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Mike McNerlin hangs a nice crappie after trolling over the edge of a creek channel.

Follow the bait

Cranking is productive on any lake that has a healthy crappie population. Cypress Bayou/Black Bayou Reservoirs, Toledo Bend, Caddo Lake, Lake D’Arbonne, Bayou D’Arbonne, Caney Lake, Poverty Point Reservoir, and Larto are just a few of the good spots.

And cranking veteran Clark LaBorde said there is no great secret to finding crappie on these lakes. 

August 15, 2016 at 7:00am
Lake D’Arbonne produces good numbers of bass and has seen an increase in big bass over the past few years.

Preuett’s pick four for summertime bass

The Ouachita River might be Brett Preuett’s go-to home water for the summer, but he has plenty of other North Louisiana lakes on which he likes to hone his skills.

August 15, 2016 at 7:00am
Mike McNerlin (left) and Greg Hammett with some of the 37 crappie they caught in one morning of cranking.

Crank it up — How to catch crappie trolling crankbaits

Trolling crankbaits has exploded onto the crappie fishing scene in the last few years. And, while there is bit of a learning curve, the tactic can be highly productive in terms of filling the freezer with fillets.

August 01, 2016 at 7:00am
One of the prizes of small creek or bayou fishing is tasty sunperch like this one.

Best fishing hotspots on the state’s only national forest

Public access to small bayou and stream fishing in North Louisiana is almost unlimited when you consider the resources available in the five ranger districts of the Kistachie National Forest, located within an imaginary triangle between Winnfield, Natchitoches and Alexandria.

May 15, 2016 at 7:00am
The bass spawn is pretty much wrapped up by now, but that doesn’t mean big Caney Lake fish have disappeared.

End of spawn doesn't mean action over on Caney Lake

Fishing for big bass during the spawn on Caney Lake is legendary, but just because that bite is over doesn’t mean it’s time to put up the bass rods.

May 09, 2016 at 11:05am
Mike Wood has been involved in the Florida bass program at Caney Lake for decades. Here he shows off one of the first 10-pound lunkers that came from the lake years ago.

The making of a fisheries leader

As a young Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) biology major, Mike Wood figured out fairly quickly what he wanted to do in life.

April 15, 2016 at 7:00am
For Mike Wood, a beautiful morning on the lake is success whether you catch a livewell full of fish or not.

Catch bass on the bubble

Mike Wood guided the boat out across an open area of the lake, looking ahead to locate a big log pile that often held bass.

April 15, 2016 at 7:00am
Cody Morton, of Jonesboro, shows off the 12.3-pound lunker largemouth bass he landed on the south end of Caney Lake in about 10 feet of water on Monday, April 4.

Jonesboro angler lands 12.3-pound hammer on Caney Lake

One of the last times Cody Morton had a potential lunker bass on at Caney Lake, he was fishing with his buddy Bradley Shows, and his line popped right at the boat.

April 07, 2016 at 8:35pm
This chunky largemouth fell to one of Mike Wood’s favorite creature baits.

Gone fishin’ — Fishing advice from a retired biologist

Mike Wood is a biologist by profession. But when you boil it all down, he’s a fisherman first.

That was apparent when a bass tapped my 6-inch black grape worm and I set the hook, only to reel up an empty hook.

April 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Kenny Cobb, 61, of Ruston, poses with the white cat squirrel he shot on Nov. 13 near Chatham, and the 1915 Winchester Model 12 16-gauge gun he shot it with. In 1977, when he was 23, he shot his very first albino cat squirrel with the same shotgun.

Ruston hunter shoots second snow white cat squirrel

In October of 1977, at the age of 23, Kenny Cobb fulfilled one of his grandfather’s outdoor dreams when he shot an albino cat squirrel in woods north of Winfield.

February 21, 2016 at 9:44pm
Gunner Durrett shows off a Caney Lake 10-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass he caught on Saturday, Jan. 23. The bass hit a Rogue twitchbait with a gold back and a clear bottom, he said.

Louisiana Tech student catches, releases Caney Lake lunker

Saturday, Jan. 23 brought news of a historic blizzard hammering the Northeast U.S.

Forecasts even called for a bit of snow with cold and windy conditions for North Louisiana — meaning most rational-thinking folks were likely putting another log on the fire and hunkering down in less hostile conditions.

January 25, 2016 at 2:48pm
Halbrook’s typical terminal rig has 1 or 2 split shot pinched on the line a foot above the jig with a Berkley PowerBait Crappie Sparkle Nibble added to the hook.

Top 6 tips for wintertime yellow bass and crappie at Caney Lake

1) Move, move, move. Don’t hunker down in one spot.

January 15, 2016 at 7:00am
Eddie Halbrook fishes for yellow bass both because they are good fighters and because they taste good.

Halbrook is a fishing fanatic

Eddie Halbrook fishes five days a week (but never on Sunday), year-round.

“I fish, I hunt, I take care of my grandkids, I go to church — but mostly I fish,” the avuncular 64-year-old grinned.

January 15, 2016 at 7:00am
Eddie Halbrook’s Louisiana record yellow bass would have qualified for world record status as well if he had chosen to submit it.

Yellow haze — How to catch Caney Lake’s yellow bass

“Yeow — that’s a big yellow bass,” I thought to myself when I saw the new first-place entry of 2.67 pounds in the official state fish records kept by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association.

January 01, 2016 at 7:00am