EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fifth 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 Bayou Black, and tomorrow we'll take a closer look at the Black River Lake/Horseshoe complex .

Tim Bye lives in Luling, and knows the waters in the Bayou Des Allemands system like the back of his hand.

But when he’s wanting to catch some sac-a-lait — and he’s pretty much always wanting to catch crappie — he turns his attention a bit west to the waters south of Houma.

“They catch some nice fish in the Des Allemands area, don’t get me wrong, but if you want numbers Bayou Black is where you want to go,” Bye said.

He said that’s because those waters are connected to the mouth of the Atchafalaya River, so fresh water is constantly being pushed through the system.

Bye’s favorite time to fish Bayou Black is actually in the summer, when he said crappie are easier to pattern. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t fish to catch this month.

It’s just a matter of understanding what they’re doing.

“The water temperature has to get to about 62 degrees before they move up to spawn,” Bye said. “Until then, they’re staged dead in the middle of the (dead-end) canals that have 5 to 8 feet of water in them.

He said he’ll particularly look at that terminal ends of these canals because that’s where the deepest water will be found.

“Look for the little drop-off,” Bye recommended. “They’re staged right there waiting to move up.”

Bye refuses to use minnows (he said they’re just not necessary), so he works jigs under corks to target these suspended fish.

Panfish Assassins in salt-and-pepper are killer plastics because they mimic grass shrimp, Bye said. The only other color he’ll use is a blue sparkle/chartreuse sparkle body.

“I don’t know what that represents, but it works,” he said of the latter.

Of course, water clarity is important.

“You dont’ want to fish muddy, muddy water, but you don’t want to fish in that black water, either,” Bye said.

Prime locations include Turtle Bayou and 70 Mile Canal.

And the best news is that it’s often not necessary — or wise — to get out on the water at daybreak when cold fronts have air temperatures bottomed out.

“Sometimes the afternoon fishing is better,” Bye said. “The water heats up a little.”