False River hasn’t been on anyone’s radar for years, since it was dropped from the state Quality Lakes system in the wake of siltation that wrecked what once was a legendary fishery.
But there are signs the old Mississippi River oxbow could be on the rise again, thanks to a restoration project.
“It’s not what it once was, but it’s definitely showing some potential,” Addis tournament angler Blake Bourque said.
Spring brings to mind shallow beds and big bass, and Bourque said that’s going to be happening on the lake this month — but it might be delayed this year.
“Usually, the bass would begin to spawn in late February, have a big wave in March and then another small wave in early April,” Bourque said. “This year, with the weather we’ve had, I think the fish will not move up to spawn until late March.”
Whenever it happens, Bourque said it’ll be time to work shallows all around the lake, targeting 1- to 6-foot depths.
“Mostly, I’m targeting shallow flats that are blocked from the wind and have good, hard bottom,” he explained. “I’ve seen them so shallow their backs were just covered.”
Fish also move into the canals on the north and south ends of the lake.
“The fish will get in the bushes and spawn,” Bourque said.
The restoration project also has provided perfect spawning areas.
“They … dumped gravel on the south flats,” Bourque said. “I found (the gravel areas) with my side imaging/down imaging unit.”
Sight-fishing isn’t usually a part of his plan, since water normally is too murky to allow him to actually put eyes on bedding bass.
“The way I determine if fish are on the beds is the (bass) will swat at the bait, and I can see fish flash,” Bourque said.
He said he chooses a bait that False River bass simply can’t resist.
“For the spawn, I will be shallow, throwing the Mister Twister Flip’n Out,” Bourque said. “I’m not sure what it is about that bait, but they absolutely crush it.”
His choice of tackle includes a 7-foot-3-inch medium-heavy Duckett Micro Magic rod and an 8.3:1 Lew’s reel spooled with 17-pound Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon.