November Red River lunkers

Pools 4 and 5 are great for crankbaiting

The explorer Hernando de Soto found it while exploring the Mississippi for riches. Another adventurer, Louis de St. Denis, spent years searching its shores for gold and silver.

Today, folks like Russ de McVey are still looking for “green” on the north end of the Red River.

OK, there’s no “de” in McVey’s name, but he regularly comes home with a livewell full of green trout — aka largemouth bass.

“Fall is a great time to catch largemouths on the Red River,” McVey said. “You can start to catch the fish in the deeper bends of the river or in the deeper oxbows, or you can still catch them shallow.”

The angler refers to Red River North as Pool 4 out of Coushatta and Pool 5 right around Shreveport.

Just for the record, if you go above the I-220 bypass north of Shreveport-Bossier, the channel isn’t marked, so running it is a risky proposition.

“Both Pool 4 and Pool 5 are basically good crankbait areas for bass,” McVey said. “In the deeper water out on the channel, the shad are starting to bunch up, and that bunches up the bass.

“In the oxbows, the deep areas are good for the same reason, and even the timber is still producing in some areas if the weather hasn’t gotten too cold.”

Normally fishing the grass is popular here, but record flooding this spring pretty much wiped out the vegetation near the main river.

McVey’s best crankbaits are medium-diving Bandits or Bombers in shad or sexy shad colors.

His second choice is a spinnerbait in white, white/chartreuse or chartreuse and blue. If there is wind, he loves double willow leaf blades.

Probably the most-popular lure on the river is a soft plastic, and McVey favors Sweet Beavers, Baby Brush Hawgs and other smaller creature bait.

He swears by black-and-blue and green pumpkin 90 percent of the time. A plastic color that also works almost all year round is watermelon red.

The easy part of November fishing on the upper Red is that it all takes place pretty much in the open, so casting to structure is not so difficult. Reeling in crankbaits and spinnerbaits is also easier than some finesse lures.

On the hard side, finding subtle areas in structure that hides fall bass like creek channels and ditches isn’t as easy as it has been because of silting and changes in the river.

Get updated information on the River by emailing McVey at or at

About Kinny Haddox 561 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.

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