The bayou – not the lake – offers up some slabs this time of year
When most crappie fishermen think of D’Arbonne, they immediately think about the big lake. But a growing number of anglers are moving Bayou D’Arbonne up the list of top crappie spots in North Louisiana. The old bayou flows from the lake spillway all the way to the Ouachita River.
“I like fishing the lake, but I love fishing the bayou,” said Brittney Naron, a Ouachita Sheriff’s Department employee who got thumped by crappie a few years ago and never looked back.
“I had always been a bass fisherman, but a few years ago a friend’s dad took me crappie fishing,” she recalled. “I caught about a 2 1/2 pounder, and I haven’t been bass fishing since.”
To fish the bayou this month, Naron said three things are key. First, weather conditions this time of year quickly change the color of the bayou’s water. On days when rain has made it almost chocolate color, she likes to use bright colored jigs, like electric chicken in the mo-glow and bright color painted heads with big eyes. On clearer days, she uses a more subtle color, or her favorite black-and-blue 1/16th-ounce hair jig.
As the weather gets colder, she turns to live minnows and fishes them extremely slowly — regardless of water color.
Second, she stays on stumps. Many people try to follow the crappie into the channels in colder weather, but unless it’s an extreme cold spell, she fishes the stumps all year long. The key is to fish all round the stumps when it’s cloudy, and find the shady side when it’s sunny.
Thirdly, try to find the deeper side of the bayou. The bayou winds and turns, and those outside banks that have been cut away and have deeper water seem to have more productive stump lines, she said.
From day to day, fish seem to like different presentations. Some days, she will bounce the jig aggressively, but some days she just lets it fall with very little movement.
“You just have to see what they want that day and then stick with what they tell you,” she said. “I fish a 10-foot Wahali pole with one bait, and a light 8-foot B’n’M with the other. I usually bounce the lighter pole a little more.”
Fishing on the bayou is good all the way from Joe Bob’s Landing near the river to the Lake D’Arbonne Spillway. You just have to find an area you are comfortable with — and a bait, too.
“The best advice of all is to be patient and find a bait or two you are really confident in. Stay with it, because sometimes you go an hour without a bite, then they just turn on,” she said. “This time of year, it’s worth the wait.”