Patience pays this time of year at Caney

Chris Nguyen of Monroe enjoys getting out on the water and catching Caney Lake lunkers this time of year.

Jackson Parish lake tailor-made for hot action and trophies

As Louisiana’s weather heats up, so does the bass fishing, especially at Caney Lake in Jackson Parish. Built in 1986, this lake was tailor-made for trophy bass, and it has delivered beyond expectations. With six of Louisiana’s top 10 largest bass calling it home, Caney Lake is a bass angler’s paradise. In the early months of the year, anglers find giant pre-spawn bass, but they are often hard to catch. But as the weather warms, it’s easier to catch fish, even though there might not be as many double digits caught.

Local Monroe native Chris Nguyen fishes the lake regularly and shared how he targets these feisty fish.

Sight fish

As the water warms, bass move to shallower waters for the spawn. By mid-April, many bass have already spawned, but there are still plenty of late spawners lingering in shallow water. And here’s the kicker: unless there is an overabundance of rain, Caney Lake offers crystal-clear waters, a rarity in Louisiana. That means sight fishing, where you can lock eyes with your prize beneath the surface.

“I love Caney because of the water clarity,” Nguyen said. “This time of the year is my favorite because I can sight fish.”

Armed with a Shimano reel and G Loomis rod, he prowls the shallows with a Green Pumpkin Zoom Baby Brush Hog. Sneaking up on visible structure, he entices strikes from lurking lunkers.

“I was just fishing and happened to look down and saw a big fish beside a stick up in eight feet of water”, he said. “I threw my bait at her, and the 4-pound male came out and ate it.”

Knowing from experience that an even larger female could be in the same area, Nguyen chose to cast back to the same location.

“On the first cast I saw her nose down on my bait but she didn’t take it,” he said. “I could tell she was very interested in it, so I threw back in there a second time and she didn’t like that.”

His savvy and persistence paid off big time when he hooked the 8.75-pound female. Patience pays this time of year at Caney.

Load up at one spot

Once you find one hotspot, there are likely more staging bass in the general area.

“Once I found the fish, they weren’t too scattered,” Nguyen said. “I worked the area thoroughly and caught several more in one cove.”

The fish transitioning in and out of the clear shallow water also offers an exciting opportunity to see the fish attack your bait, which makes the experience even more captivating.

“You have a chance to catch the biggest fish right now while they are up spawning,” Nguyen said. “It is fun to watch them eat.”

Other fish that have already spawned are also hanging around the edges and holes in the grassbeds on the lake.

Although Nguyen is drawing on his decades of experience on Caney to target these fish, the high population of trophy fish in the lake make it a likely possibility for anyone to land one of these beasts.

“Springtime is the best time to get out on the water,” he said. “The weather is nice, and the fish are moving up shallow and eating anything you throw at them.”