If country superstar Toby Keith wrote a song about Poverty Point crappie fishing, he’d probably say, “It’s not as good as it once was, but it’s good once as it ever was.”

Most anglers that frequent the 2,785 acre Richland Parish reservoir will tell you fishing is tougher now, mainly because it was just so good. 

So many people caught so many fish, they aren’t stacked up like they were the first 10 years after the reservoir opened in April of 2003.

But in late September and October, the lake starts rewarding it’s faithful followers, said veteran Poverty angler Bob Mitcham of Monroe.

“This time of year, the main thing I look for is the deeper water and the brush tops,” he said. “The deeper water is mostly the old cutoff of Bayou Mason that formed the lake. Water is 25 to 30 feet deep and both sides are pretty much lined with brush. You can’t see it now, but you can find it on your electronics. If you are brand new to the lake, ask someone and they’ll point you in the right direction.”

Once Mitcham gets to the right area, he’ll usually fish between 10 and 17 feet deep this month. Where you find the brush and schools of shad on the electronics, you’ll find fish. 

Mitcham also says Poverty Point is notorious for an early and late bite — in the morning from daylight to about 9 a.m., and the last hour of the day.

“Sometimes the fish will move off the brush and up into a bit shallower water on the edges,” he said. “There are times when you can see flashing schools of shad on the surface, or just under the surface. At times like that, you can catch them 3 to 5 feet deep.”

Mitcham will fish any jighead — as long as it’s pink. He almost always uses a 1/16th-ounce head at those depths. And he always fishes a Crappie Nibble on the hook, as long as it is chartreuse. In the middle, he usually goes with a plastic jig body and his favorite fall colors featuring blue or chartreuse, like Garland Blue Thunder, Bluegrass or Popsicle. He always rigs them at different depths on a couple of poles, then “strolls” (extremely slow trolling) along good areas. When he catches a few, he switches all his baits to that depth unless something changes.

You can sometimes pick up helpful hints on getting started from anglers who you meet at the lake store or the boat landing. Usually if you aren’t competing with them, they’ll give you some ideas on depth and what colors are hot.

The reservoir has a fantastic state park including concrete ramps at both the north and south State Park facilities that can accommodate up to five boat trailers at a time. The north site has 100 parking spots, and the south about 70. Overflow parking is also available. For the latest info and catch photos, check the Poverty Point Reservoir State Park Facebook page