Louisiana hosted the 2022 season opening Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour event with anglers fishing three lakes — D’Arbonne in Farmerville, Caney in Chatham and Bussey Brake in Bastrop. Louisiana Sportsman caught up with champion Bradley Roy of Lancaster, Ky., and fellow pro anglers Jared Lintner of Covington, Ga., and Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., to get exclusive fishing reports on how they would fish here this month.
Jared Lintner owned Lake D’Arbonne during the MLF tournament and even though a frigid cold front hit the day before practice and left 20 degree temperatures, he figured out how to catch them. He said the same techniques will work now and he’d love to come back and try the lake under better conditions this month.
“I don’t think we even touched the potential of this lake, but it was good for me,” he said. He caught 11 bass on Lake D’Arbonne totaling 47 pounds, 5 ounces. His top bait was a 5-inch straight tail purple worm drop shot rig worked slowly around several different types of cover.
“I like the main lake area mainly because I’m stubborn and like to fish like I fish,” he said. “I don’t like being around a lot of people. I know the northern creeks have a lot of bass, but I like the main lake and the pockets. The fish move up in there and spawn and then stage right out from where they spawn. That Stowe Creek area is a prime example. I would work it and other pockets like that one with a swim jig and flipping little craws and creature type baits up in the brush.
“One thing you have to plan for here this time of year is the wind. Have a plan to be able to fish where you can find some protection on one side or the other.”
Where to look
The fish will probably be in the spawn and a lot of the backwater areas off those creeks is where I’d look, Lintner said.
“Look more toward the shoreline cover and figure out what they like,” he said. “If the water is up and you can get a bait in the bushes, go as shallow as you can. If they aren’t there, back off a little bit.”
That also applies to boat docks, grass lines or cypress trees, he said. He noted there is a lot of brush around boat docks and out in front of them that hold bass.
“This is a target rich environment and the hardest thing is concentrating on what the fish want to be by, not what you think they should be beside,” he said. “Flippin and pitching soft plastics is the best way to go here. If it warms up considerably, then moving baits like a slow-rolling spinnerbait or vibrating jig in shad color will work.”
Roy has some good advice for figuring out the cypress tree pattern.
“A couple of things you have to remember when it comes to bass and cypress trees this time of the year,” he said. “Besides the tree trunk and the roots on the tree, you’ve also got those cypress knees growing off the bottom all around the tree. Some of them you can see, some you can’t. There are also hard clean, hard bottoms around the tree in many cases and that attracts spawning bass. When it’s bright sunny, the fish will be right on the tree. When it’s early or late or cloudy, those fish will hang out on the shade line a little bit off the tree. Honestly, you have to catch one or two and when you do that, pay attention and just keep doing the same thing.”
Wheeler said the shallow flats and areas in the backs of pockets that he refers to as “marshy areas” are prime for spawning fish.
“When you catch fish shallow early, then you can move out to the edges of those spots as the day moves on,” Wheeler said. “That’s what the bass will do. The key is also to keep up with the bait. Bass will go pretty close to where the bait is. If you get into the shad spawn, any type of shad colored or white frog, drop shot or crankbait will put fish in the boat.”