You might call it a “Winter Fire” fishing report. It’s definitely winter, but the fishing is on fire”at Lake Claiborne. And it has been for a while, according to guide Sid Havard. He fishes quite often all over North Louisiana, so when he gets excited, you know something good is happening.

“Claiborne is down about 7 feet and the fishing is on fire,” he said. “They are catching fish all over the lake and have been for a while. And it’s not just small fish. There have been several over 10 pounds, and that is unusual for Claiborne.”

The drawdown is scheduled to end this month, but if the area doesn’t receive more rain, it will be a while before the water level comes up. Even when that happens, action will still be good, according to the Simsboro fisherman.

“It’s going to take a while for the lake to reach normal levels and in the meantime, the bass population and the shad population is very healthy,” Havard said. “The good times should continue for a while. We’ve been catching them around stumps near the channel and up in brush tops that we haven’t seen in quite a while, if ever.”

White and chartreuse spinnerbaits, blue-back Rat-L-Traps and square-bill crankbaits in shad colors are producing the best. As the water cools and fish get tighter to structure, jigs and heavy plastics will come into play.

“The main thing is, as the water comes up, the fish will just follow it,” he said. “They will move into the newer areas and get in brush and structure they haven’t seen for months. They will test that new water. Fishermen just have to move up with them. It should be great right on through the winter.”

One tip that can help you catch fish when the water comes back up is to not get impatient. The best fishing might be from 10 a.m. until early evening this time of year. That allows the water to warm up a bit, which in turn gets the baitfish and the bass stirring.

One word of warning — with the lake down, every boat lane isn’t open. The old river channel and creeks are, but many boat lanes are marked for regular water levels and have stumps right under the surface with the lake down, so Havard urged extreme caution. 

You can get in touch with him for the latest reports or a trip with his Local Lakes Guide Services at 318-548-4067.