New year brings new fishing chancesPublished 12:01am Sunday, January 1, 2012
The year 2011 was one to remember and for some one they would like to forget.
All in all it was a great year for fishing on some of our area waters and not so good in other areas.
We had record high water levels on one side of the levee that created panic along the Mississippi River. On the protected side of the levee we had near record low water levels on the area lakes due to lack of rainfall. Once the Mississippi River dropped to a favorable stage for fishing (which is approximately 35 feet on the Natchez gauge) we enjoyed some great fishing on the Old Rivers thanks to the flood.
High water years are always followed by some great months of fishing on the live oxbow lakes. Limits of bass, sac-a-lait and bream were easy to come by on the Old Rivers until approximately Dec. 1.
A fast rise came down the river and brought the level up to just above 45 feet. The river stage at Natchez Friday was 45 feet with a slight fall coming down river followed by yet another rise.
A late fall rise on the river is a seasonal deal, so we are used to it. When this happens we stop fishing the live oxbow lakes in favor of the more stable level of the dead oxbow lakes that are protected by the levees.
The fish in the Old Rivers spread out in thousands of acres of flooded timber which makes them hard to locate.
Those fish will remain undisturbed until late June of this year.
We fish the landlocked waters when the river rises above 35 or 40 feet. That’s one of the unique things about this area if you are a person that loves to fish. We have a so many types of water that when one area is off the other is on.
Thanks to the recent rain, some of our landlocked lakes are at pool stage. One more rain and Lake Concordia will be as full as it is going to get.
On the other hand the water shed fisheries like the Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complex in southern Concordia Parish and the Saline/Larto Complex in Catahoula Parish are high and rising. We are used to that as well.
The complexes are water shed lakes and bayous that drain the parishes. Unlike the Old Rivers you can still catch fish during the higher levels on these two water sheds.
Current coming down the bayous stack the fish up in certain areas. If you are at the right place at the right time these two complexes offer some of the best winter fishing in the area.
Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish is well known as a great winter bass and white perch lake. On Sept. 1 the gates were open on Ruth’s Canal and the lake level fell approximately 4 feet. They are supposed to close the gates today and let the lake fill back up.
A fall drawdown is good for a lake. Low water allows the silt in the flats to dry up. The game fish spawn more successfully on a hard bottom than a silted over bottom.
We’ll be on Lake Bruin kicking off this year’s open bass tournament season Feb. 4 with the 25th Annual J.R. Roberts Memorial Team Bass Challenge. This long running event continues to be the largest bass tournament in the area.
We usually have right at 100 boats with 200 people on Lake Bruin to cast for cash in memory of my dad, J.R. Roberts.
I’ll have the entry forms available this coming week. Happy New Year to all!
Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.