you're reading...
Lake life

Tupelo worms

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.14.14 AM

Those are trees in Cheniere Lake in West Monroe. They aren’t dead. They are just naked….find out more below…

Since Mike Wood has retired from the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, he hasn’t let many days go by that he wasn’t back in the outdoors — hunting, fishing, or helping manage some outdoor project. He serves on the Board of the Ronald McDonald Big Bass tournament and other worthwile groups. He even has a fisheries consulting business.
One of the group’s that is fortunate to have him is the Cheniere Lake Advisory  Commission. Cheniere Lake took a direct hit from last year’s spring flooding when the waters almost destroyed the lake’s spillway and part of the road that connects it on both sides.  It led the draining the swamp during repairs. Mike keeps a close eye on the lake during the drawdown, is helping with plans to restore the lake better than it was before and has even hauled his kayak out across a mile of mud flats to fish in the middle of what’s left of the reservoir. The lake is six feet low now.
Recently on a flyover of the lake, Mike was alarmed to see dozens of acres of what appeared to be dead timber. But upon closer inspection, he found something different.
“The timber isn’t dead,” Wood said. “It’s just that all the leaves have been eaten away by what I’ve always known as tupelo worms (officially called Forest Tent worms).  Until now, I didn’t realize how large the Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.14.26 AMeat-out areas could be.  Of course, the bream get nice and fat during these jubilees.  In short order, the leaves sprout back and the trees are just fine.”

My first reaction was that we’ve seen a lot of weird things in the outdoors this year. The fish didn’t bite like they were supposed to or come into some areas they were supposed to. Even in the woods, the deer hunting as “off” almost everywhere. In the meantime, nuisance critters like possums and coons and wild hogs and, yes, da Bears, seemed to be everywhere. It’s weird.

My second reaction was man, that’s a lot of good bream bait going to waste!

I think all that is weather related. I don’t think it’s global warming. I think it’s something called “Mother Nature”.  And while we can work to help manage her offerings, we’ve found out over and over we can’t control her. So we have floods, droughts, deer scared of the daylight, walleye in Bayou D’Arbonne and naked tupelo gum trees.

Wood was relieved that the trees weren’t dying for sure. But Cheniere could use a few less trees. If it was a cypress brake, it would be one thing. But the lake has so many trees that the dense foliage for years has caused an unhealthy organic “muck” on the bottom of the lake that disrupts the reproduction of fish. It also leaves the lake as a prime candidate for being overtaken by noxious aquatic vegetation like giant salvinia.

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is going to allow some timber to be thinned for the lake from the banks of the swamp throughout parts of the park area. A timber thinning project could improve lake accessibility and also reduce the accumulation of leaves and aquatic growth on the lake bottom.  There are acres of the lake that are not accessible because they are so densely overpopulated.  The thinning of timber along the banks of the lake could add regular wave action, which keeps giant salvinia from taking over. To accomplish this the lake will have to be drawn down an additional three feet, keeping in nine feet low for up to a year. That will effectively drain it. Some people have expressed concern about thinning the timber, but knowing people like Mike are watching over it, I think it will be a great improvement.

The bad news is that Cheniere won’t be available for fishing, much like Bussey Brake has not been for two years while it is revamped. The good news is that in a couple of years, this fish-crazy region will have what amounts to two fantastic “new” fishing lakes in Cheniere and Bussey.

If you’ve got any fisheries questions, feel free to contact Mike at mikewoodservices@gmail.com

* * * * * *

* * * *

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is almost worse than an empty lake. Here’s a look at Lake Bistineau near Minden from just a few weeks ago. Three thousand acres of salvinia are covering the lake. It’s impassible. It’s unfishable. And the same thing could happen to Cheniere and other small lakes, tree-filled shallow lakes  with no wave action if preventative measures aren’t taken.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.26.20 AM




No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shop Local. Bank Local. Marion State Bank


Bastrop – Morehouse Chamber

Benoit Ford North

Dusty Gates, Union Parish Sheriff

BnM Fishing

%d bloggers like this: