Rains will help spawns on lakes

Published 12:13am Sunday, February 5, 2012

Needless to say low water levels on the area lakes was a problem for most of 2011, but it is no longer a problem.

A lot of rain fell this week, and it was certainly welcomed. The timing could not have been better.

Conditions are shaping up for an excellent bass and sac-a-lait spawn. Our area landlocked lakes went from near record low levels to well above pool stage.

I feel sure whoever is in charge of lakes Concordia, St. John and Bruin will open the weirs and let some water out to bring the level down to pool stage.

Lake property owners, local anglers and the many people that come here to fish are calling me hoping the lake levels will remain higher than last year — a year where we basically lost an entire fish spawn on some lakes.

No one could predict last year’s drought, but maybe it was a lesson learned and they will leave us some water in the lakes just in case we have another drought.

The fishing in January — a month that is usually not that great — was very good this year thanks to above-average water temperature. In fact, we had colder water temperatures in late December of 2011 than we had the entire month of January.

The average water temperature for early February is about 50-52 degrees. Right now you can find some pockets of water during the middle of a sunny day as warm as 60 to 62 degrees.

The warmer water is usually located along the northwest side of the lakes because those areas are protected from cold north winds.

The bass and perch spawn kicks off when the water temperatures rise to approximately 57 to 58 degrees. That usually happens from mid-February to early March. So we may have a very early spawn this year with higher than normal water levels.

Even if we get a couple of major fronts in the next two weeks the fish are already moving up, so the spawn will still be early. That’s great news for fishing in the future.

Anytime we have a good spawn the fish that hatch that year will reach a catchable stage in two to three years.

Big bass on the landlocked oxbow lakes on the Louisiana side are rare. In areas where 8- to 10-pound bass used to be common a 5- to 6-pound bass is now considered a rare catch.

Hopefully the spawn this year will change that and just maybe we’ll get better regulations on our lake with more enforcement.

It was so nice in the 1990s when Lake Concordia was designated a trophy-bass lake and a 15- to 19-inch protected slot limit was in place.

During that time the 13.05-pound lake record largemouth bass was caught, as well as a 12-pound bass, numerous 10-pound fish and a lot of 7s and 8s.

Some people tell me I live in the past and those days are gone. Those days of hundreds of people traveling to this area to spend their money on motels, gas and food could come back if the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the local people would like to see the great fishing of the 1990s again.

No matter what some people think, the slot limit and stocking program was a success on Lake Concordia. The hundreds of bass-tournament records I have and personal records I keep indicate such.

All we need is a slot limit and a stocking program on Lake Concordia or Lake St. John.

I heard the LDWF is conducting a survey on our lakes but I don’t know the status of the studies or what the plans are. Hopefully they plan to help our fisheries return to the great fishing waters they used to be.