The drive from Morgan City to Natchitoches was a long four hours after I knocked off from my day job at 5 o’clock. And, by the time my wife and I checked into the Chateau Saint Denis Hotel downtown, it was after 9 p.m. — and I was just hearing from Pure Fishing ambassador Jimmy Jeansonne.

We were attending the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association conference, and that meant doing a little fishing the next morning. 

Jeansonne had been busy much of the day organizing the event and pairing writers with local volunteer anglers who would act as our guides. I drew local contractor Jerry Coutee, an avid tournament bass angler and someone extremely familiar with the local waters in that part of the state. 

What’s more, of the many places Coutee could have chosen around Natchitoches (like the Red River or Sibley Lake), he selected Black Lake for our excursion in late summer — perhaps the most difficult time of year to catch bass. 


Why Black Lake?

For starters, Black Lake is a 13,800-acre public lake, encompassed by some 50 miles of shoreline. Its average depth is a modest 8 feet, with a maximum depth of 18 feet in places. And, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the lake’s water fluctuates roughly 3 to 4 feet.

Highway 9 essentially separates the lake in two. The portion of lake on the western side of the bridge is known as Clear Lake, and the eastern side is called Black Lake. 

Considered a ‘rift’ lake formed by a massive log jam along the Red River back in the 1800s (that also created lakes Bistineau and Saline), Black Lake is a fertile body of water well known for black bass, both largemouth and spotted.

 “It’s a