commission, our local Union chamber, the Lincoln tourism folks, and countless individuals have all worked together to get this event here.
“Perception is everything and as we grow, it will be even more important,” he says. “Our fish will be brought to the weigh-in in water-filled bags. They will be kept in water until we weigh them and they will be put back in the lake alive as soon as possible. That is important to us.”
One hot item of discussion about the new trail is it’s 10 day off limits period before official practice and a rule against tournament fishermen seeking input and information from those NOT fishing the tournaments. It’s a change from most of these type events, but in my mind it is a good one because it does level the playing field and encourage more traveling anglers to make this trip. That’s good economically and for the tournaments.
Even though some local fishermen along the tour kind of look like these two guys:
For more information on the American Crappie Trail, go to http://www.americancrappietrail.com/
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ONE MORE THING:
If you aren’t fishing on April 1, here’s a good thing to do to help the community and make yourself feel proud of yourself. Sign up on March 23 and take part on April 1. Then come on out to the weigh-in and have a good time!