Fall drawdown concentrates big bass on Lake Bistineau

The fall drawdown concentrate Lake Bistineau’s bass around deeper channels. (Photo courtesy Hannah Winget)

North Louisiana’s Lake Bistineau is a fantastic location for October bass fishing. From now through December, big fish are easy to target if you know where to look. Armed with a little knowledge of the lake and advice from a local pro, you’ll be happy you chose Bistineau, a place where bass-angling dreams often come true.

Homer Humphreys of Minden is a veteran bass pro with 40 years of guiding experience across Louisiana’s northern corridor; he’s the kind of fisherman it pays to listen to. And according to Humphreys, beginning in October, “It’s on like a chicken bone at Lake Bistineau.”

Bistineau is a special place, and not just because it sits in a forest replete with beautiful cypress and tupelo trees. Each year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development open water-control structures to draw down the water level to approximately 8 feet below pool stage to control the expansion of the invasive aquatic plant, giant salvinia.

In practical terms, the lake shrinks from about 15,500 to 10,000 acres, concentrating the fish and setting up one of Louisiana’s unique fishing opportunities.

Drawdown affects fish

“The bass have even changed their behavior,” Humphreys said. “It’s something we’ve noticed while guiding in the last few years, and (our) predictions have changed about where they move.

“The bass tend to stay where water is always available,” he said. “(They) stack up in the channels, and other species like bluegill and white perch do the same thing.”

During the drawdown, anglers should launch from Port of Bistineau Launch, Bossier Public Launch, Grice’s or Bayou Dorcheat Public Launch.

“And once you launch into the channel, stay in the channel,” Humphreys said. “The largemouth bass will be stacked up on the edges.

“Use a Strike King Square Bill 1.5 crankbait in a shad color or chartreuse,” Humphreys said. “Or you can (use) a ¼-ounce, Homer’s Clown spinnerbait in chartreuse and white or white and fish as fast as you want.”

If you decide to slow things down, Humphreys also recommends fishing a trick worm in redbug color with a ¼-ounce weight. If you prefer topwater action, he recommends a small chugger or a Devil’s Horse.

“But a frog is probably the No. 1 topwater bait because (of the) alligator grass,” Humphreys said.

Fish either white or black frogs depending on light levels. Use black on sunny days, and white when it’s cloudy.

Brush up on cover

“People have been putting out brush piles for 40 to 50 years,” Humphreys said, advising anglers to  focus on brush piles or similar cover near channels or areas that keep plenty of water during  the drawdown.

Humphreys said visiting anglers should stop Country Market, a store in Sibley that specializes in top Lake Bistineau baits.

“It has got everything you need: the best colors and baits,” he said.

Remember, shooting the breeze for a few minutes with local fishermen before you hit the water can be as important as any other preparation you could make.

About Will Martin 104 Articles
Will Martin is an adventure writer based in New Orleans, LA. He pens fiction and nonfiction stories at willmartin.info, and is a staff writer at Louisiana Sportsman. He can be reached at willm@lasmag.com.