Lake D’Arbonne has been pretty impressive this spring with its multitude of 2 pound crappie. But we’ve got a ways to go to catch up with some of our neighboring Mississippi lake monsters.
Terry and Terra Stewart finished second in the recent Crappie Masters D’Arbonne event, where the “Wow” factor kicked in when it took 30 pounds to win the two-day event with 14 fish. Terry lives in Clinton, MS, but is originally from Monroe. His daughter Terra lives in Sterlington. This past Saturday they fished in the Magnolia State Crappie tournament on Lake Grenada. The Stewarts kicked “Wow” up several notches to “GADZOOKS” with a seven fish limit weighing 21.17 pounds, including a 3.83 pound thumper, big fish of the day.
Stewart told lakedarbonnelife.com that it wasn’t as easy as it might have looked. He had trouble finding big fish because the lake is up almost 20 feet and fish are scattered everywhere. In fact, after only catching two fish in practice Friday and two by mid-morning Saturday, he thought about loading up his boat and going home. But he tried one more spot and came up with the finishing touches on what ended up as a Magnolia Crappie Club record. The Magnolia Crappie Club is the largest and oldest state crappie fishing club in the country. They have promoted qualifying tournaments and a state championship every year across Mississippi since 1991.
Several Mississippi crappie lakes are aggressively managed by their state wildlife and fisheries and lake commissions. It should give the powers-that-be over D’Arbonne some food for thought, especially with the super advantage new electronics give anglers and our management efforts that seem stuck somewhere in the cane pole era of the 1980’s.
At Grenada, the per person creel limit is 15 crappie per person, not 50 like in Louisiana. And no matter how many people are in the boat, there is a 40-crappie-per-boat limit. Minimum length for keepers is 12 inches and anglers can use no more than four poles per person with no more than two lures per pole. I’m not saying that’s perfect for D’Arbonne, but I don’t think allowing 4 anglers in a boat to keep 200 fish in a day of any size (you know what they say, “if they have meat between the eyes, they’ll eat“) is necessarily the way to go any more, either. We can do better. It’s not about tournaments or just fishing for fun. It’s about resource management. Yes, that’s a real thing.