Crappie fishing is simple in the fall on Lake Claiborne.
“Find the shad and find the crappie,” said Steve Danna, a veteran angler who goes chases the panfish for fun and as a seasoned tournament fisherman. “That’s true just about all year long, but it is especially true when you are after crappie this time of year.”
Bass after bass swirl on the surface of Lake Claiborne as schools of baitfish scatter like bird shot hitting the water, gaining the attention of fishermen across the lake. Those are striped bass chasing shad. It’s probably the most popular game in town during the hot months on this 6,400 acre reservoir.
Picture this, if you will: About 50 crappie fishermen of all sizes and shapes are all gathered in the same area of the lake in different boats, wearing different-colored clothes and using different baits, all fishing with jig poles.
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Persistent fishermen can catch striped bass on Lake Claiborne pretty much all year long. The four seasons of Claiborne stripers vary a little bit from traditional “seasons,” as Donny Hood outlined below.
Lake Claiborne was completed in 1967. Even before that time, Hood’s father had property on the lake, and the two of them have actually walked all the way across what he calls the Little Lake area of Claiborne, which is the large open area north of the Big Lake but still south of the two large arms that extend far to the north of the spillway almost all the way to downtown Homer in Claiborne Parish.
After an hour chasing sparse schools of striped bass across boat lanes, creek channels, coves and finally out into the big lake without a single strike, Donny Hood stopped for a second, calmly set his rod down and moved to the driver’s seat of his 22-foot Blazer Bay bay boat dubbed the Miss Judy.