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Lake life

Time to get your Crappie on!

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The next few days, the Lake D’Arbonne version of “where the rubber meets the road” turns into “where the crappie bait meets the water“.  It’s time to get your crappie on…and get the net.

The American Crappie Trail contestants have been practicing all week. Thursday night they have their rules meeting and Friday morning, they hit the water. Boats will be checked out and leave D’Arbonne Point with fishing hours set from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Anglers must be in the weigh-in line by 4:30 p.m. The Weigh-in is open to the public. If you are a fishermen, you should be there and check it out!

Fish caught in the tournament will be weighed alive, placed in a special ACT Live Release Boat and to be put back in the lake.

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Want a fishing report?

Well, don’t ask one of the 106 fishermen in the event anything. They are as tight-lipped as a three pound crappie after a big cold front. Also, one of the rules on the ACT circuit is that tournament fishermen can’t solicit information from anglers who are not in the tournament.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.38.32 AMHowever, they can get information that is available to the public through social media and such. So since we officially “social media”, I’m going ahead and tell you what I know.

Tuesday was a great day for fishing. Wednesday morning was good, but the wind drove most fishermen off the water or up in the coves by noon. The crappie were hitting jigs and shiners and were being caught in a variety of ways. If you are on the lake this week during the tournament, you will probably see a variety of techniques being used. Double minnow rigs seem to be working well in 6-10 feet of water. And in direct contrast, the long liners (trolling lures behind the boat) are also reporting success on jigs in 8-14 feet of water, especially along ridges and submerged creeks. Other multi-pole techniques are also working — like spider rigging. Spider riggers have been working everywhere from the three-feet of water in Stowe Creek to the 10-12 foot deep flats up Corney. We’ve witnessed several good fish being caught in deeper that expected water on shiners being pushed slowly with set poles rigs.

Want more? There are even still some fish on the trees at times, although the hot spawning action appears to be over for the most part. Some females with eggs are still being caught. In other words, it’s that time of year when fishermen can catch fish just about any way they want in a variety of types of water. Concentrations of good crappie — now that’s another matter. Hopefully we’ll get some details of how and what type of water the winners catch them in AFTER the tournament!

We’ve also witnessed that there are not as many two pound plus fish as there would have been three weeks ago before the spawn, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t take a 2.2 or 2.3 pounder to win big fish.

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The American Crappie Trail is only in it’s first year, but it has generated a huge amount of media interest. Thursday morning there will be a media fish-off from daylight until 9:30 a.m. at D’Arbonne Pointe, site of the regular tournament weigh-in Friday and Saturday. They’ll follow the event with an early lunch at Sevin’s Restaurant. Hopefully the bad weather will blow through before then so they can hit the water.

Several media representatives and special guests will be fishing with tournament teams for the event.

Two of those fishing with visiting pros will be Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman, Jr., and Farmerville Gazette Editor Mark Rainwater.

  • Others will be:
    – Tim Huffman, editor for Crappie Now magazine from Missouri
    – Ron Wong, national freelance fishing writer from Memphis
    – Cajun Phil Broussard, TV show host from Lake Charles
    – Ronny Walker, Mayor of Ruston
    – Travis Napper, Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau
    – Charles & Vicki Sablatura, owners of Rockport Rattlers lure company

The public is invited and encouraged to come out watch the weigh-in Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. at D’Arbonne Pointe.

Check back here on lakedarbonnelife.com in the next week for the results of all the activities.

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There are 54 boats in the tournament for this weekend. Co-Founder Matt Morgan said members of six additional teams contacted him this week about getting into the event after the Sunday night deadline and he had to say no.

“Rules are rules and we did our best to publicize the deadline for the tournament and all our other rules,” he said. “I hate to turn anyone down, but as I said, rules are rules and we are going to stick by them. There is a solid reason for every rule we have on the American Crappie Trail.”

And finally, how about a weather report. Here’s what weatherunderground.com says we have to look forward to for the tournament. Looks like the conditions for the two days of touranment competition will be great!

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And, if you want to know more about ACT, here’s a neat place to look. It’s the first edition of the American Crappie Trail Online Magazine:




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