Drawdown slated to end on Oct. 31
It’s easy to find the prime fishing spot to catch bass and sac-a-lait in October at Henderson Lake.
Just head for the canal paralleling Interstate 10 that intersects the middle of the lake east to west in St. Martin Parish. Really, after a drawdown lowered the lake level starting in August, there is far less room to roam with adequate water depth favorable for gamefish.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Inland Fisheries Division called for the drawdown to combat the spread of newly discovered giant salvinia, along with the ever-present water hyacinth and hydrilla. The ‘flats’ north and south of the interstate have been exposed to air and sunlight.
Field reports indicate there is grass — not underwater vegetation — growing on the south flats in front of the private boat landings, and water lilies have all but disappeared.
The lake is 3 feet below normal pool, according to the LDWF, so state officials are asking boaters to use caution in the area.
There is one more month left for the scheduled drawdown — October. On Nov. 1, LDWF plans to close the water control structure at the lower end of the lake to return the level to pool stage, just in time for duck hunting.
Until then, most of the larger boats still will be launching only at Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina, a private boat launch along the West Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee near Henderson. Small boats have been able to launch at Cypress Cove Landing, also along the levee, according to Laurette Mequet, who along with her husband, Mitch, own Cypress Cove Landing and Houseboat Adventures.
The I-10 public boat landing at the Butte La Rose exit has been closed because of low water, Mequet said. She wholeheartedly believes the drawdown, which is an inconvenience for many, is effective.
Bass fishing should be fair to good, mostly in front of drains along the deep canal that parallels I-10, Mequet said. Chartreuse/white spinnerbaits, mostly ¼-ounce models, and shallow-diving chrome/blue and chrome/black crankbaits and lipless crankbaits, like Rat-L-Traps, will account for most bass in October.
For sac-a-lait, fish along the interstate as well as at the railroad pilings just north of I-10. Sac-a-lait fishing success has been fair since the late summer drawdown, Mequet said, noting it should improve as the water cools.
She expects many of the slabs to be caught on hair jigs or tube jigs and some on shiners. For the artificials, she recommends either red/olive/chartreuse or red/black/chartreuse, with ¼-ounce being her favorite.
She recommended fishing 6 to 8 feet deep for the sac-a-lait.
To get to I-10 from Basin Landing and Cypress Cove Landing, boaters must head south along The Boulevard until they reach the canal at the end of Lake Bigeaux, then turn and head east to Lake Pelba. At Lake Pelba, head north to I-10.