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Lake life

Crappie USA headed our way

America’s oldest and largest professional crappie tournament organization, Crappie USA, is coming back to Lake D’Arbonne for a one-day Qualifying Event on March 27.

Most of today’s crappie fishermen won’t even remember it, but about 20 years ago, Crappie USA came to Lake D’Arbonne back before crappie tournaments were cool. They went by the name “Crappiethon”.

But times have changed. And so has crappie fishing. And so has Crappie USA. It’s Qualifying tournaments offer a guaranteed payout of $10,000; it’s Regional tournaments guarantee $25,000 and it goes up significantly as the number of teams increases. Crappie USA also has a unique format offering amateur and pro divisions with payouts in both.

There’s more. The D’Arbonne Qualifier is one of four events in the Crappie USA Region 4 with the three other qualifiers on Lake of the Ozarks, Mo.; Truman Lake, Mo.’ and Milford Lake Kansas. That’s a long trip for a one-day crappie event, but there’s also a special bonus for area fishermen that qualify for the Regionals through one or more of these events. That Regional Championship tournament will be held June 25-26 back in northeast Louisiana on the Ouachita River out of Monroe-West Monroe.

For more information about Crappie USA check out their webpage at https://www.crappieusa.com/ or follow them on Facebook or view the video below.

“We are certainly glad to be getting back to Lake D’Arbonne and putting on another fine tournament for the crappie anglers there,” said Darrell Van Vactor, Operations Manager for the group. “Whether you just want to fish the one tournament or try and make the Regionals, it is a fun setup and we are definitely a family oriented tournament. We also have prizes for the top male/female team and the top adult/youth team.

Entry fee is $175 per team in the amateur event and $300 per team in the pro division. The pro division requires no special qualifications, it just ups the ante for fishermen who are more confident they can catch a big limit. Prize money is divided between the two groups based on total numbers of entries. As an example, if there are 25 boats in each division, the pro payout would be around $3,000; $2,500 and $1,500 for the top three places and in the amateur division around $2,000; $750 and $500 for the top three spots. Those amounts go up as the number of entries go up. You do also have to be a member of Crappie USA to fish the events.

“We also have a kids fishing event on Saturday morning while all the big guns are out on the lake competing. All you have to do is show up with your rod and reel and fish bait and we give lots of prizes for the kids that catch the most fish. It doesn’t matter what kind you catch in the kids event. And we don’t weigh them. We just count up the fish eyes and divide by two and we’ve got the winners.”

Actually, every kid is a winner, he says. “All the entrants get tackle prizes and are entered into drawings for scholarship money at the end of the season.

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