Crappie fishermen are usually pretty open with information and advice to help other’s catch fish. But times like the next two weekends, you can expect more good information out of CNN than crappie anglers, especially those with an interest in the Crappie Masters Qualifier on Lake D’Arbonne on February 28 & 29.
The weigh-in for the big pro event will be at Rhett’s Tails and Shells right on the west end of the Hwy. 33 bridge. Weigh-ins will begin about 3 p.m.
One person that spends most of his days on or within sight of the lake is Kenny Kavanaugh, who along with his wife, Marcy, operates K&M Coffee, Corks & Camo right off the lake in Farmerville. He’s expecting a big turnout and despite the crazy conditions, some really good catches next weekend on Lake D’Arbonne.
“The weather has kept a lot of people from fishing and of course, the lake was even closed a few days,” he said. “But people have been getting back out and the guys targeting big fish are having some great results. There are a lot of two pound fish being caught. I think with a pretty week next week, by tournament time, you will see some 14-pound stringers (7 fish limit).”
K&M will be ready for the practice fishermen this weekend and the regular fishermen as well. They will be opening on tournament days at 4 a.m. and will have plenty of minnows and other fishing tackle all stocked up. They regularly open at 5 a.m. and will also have breakfast sandwiches and other food items ready for fishermen when the doors open.
“We are well stocked with the large minnows for this weekend and will be for next week,” he said. “The tournament fishermen go for the big minnows. The bigger the bait, the bigger the fish is what they say.”
“This is a big deal for our community and the lake and we will do everything to cater to the visitors, just like we do to our regular customers,” he said. An example of that, he says, is that if an angler runs out of shiners during the event, if they’ll call the store, they will bring additional baits to the nearest boat ramp if anglers call the store (318-620-0102).
The lake has been coming down because of the aggressive use of the tainter gate system. Rains the past two days have it up slightly again, but it should not have any major rises unless there is an unforeseen event north of the lake in the watershed. We’ve attached the latest water level and weather prediction charts below. The water level should be steady and slightly falling at 82 feet (two feet above normal pool) by tournament time. High water from a huge area in south Arkansas and in Lake Claiborne upstream also drain through the lake. The weather will be a bit nippy, but after Monday, chances of rain are slim.
One customer who was in the store when we talked with Kenny is well known local fisherman and tournament pro Nick Young. Nick said his advice to visitors is simple.
“Get out of the current and get out of the muddy water if you can,” he says. “Crappie don’t like either one of those. “Look for the clearer areas and fish the current breaks where the baitfish tend to congregate in this type situation.”
Nick says his favorite bait this time of year is live minnows or artificials with black and chartreuse or pink and chartreuse, something the fish can see in murky water. In fact, he often adds a minnow even to his artificial jigs just to give it some more attraction.
Special Note: Rhett’s Tails and Shells is hosting the Weigh In for the upcoming Crappie Masters Tournament February 28th & 29th! CALLING ALL VENDORS RELATED TO FISHING!!! Anything from fishing gear, bait/tackle, shirts, lake decor!! Come set up for FREE!! Call 1-337-298-3161 for more information. There is no charge for vendors. And if the fish don’t bite, at least the anglers can munch on some tasty Louisiana food as they share fish stories!
For more information, check out Crappie Masters online at