How about a three-part series of top crappie fishing tips from lakedarbonnelife.com and a fellow named “Nick” for Christmas…
Last of a 3 part series
If you’ve ever crappie fished on Lake D’Arbonne in the winter, you understand this one.
“I honestly believe that if you could get 10 volunteers to go fish out at daylight in seven feet of water over on the flat by Ramp Road in the same spot that by 8 a.m., there would be 30 boats there. Maybe more,” Nick said. “There probably isn’t a crappie on the flat and nobody would even have to catch a fish. But it would happen.”
One of the most popular ways to locate crappie in the winter seems to be going to fish where everybody else fishes. What happens is that three boats may start out at the Bridge on Hwy. 33. Three more people ride over the bridge heading to the ramp and see them, so they go there, too. Pretty soon 10 more boats have eased up there and before you know it, 30 boats are fishing within shouting distance of each other. There may not have been but one or two fish caught. Nick says it’s just human nature.
“There’s nothing wrong with that,”he says. “I’ve done it. Sometimes the fish are biting
good in a spot like that and you don’t have to go anywhere else. But to catch crappie consistently, you’ve got to develop confidence to go away from the crowd and try different spots.”
The three bridges are D’Arbonne are winter crappie magnets…and angler magnets. Lots of fish get caught around there. But Nick says there are lots, lots, lots more out there.
“If you can, I’d recommend taking a day, put your boat in the water and commit to not fish where you normally fish. Go where nobody else is fishing. Look for fish and fish new spots. Build up a little confidence that you can find them. then you can catch them from one end of the lake to the other in the same type and depth water.
“I firmly believe that from the dam up the big lake and as far up either arm of the creeks that you can go in the channel, you can find shad and you can find fish,” he continues. Wherever there are baitfish, there are big fish feeding on them. I firmly believe that 90 percent of the crappie in Lake D’Arbonne may never see a fisherman’s bait in the wintertime.”
One reason some areas of the lake don’t get hit hard is because of the wind, especially on the big lake, Nick says. The other is just habit. People go where they’ve caught fish and where they’ve seen others catch fish.
And now, for perhaps the most important Christmas tip that Nick will put in your stocking: How do you pick the right bait?
“There are as many opinions on this as there are lures, but I firmly believe both jigs and shiners work equally well. The key is what do you have confidence in?”, he says. “If you are confident in a certain jig, you’ll catch fish on it. If you are confident in shiners, you’ll catch fish on them. The key is dropping the bait in front of the fish. Unless something has shut off the bite, they’ll hit it. But whether you catch them or not often depends on your confidence level. Seriously. It’s normally this simple: Whatever you have confidence in, that’s the best bait.”
Nick does have favorites. When it’s bright and sunny, he loves Monkey Milk and Patriot Bobby Garland lures. When it’s cloudy, or early, he likes Cajun Cricket and Bluegrass. He doesn’t think color is as key as some people say, because he catches just as many fish on shiners. And they are all the same color.
He does have one tip for fishing shiners. Size matters. Crappie grow as the winter progresses. So do baitfish. So he fishes with small shiners early in the winter and builds up to the biggest ones he can find by February.
NOTE: Nick is owner and operator of D’Arbonne Lake Guide Service. You can call the 28-year-old expert fisherman at 318-243-8646 to book a trip and learn even more about catching crappie.