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The effects of bad spawning

Published 12:01am Sunday, December 22, 2013

If the rains continue, low water will not be a problem when the bass and perch spawn kicks off in 2014.

On the Louisiana side of the big river, we always have the water in the lakes, but when the bass move up to the old spawning areas, the water is drawn out from under them.

It has been several years since we had a really good bass spawn on the landlocked oxbow lakes in Concordia Parish. We are now feeling the effects of bad spawning years. We still catch fish, but when winning five bass tournament limits drop from the 20-plus pound range to 12 pounds or less, we have a problem.

The sad thing is we have to work hard to catch a five-bass limit in the tournament on most days. Results of the many local club and open bass tournaments are a great way to keep track of what is going on with the bass population.

Before the LDWF budget cuts, biologists would show up at most tournaments, measure, weigh and keep records. It has been ten years since I saw a biologist at a bass tournament. It is something I just do not understand.

Texas has been known as the trophy bass capital. Alabama took note of this and now, that state is a destination state from thousands of bass fishermen and ladies. I cannot understand why Louisiana and Mississippi do not realize the millions of dollars Texas and Alabama make off of the sport of bass fishing. We have the climate, and we certainly have the water.

I was told they (LDWF) do not have the funds to stock our lakes. Every lure sold has a tax on it that is supposed to be used to stock our lakes and maintain public ramps as well as fund research.

From what I can tell, those funds were “robbed” and used for something else. Go figure. A slight investment in stocking, maintaining and enforcement of creel and length limits would be returned tenfold. Where those funds went is unknown.

We had a lot of rain. Lake levels are up, but they will not stay up long. The lake levels are another problem we have. Many newer piers were built low to the water during a low-water period, so now our lakes are held lower than normal, which dries up the spawning flats. Add the silt factor, which also takes away from the depths and the fish have limited places to spawn.

Now that my rant is over, let’s see what is going on with the fishing. With January approaching Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish will get a lot of attention from the bass anglers. Lake Bruin is one of the best cold water lakes simply because it is a deep lake with a sandy bottom that never stays muddy very long.

Crawgator and Elk River jigs as well as jigging spoons will catch a lot of bass in January from Lakes Bruin, St. John and Concordia.

On the Mississippi side of the river, we are limited to two public reservoirs; the little 250 acre Natchez State Park and the 100 acre Okissa Lake in Franklin County. Okissa is a great deep water reservoir, but with just 1,100 acres and half of that not fishable because of extreme depths, the areas that hold fish get hammered.

Thank goodness there is a protected slot limit that requires 18- to 22-inch bass be released immediately. We still have fish in our lakes, but we have to work hard these days to catch them.

My family and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and God bless all.