EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sixth article in an online series on hot crappie spots across the state that originally appeared in Louisiana Sportsman magazine. Today's article features information on the Black River Lake/Horseshoe complex, and we wrap up the series tomorrow with the Saline-Larto complex.

What? Never heard of this complex of waterways tucked along the western edge of Concordia Parish at Monterey? Well, Vidalia’s Eddie Roberts said it needs to be on your radar.

“It’s kind of a sleeper lake,” Roberts said.

He said the system, which is composed of Black River Lake and Horseshoe Lake (which is shown on some maps as “Cocodrie”), has plenty of fish.

“That place drives the entire Concordia Parish as far as crappie go,” Roberts said.

But there are some challenges because the drainage feeding the lake is pretty massive.

“The water level is forever fluctuating,” he said.

Horseshoe Lake, which receives the bulk of that water inflow, is shallow (averaging about 10 feet deep) and can quickly muddy up — particularly as spring rains pelt the area.

However, the 17-mile-long Black River Lake has 35-foot depths and is bypassed by much of the muddy influx of water because it’s leveed off from the Black River and is connected to Horseshoe Lake through a narrow channel. So the water might rise and fall, but it remains pretty clear.

The key to success is focusing on the floating docks along the lake, Roberts said.

Most locals pound the crappie tight-lining jigs, but Roberts said it’s a good bet to tip a jig with a small shiner.

“I’m talking about the 1 1/2- to 2-inch minnows — those that are hard to get,” Roberts explained.

Horseshoe comes into its own toward the end of March through May, when the weather settles down a bit.

The best access is Joes Horeshoe Marina (318.386.7300) in Monterey, which Roberts said offers top-notch facilities.