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Lake life

Just in the “Nick” of time


Nicholas Young with two post-spawn slabs

Nicholas Young figures there has never been a better time to put his angling skills to one of the hardest tests of fishing — being a guide on the lake he grew up on. Nicholas is a successful tournament angler for both bass and crappie. And even though he doesn’t have an absolute favorite among the two, he readily admits that crappie fishing is the hot ticket these days.

“D’Arbonne is just a fabulous lake,” he says. “It’s got big crappie and lots of medium and smaller fish. You won’t catch a three pounder here, but there are loads of pound and pound and a half fish. I fish a lot of lakes and I’d just as soon be here as anywhere.”

Nicholas is also taking advantage of the newfound attention that Lake D’Arbonne has received because of the American Crappie Trail and Crappie Masters professional tournaments here. It has put the lake in front of people all around the country and they are coming here to fish.

“A lot of people just don’t realize how valuable having those events is for this town and this lake,” he said. “These people who are willing to travel 300- 500 miles to go crappie fishing are gong to spend a lot of money and that affects our whole economy. I don’t see how anybody could not do everything they can to help these kind of events come to our lake.”

I was able to enjoy a trip last week with Nicholas and had about as much fun learning how to better use the Humminbird Helix electronics as I did catching fish. He not only put us on about 20 good crappie in a short time, but he also took time to explain where we were fishing, why the fish were there and what we were seeing on the depth finder.

Guided trips are about more than just catching fish. They are a unique learning opportunity for fishermen of any skill level. And just a fun break from whatever it is his clients are usually doing.

There are several good fishermen on the lake who occasionally take folks fishing, but Nicholas is trying to become the “go to” guy for regular trips and be available almost anytime. It’s time for D’Arbonne to have someone like that.

Guiding isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work and has it’s own pressures. Anyone who thinks it’s just going fishing all the time better think again.  It’s one thing to go fishing yourself and try and catch fish, but letting somebody else pay you to take them fishing takes it to a whole new level.

He admitted it would be worse to take somebody fishing on a guide trip and not catch many fish than it would be for him to be in a big tournament and not catch any fish.

It happens to the best of guides some of the time, but I don’t expect it to happen to Nicholas or many of his clients. In fact, I’d expect the exact opposite — a fun fishing trip with plenty of fish in the livewell to make it a good day.

“That’s my objective every trip and I work hard to make sure it happens,” says the 27-year-old Farmerville native who is expanding his guide service while balancing it with his “real job” working servicing clients in the paper industry.

He said many people who hire a guide are coming in here for a week-long trip and hire him to help them find out what the fish are hitting, what kind of water they are in and the like. That way they don’t have to spend a couple of days of their trip figuring everything out.

You can get in touch with Nicholas at 318-243-8646 or by email at  or you can also check out some of his catches on Facebook at D’Arbonne Lake Guide Service.


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