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Lake life

Cold weather keys crappie itch

Ghost finds a duck and a good spot to fish for crappie

Cold weather. It makes deer hunters think about big bucks. It makes duck hunters look to the northern skies to see if they can see — or hear — the first few honks of geese headed south, hopefully to be followed soon by migrating ducks.

But around Lake D’Arbonne Country, it makes crappie anglers get the itch to start back after their favorite foe – Mr. Slab. It hasn’t been but a couple of weeks since it was 100 degrees around here. And with the temps dipping to near 30 this morning, it’s going to be sending shad in search of deeper water – like the channels of Lake D’Arbonne. And not too far behind, just like with the geese and the ducks, the crappie will go also.

There is a misnomer among some fishermen that crappie go deep in the winter to get away from the colder shallow waters. Truth is, crappie don’t care about water temperature. They are like us. They care about where the food is. And that’s where they go. Late fall and winter is also when they start getting the urge to fatten up for the spawn, and that’s a good thing for fishermen.

One angler who has been catching a lot of fish the past couple of weeks and who looks forward to it even getting better is Kenny ( with an “e” ) Kavanaugh. Most folks know Kenny and his wife, Marcy, because of the great boost they have been to the lake with K&M Coffee, Corks and Camo in Farmerville. But Kenny is also a crappie fisherman.

“I’ll be honest, the last two weeks has been some of the best fishing we’ve seen on D’Arbonne in a while and the cold weather is just going to make it better,” he said. “I already see people spider rigging up and down the channel and they are catching fish. Fish are scattered. Some are around the structure and some are just out in the middle of nowhere.”

Another piece of truth, Kenny has help in finding fish. His dog, Ghost, won’t let him leave the dock without him. And it could be ghost that’s putting Kenny on the fish. Ghost is named that because he’s solid white, but if you know Kenny’s favorite fishing bait, you might think different.

“Ghost is my favorite color of hair jig and that’s what I’m catching them on now,” he said. “This colder weather is going to push the bait and the fish toward the deeper water over the next couple of months and they’ll gather up better than they have been. We are even starting to see some bigger fish again. They’ve been scarce this summer. I don’t know, maybe they are laying up on the bottom to get away from the pressure, or just because that’s what they want to do. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Kenny does know how to explain one thing, though — the taste of fresh, fried crappie. Nothing beats it. But he encourages fishermen to keep what they need and turn back the ones they don’t, especially the big ones.

Be safe and drop by and see Kenny for the latest reports on the lake. And don’t give him a hard time about spelling his name wrong.

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