Cypress Bayou slabs offer some great summer fishing action

Cypress Bayou Reservoir in Bossier Parish is known for its slab crappie, and summer fishing can be excellent. (Photo by Justin Adkins)

Cypress Bayou Reservoir is an overlooked gem located in northwest Louisiana, near Benton in Bossier Parish, a popular destination for pleasure boaters but home of one of the healthiest crappie fisheries in the area.

Cypress Bayou, which covers 3,300 acres, was created in 1975. Several types of natural structure can be found, including flooded timber, emergent vegetation, ledges, flats and points. Brush piles are scattered around the lake bottom; many dedicated anglers have sunk them in areas that allow them to hold fish year-round.

Russell Poe of Haughton said that being able to locate crappie is the most crucial part of having a successful trip.

“Crappie mainly move in relation to water temperature,” Poe said. “This time of the year, when the water temperature reaches 80 degrees, the fish start to suspend back into deeper water and around channel ledges.”

Poe uses his side-imaging sonar to locate schools of suspended crappie around channel edges, then employs his LiveScope to pinpoint areas to target. The result is slab crappie weighing up to and more than 2 pounds.

Bait presentation

Another crucial element is bait presentation. Poe prefers to vertical jig using a 12-foot jig pole, a 1/16-ounce eyehole jig and pintail body from Gill Reaper Lures. He can inject scent into the jighead, which is important when fish have trouble deciding whether or not to strike. Normally, Poe uses 8-pound line and a small split-shot to make the jig sink faster in deeper water, but this varies depending on conditions.

“If I notice light strikes and fish running from my jig, I remove the split-shot from the line so it will sink more naturally,” Poe said. “Being able to inject the scent dough into the jighead also allows me to keep a smaller presentation instead of kneading it onto the hook.”

He likes to use the scented dough to make the fish strike harder and hold the jig longer.

Poe said Cypress Bayou’s crappie will become extremely spooky when low-pressure systems move in; they’ll scatter at the approach of a boat and trolling motor. When this happens, he changes techniques, going to a tiny, micro crankbait and fishing it over flooded timber and around laydowns.

“Casting the small crankbaits allows us to stay further away from the fish than when we were vertical-jigging, and this keeps the fish from running from the boat,” Poe said. “When the weather starts heating up, the action starts heating up.”

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