Local lakes not producing big fish in numbers

Published 12:02am Sunday, June 5, 2011

We have a strange situation going on with our lakes and rivers this month.

On one side of the levee we had a record flood level that has finally become history.

On the other side of the levee, on the landlocked lakes, we have low water levels.

To say the fishing on the landlocked lakes has been tough this year is an understatement.

If you get up early and cast your arm off with surface lures you may scratch out a few skinny bank runners but big bass are just not showing up in Concordia Parish lakes.

Unlike the 1990s, when Lake Concordia and the Natchez State Park lakes were pumping out 8 to 18 pound bass and 30 to 40 bass a day, a 5 pound bass and a 5 fish limit in eight hours of fishing is now considered a very good catch.

That’s not fun.

Back in the ‘90s a 5 pound fish wouldn’t get a second look. The Mississippi record largemouth weighing 18.054 pounds was caught from the Natchez State Park in the 1990s.

People came from all over to fish the little park lake and to fish Lake Concordia.

For three or four years, all I did was guide, fish, fish tournaments, write columns, record fishing shows and direct bass tournaments. The good fishing lasted about 10 years.

The Lake Concordia record 13.05 pound bass was caught in the 1990s.

In 2000 the 15 to 19 inch protected slot limit was lifted from Lake Concordia when some locals put a petition out because they didn’t want to release fish that were in the slot.

Then the Largemouth Bass Virus in 2000 and 2001 wiped out what fish were left.

Grass carp were stocked in the Natchez State Park lake, and the trophy bass disappeared.

It takes lakes with vegetation and management to grow big fish and a lot of fish.

So here we sit 10 years later with some beautiful waters and no fish. To catch big bass, white perch and bream now we have to travel and spend our money elsewhere.

That is a shame.

We have the water, we just don’t have the management.

Over in Franklin County, Okhissia Lake will probably be the next trophy bass producer. It is a very strictly managed and well stocked reservoir that will soon reach its prime.

The bass in our area lakes are so beat up it’s getting to be work just to catch a five bass tournament limit in eight and a half hours.

I wish the LDWF would see the need for a slot limit to be reinstated on Lake Concordia and a stocking program put into effect.

Maybe a petition would help, but first we need water in the lake before it can be stocked.

The weir on Lake Concordia still remains in disrepair despite local sportsmen’s efforts to get it fixed. The top boards that were removed by the Lake Committee right in the middle of the bass and bream spawn are still not in place.

That destroyed this year’s spawn.

Even if we get the rain we need it will just flow right out of the lake.

I do not understand the reason for this, but hopefully since the flood scare is gone we can once again focus our efforts on getting the boards back in place and the weir repaired.

Until then we will just have to be content with empty livewells, swimming and playing in stagnant waters.

One thing we do have to look forward to is fishing the Old Rivers and backwaters once the boating ban is lifted.

I believe that will happen on June 8th.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net