The appeal of catching an 8- to 10-pound bass or a cooler full of slab crappie brings most visitors to the 16,000-acre Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville.

But home folks know it’s another fish that provides the main ingredient for many a fish fry this time of year — channel catfish.

“There are more catfish than you can shake a stick at in Lake D’Arbonne,” said Cooter Anderson of Anderson’s Sport Center near the lake.

Anderson should know: He’s sold bait to more fishermen than probably anyone else in the region over the past 50 years.

And he knows how many people like to catch catfish.

“The thing about them this time of year is that you can catch them off the bank, off the boat dock or out in the boat,” Anderson said. “They are just everywhere in 2 to 10 feet of water.”

And the best part is that bream and catfish run in the same places, so it’s easy to catch a mess of fish for supper.

Anderson recommended Canadian cold worms for the best catfish action.

These worms are big, and you can cut them into two or three pieces and fish them with a couple of BB size shots placed 2 to 3 inches from the hook.

Anderson also recommended a long-shank hook. The No. 6 or 8 Mustad hooks are popular.

The worms are tough, so you can often catch more than one fish per piece.

The key is fishing close to the bottom.

You can fish the bait with or without a cork. If fishing a cork, make sure you don’t get impatient when you get a hit: Sometimes the catfish will hit, and then come back and take it. 

One of the most-popular areas for bank fishermen is the Ramp Road area on Highway 33 near downtown Farmerville.

The old road offers fishing on both sides.

There is also a ramp road on the Corney Creek arm just off Highway 2.

Out in the lake, popular areas are near the bank in Stowe Creek and Bear creeks, and up the Caney and D’Arbonne arms.

The major deepwater winter bite and the spring spawn bite are obviously over for crappie, but good catches out on the flats and on brush tops in 10 to 15 feet of water still provide some good action.

Smaller jigs tipped with Crappie Nibbles work well.

If bass fishing is your gig, you can have some fun with topwaters and buzz baits.