About three weeks ago, Beverly Brister caught a 12 pound bass out of her kayak on Lake D’Arbonne. More than 10,000 people clicked on this website and the corresponding Facebook page, it’s shares and other news sources to read about it. It became quite a famous fish.
Now Bayou D’Arbonne has produced a famous fish, not nearly as big but even more unique. When 85-year-old Elvin Dismuke caught the fish above, his son Greg brought it to TaterBugs for a photo. One of the biggest fish discussion of the year evolved. What kind of fish is it?
A walleye, of course! It must be a walleye. In D’Arbonne?
You may not know this, but according to the 1972 edition of the LDWF Major Lakes of
Louisiana booklet, “an experimental stocking of 3.6 million walleye fry and 91,454 walleye fingerlings from Nebraska were placed in the newly formed Lake D’Arbonne” during a five year period. But this walleye couldn’t be from that stocking. That experiment failed in about a decade as the fish slowly disappeared mainly due to high water temperatures in the summer that walleye just can’t survive in, biologically speaking.
At the second glance, I thought (and fisheries expert Mike Wood agreed), it must be a sauger. Saugers are distant cousins of the walleye and are actual native to this area, especially in rivers with deep channel habitats and good current. It must be a sauger. It’s not totally unusual to see one of them in this region’s river systems.
But wait, there is also a fish called the Saugeye. No kidding. Okay, this must not be a saugeye. Let’s not even go there.
Editor’s Pause: You know, one of the things I love about living in a community like Farmerville on a lake like D’Arbonne is that a “what kind of fish is this” story can be front page news. Go ahead and laugh. It’s funny. But it’s nice, too.
Okay, the suspense is killing you, isn’t it. This fish is a walleye. Really. And it was caught on a red worm.
LDWF biologist Ryan Daniels made the call first, and after looking at additional photos, Mike Wood agreed. So did I and almost everybody else except CNN. They think it’s some sort of Russian spy fish, maybe a Caspain tyulka. But that’s beside the point. It’s a walleye. The tell-tail (tail, not “tale”) signs are these quick facts: The tail of a walleye is white on the lower fin. A sauger does not have that.The dorsal fin (spiny fin on top of the fish) on a sauger has black spots. A walleye does not, and the pieces of skin in between the last 2 spines are solid black. Saugers are typically smaller than walleye. A 16 inch sauger is considered big. A mature sauger is “blotchy” with shades of black. Walleyes are more consistent and “gold”, not “blotchy”.
The fish? It is a walleye. For true. A Union Parish Walleye.
How did it get here? Speculation is that it somehow washed out of a lake in Arkansas during the floods last spring and found it’s way down through the lake or up the river and ended up in Bayou D’Arbonne. Arkansas has limited walleye fishing waters. The ArKansas state record walleye is 22 pounds, 11 ounces from Greers Ferry Lake. Bull Shoals Lake, Greers Ferry Lake and Lake Ouachita are the best bets for a nice stringer of walleye in Arkansas, in case you are interested.
But wait. Could this fish be from Nebraska? Part of a secret school of walleye that somehow adapted to warmer water, hiding out for 50 years in a deep, cool hole in the back of Lake Drain Slough like some Sasquatch-like fish species? Probably not. I’m going with the flood story. Either way, we are at the end of my story. Boy, I met you are relieved.
Thanks to the Dismukes for sharing this unique fish, and the story, and for providing a bright spot in an otherwise dreary, rainy day on the lake. Go ahead. Start clicking. Start sharing. Let’s give this fish and these fishermen their due!
This is a Great Story. I remember when they opened Lake D’Arbonne and did not know that Walleye were once put in the Lake.
I caught one of the Walleye Last Year — it was about 6 inches long. I did not take any photos and considered it too small to keep and returned it to the lake