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Lake life

Bussey crappie breaks 3-pound mark

Last fall, a bunch of veteran crappie fishermen were worried about the “new” Bussey and where the crappie were. After it was opened last summer, crappie were hard to find on up though the end of the year. But the cold weather brought the crappie out into the deeper water and fishing pressure on the lake has been pretty high the past couple of weeks. And the bite has been good.

One of the folks waiting to see just what Bussey could produce was former resident James Morgan. Well, last Saturday on his first serious fishing trip back to the lake, he found out. He landed a 3.32 pound black crappie that will likely end up in the record books as the sixth largest ever caught in the state of Louisiana.

He was just happy to be there fishing. And he was rewarded beyond his own expectation. He flipped a Jimmy Watt black and chartreuse jig with a pink head way back up in the brush and pulled out the 3.32 pound black crappie on his 11-foot Ozark Rod armed with a Martin fly reel. The fish will rank No. 6 in the Louisiana State Fish Records. He weighed it on certified scales at K&M Coffee, Corks and Camo in Farmerville. The fish probably would likely have weighed a couple ounces more had he been able to weigh it sooner.

As for Bussey, it was drained for so long that the lake bottom grew up in bushes and small trees and that is great for fishing. At 2,200 acres, it isn’t a large lake and when fishing pressure gets too heavy on the fish in certain areas, they will move out of the deeper holes and scatter in that brush. This was obviously a fish that had been in there for five to seven years and wasn’t one of the fish restocked in the last couple of years.

Last summer anglers were stunned that it gave up two 10-pound plus bass and several more in the nine pound range.

“My hope is that people will be responsible in managing the fishery in this lake and help it get back to the good old days where there are plenty of fish to catch for sport and for eating. Everybody plays a role in that by fishing and harvesting responsibly, especially in these first few years. Some of the popular spots in the lake is like playing bumper boats right now because they get crowded. But there are fish in other areas. You just have to spend some time looking and fishing.”

Here’s something that some other lakes — like D’Arbonne — might want to pay attention to in light of growing pressure on crappie populations and the advent of modern underwater technology. The LDWF has instituted special fishing regulations for the lake. The regulations for crappie are 25 daily with a 10-inch minimum length limit. All fishing gears other than rod-n-reel or cane pole are prohibited. If other lakes don’t keep up with the times, they’ll probably never see catches like this.

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