‘Bed’time stories on Caney lake

Tyler Stewart graduated from college, finished his apprenticeship and is taking his skills into the workplace. And the point of this? That can help you catch more fish.

How? He is a graduate of University of Louisiana Monroe, where he was a highly successful college tournament fisherman. His “apprenticeship” included regular sessions catching bass on Caney Lake. And now he has gone to work in his first season as a professional bass angler. That helps readers catch more fish because he’s glad to share what he knows for anglers back home.

Like the fact that this is a great month to catch largemouth bass on the beds around the bank on Caney.

“It doesn’t get any better for bass fishermen than this month on Caney, whether you just want to catch some good fish or want to catch the fish of a lifetime,” Stewart said. “During March, most of the fish are spawning. What I like to do is turn on my trolling motor and cruise the bank looking for beds. You’ll see them as light spots on the dark bottom.”

On Caney, those beds are usually 2 to 5 feet deep and are easy to spot because of the crystal clear water on the lake. When he spots a bed and sees a fish, he tries to first determine the mood of the fish.

“By that I mean is the fish spooky or pretty confidently holding to the bed,” he said. “If it’s spooky, I’ll back off and make long casts with something like a wacky rig or a Senko. If the fish is locked in, I’ll just lower the Power-Poles down and cast something like a white V&M J-Bug creature. I usually throw the bait just past the bed and work in to the bed. Sometimes the fish will hit it in three to five casts. Sometimes it takes more. Be patient.”

If it’s windy or the water is off color, Stewart suggests finding patchy spots of grass and throwing a swim jig, ChatterBait or a Rat-L-Trap around and over the grass. Either way, he does encourage anglers who are bed fishing to take pictures of their fish, handle them gently and release them this time of year —especially if they are loaded with eggs.

The 5,000-acre Jackson Parish lake is well known for lunker bass, and has a limit of eight fish daily, with a protected slot limit of 15 to 19 inches. No more than two fish may exceed 19 inches maximum total length. However, the LDWF is considering changing that limit, so anglers fishing the lake need to ensure they know slot regulations.

Stewart is concerned that over time, if that change is made, it could impact the lake. “Right now, you can go catch 15 pounds of fish in the slot and have to throw them back. But if you get to keep them, more and more tournaments will start coming there because everybody will want to come fish it. Over time, I think it might hurt it, but because so many tournaments will go there if the slot is lifted, it’s going to get a lot of pressure.”

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.