With no malice in his heart, Homer Humphreys says Lake Bistineau is the “dangdest” lake he’s ever seen.
“It’s just like the Energizer Bunny,” he said. “It keeps on ticking no matter if there’s 500 boats or five boats. They catch in the same place every year for the last 50 years.”
He’s also never seen a lake where crappie can’t be caught on the lower end.
“All the shad move up between Port of Bistineau and Clark’s Bayou in the Diamond T area,” Humphreys said. “Shad from the north end of Bistineau migrate south, and shad from the south end migrate north up the channel.”
In the last few weeks, the crappie bite has been off and on. Humphreys, who is a professional bass angler that also operates as a guide in the area, says he’s been catching them for a few days before cold fronts shut them down for a few days.
Between the fronts, the bite has been really good, but the key is to be on the water either the day before, or the day of, a front passing through. Wait to the day after, and you’ll wish you would have slept in.
The channel between Port of Bistineau and Clark’s Bayou spans about eight boat lengths, and most crappie anglers just get out in the middle of it somewhere.
“So many people have thrown out brush there, it’s crazy,” Humphreys said. “But you don’t have to fish the brush to catch them because the fish are just cruising around with the balls of shad.”
What does Humphreys throw to catch crappie around all those shad?
“Minnows,” he replied. “I had a guy the other day ask me why in the world I would fish live bait in a bunch of live bait. I told him that we were fishing balls of shad not balls of minnows. When a minnow gets down there circling around, it stands out and draws attention.”
Humphreys has been having his best trips with three different lures - obviously the minnows, but also popsicle colored Stinger Shads and 1/32- or 1/16-ounce pink, purple, and chartreuse Big Daddy hair jigs.
“One day they like the popsicle Stinger Shad, and the next it’s the Big Daddy jig,” Humphreys said. “But I never go without minnows. And these fish at Bistineau like the smallest minnows you can get. Oh yea, I also take along a jar of chartreuse Berkley Nibbles.”
The best way to fish the jigs or the minnows most years is to drop them straight down below the boat and set the pole on the deck so it moves as little as possible.
But this year, the bite has been a little different. Humphreys says he hasn’t had to lay down his pole one time yet.
“The way they want it so far is to tie a hook about six inches over a bell weight and let it go all the way to the bottom,” said Humphreys. “Leave just enough slack in your line… maybe 1/4 inch or so… just enough to see with your eyes… and never lift that weight off bottom.”
That little bit of slack allows the minnow to swim around in circles, thus drawing attention to itself. The bite has been a little light, and the only indication might be that your line gets a little heavy.
“When they get finicky, that’s the time to lie your pole down on the boat,” Humphreys said. “Short poles work best for this because you want your jig as motionless as possible, and a long pole bounces too much at the tip.”
Humphreys concluded by saying that Bistineau looks like it will be open enough to fish most of the year as the cold weather has had an effect on the Giant Salvinia.
That means the plentiful 1- to 1 1/2-pound crappie for which Lake Bistineau is famous should be readily available for all.
Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles by Chris Ginn on the current status of the crappie bite across the state. You can view his earlier reports on the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake D'Arbonne and Toledo Bend by clicking on the links. His report next week will be on a hotspot in South Louisiana.