When bass anglers approach a lake they haven’t fished in a while, their first question usually has something to do with what the fish are hitting.
But at 16,000-acre Lake Bistineau in Northwest Louisiana, the question in recent years has been, “Where’s the water?”
That’s because numerous drawdowns to control giant salvinia have kept this lake in a state of flux. True to form, this fall the lake is in the process of going down again — this time possibly as far as 7 feet below pool. A huge floating boom has been placed across a big section of the lake to hold back the noxious floating weeds, but longtime pro angler and lake guide Homer Humphreys said it’s positioned where you can idle over it to get into some great shallow water fishing areas, as well as the rest of the lake.
So where do you fish?
“Follow the water,” Humphreys said. “You have to move with the fish as the water falls. The drawdowns are doing a lot of good and it’s helping fishing. This month it will be on like a chicken bone. Just adapt to the conditions.”
Humphreys said the good thing about lower water levels is it increases the odds for fishermen — more fish in less water.
Frankly, he said, you can catch fish from one end of the lake to the other and most of them won’t be too far away from the deeper water of the channel.
“But they aren’t deep,” he said. “We’ll catch them in 2 to 4 feet of water all the way through the winter. One of the best spots of all to look for fish is on the point trees along the main channel or sloughs.”
So what are they hitting?
“Shad-like crankbaits such as Strike King’s Red Eye and the Rat-L-Trap in chrome and blue. The shad are balling up and will continue to group up even more as it gets cooler,” he said. “Reel them as fast as you can because it’s a reaction strike. Big ones are also starting to hit big plastics like the penetration color Sweet Beaver 4.2 and bayou special color Missile Bait. Pack some Zoom Ol’ Monster worms in South African special, black emerald and candy bug.”
Access is limited. Port O Bistineau is shallow, but can be used. The landing at Grice Road by the dam is good, as is the public ramp on the Bossier side. If you are going to any other lakes, make sure to wash off your boat trailer and flush your outboard to help prevent the spread of salvinia.