The salvinia that has infested Caddo Lake has forced many bass anglers to adjust their approaches to fishing the lake.
One angler who has to deal with it on a daily basis is Paul Keith with Caddo Lake Guide Service (318-455-3437). And to say the least, it has definitely changed the way he fishes his home lake.
“Because salvinia floats around, I have to adjust on a weekly and daily basis where I fish because of the direction of the winds,” Keith said. “For example, if I am fishing a pocket or backwater area that has a heavy growth of salvinia on the north end of that pocket, and the wind shifts from the north, I know in a day or two that salvinia will shift to the south end, depending on the wind speed.”
One factor that does impact movement of salvinia is when the floating plant is mixed in with other vegetation like lily pads or hydrilla. In that case, salvinia may not move at all because it is locked in.
“As a general rule, I have found the thick mats of salvinia by itself is not good for fishing,” Keith said. “However, a light mixture of salvinia with hydrilla and pads does not seem to hurt the fishing.”
Although he considers salvinia to be a nuisance, Keith has found that he can use it to his advantage.
Say he pulls into an area that has a large mat of salvinia covering a long shoreline that would normally hold bass during that time of year. In this case, Keith pulls just a bit farther out to a tree line, drop-off or vegetation edge where he has regularly found concentrations of fish.
“It’s much like when we try to avoid heavy mud coming into an area,” he explained. “It will push and concentrate the bass, and help cull the lake down to good areas if you use that negative salvinia in a positive manner.”
Since Caddo Lake anglers have dealt with salvinia for several years now, Keith said many have learned to fish with it, and that each year is different depending on high-water flush rate and rate of growth.
“February and March look good, just as it was last year,” Keith said. “Simply use the heavy areas of salvinia to your advantage as to where not to fish, and you can find areas with larger concentrations of bass than normal.”
A bass is not going to live, spawn or feed in areas where there is no oxygen and sunlight, and neither is their food source.
Learn to move around with the fish like Keith and you’ll be able to stay on the bite no matter what the salvinia insists on doing.