Like many waterways in Louisiana this year, the Red River went through a rough spring, with floodwaters inching close to the top of the levees at times.
But the water level dropping and clearing is just in time for some of the best bass fishing on the meandering river that flows from the state line through the heart of Shreveport Bossier to below Alexandria.
“I’ve been fishing all my life, and in the summer there’s one thing you can count on,” Alexandria angler Jerry Mitchell said. “That is finding bunches of bass along the sandbars and rock jetties along the river.
“Bass are going to hang out near the shoreline in the main river, for the most part.”
The Skeeter pro concentrates his fishing efforts on the backsides of the sandbars and rock jetties. It is especially good this month when there is current.
“I take a 200 series Bandit or KVD Series 4 crankbait and fan cast those areas until I catch a fish,” Mitchell said. “When you catch one, stay and work it, because they usually stack up this time of year.”
Best lure colors are shad, bream or something bright with chartreuse.
Mitchell said it also is best to fish the bars and jetties close to runouts, bayous and ditches — anything different along the shore.
When the crankbait bite slows, he’ll also turn to a june bug or similarly color 6- or 7-inch V&M worm with a ¼-ounce slip sinker, fished slowly on the points of the same areas.
Popular areas on the south end are the Montgomery Area, Red Bayou and St. Maurice, which all have great launching facilities.
White bass are also abundant on the river, and the next several months they give bass fishermen a bonus because the fish stack up just like the bass and offer lots of action.
“What makes the Red River South so special is that it is part of such a huge river system,” Mitchell said. “You can go to a dozen different launches and fish for miles up and down the river, and never see the same place.
“It’s all the same river, but the diversity is remarkable.”
Mitchell has one last tip: If the fish aren’t on the points or bars, use your depth finder to scan the mouths of some of the run-outs because shad often ball up there, and if you can find active shad, you’ll find active fish.