Deep is relative at Lake D’Arbonne

Deep is a relative term. If all the surrounding water is one or two feet deep, then a 4-foot channel winding through that shallow flat is deep. Therefore, bass anglers that think they have to fish deep during the summer don’t have to head to 20-foot channels. As is the case on Lake D’Arbonne, a 2-foot flat will do nicely as long as you fish the 4-foot hole.

Chris Burnham, owner of Old River Lure Company that makes a staple spinnerbait for North Louisiana and Mississippi called the Mr. Hooty, lives on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville.

After weeks of fishing bass tournaments in east Texas, he finally had the chance to fish his home lake recently, and rather than head for the winding creek-channel holes in the main lake, he headed straight to the back of Corney Creek and pushed his Bass Cat into water so shallow his trolling motor continually kicked up the bottom.

“We’re going to start back here by this grass,” he said while unwinding a big glob of it off his trolling motor propeller. “It may be a little tough going, but we’re going to try to get bit on some buzzbaits and frogs.”

It didn’t take long for Burnham to realize that the water had dropped a little bit and that we were spinning our wheels trying to fish the shallowest part of the flat back in Boatwright Creek.

Pointing back toward the serpentine channel, he announced that we would find our bass somewhere between where we were and the edge of that channel. He reasoned that the bass would move toward the channel in an effort to not get trapped in shallow water.

The water got only slightly deeper as evidenced by his depth finder dropping from 1 foot to maybe 1.9 or 2. A bass slashing into some bait got his attention. A few more that fed immediately after the first one kicked his mind into overdrive.

“I’ll bet you there’s some deeper water over there,” he said while trying to get to the action without spooking the fish. “Notice how the bass are all in the same general spot? We’re going to get over there and see what’s up, but I bet there is a little drop on the other side of this ridge that’s giving us trouble right now.”

Since our stealth approach had gone out the window, Burnham kicked up his motor and bulldozed his way across the ridge. As soon as he got to where the action had happened, he put his trolling motor back down and smiled.

“Told you,” he said. “Four foot of water on this side. We’ll fish around a while and let this water settle down, and we’re going to catch these fish.”

Sure enough, within 30 minutes, the bass started feeding again. Only this time, we were in position to reach them with our buzzbaits, poppers and soft jerkbaits. Before noon, we caught and released about 15 bass up to four pounds from this “relatively” deep water.

“You don’t have to fish the channels during the summer,” Burnham concluded as we idled back toward his dock. “You’ll probably catch bigger fish out there, but there are other ways to catch bass during the summer. Hit these flats first thing in the morning, and you can put together a quick limit. Then you can go to the channels and try for a big bite.”

Or, you could just do like we did and stay put on the flat until noon. A little cloud cover or some misty rain will extend the shallow action, so pick a day when the sun isn’t shining so brightly.

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About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at