° empty

8-pound or bigger fish hard to spot

A late season cold front passed through our area about midweek lowering air temperatures to the upper 40s.

The big news in the fishing scene continues to be the catfishing. The spawn is on. My email is loaded with pictures of huge catches of flathead, blue and channel cats.

Catfish are not too picky about what they eat. We are selling right at 200 pounds of skipjack a week and over 800 goldfish a week. There was a splurge of good bass fishing for numbers of small fish on the Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complex that may still be going on.

It was pretty easy to catch a dozen or more bass in the one to two-pound range. Lure type did not matter. Once you located the little bass, you could catch them on crank baits, light jigs, soft plastics and just about everything but surface lures.

Our water clarity has been really strange this spring. You can catch bass on surface lures from dingy waters, but the clearer the water the better the top water bite. Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish and Okhissa Lake in Franklin County water clarity looks good. Okhissa Lake is getting a lot of attention this month.

I believe this trophy bass lake is about 14 years old. Everyone is wondering why it has not peaked out and began producing numbers of 10-pound-plus bass. That is a good question. We are seeing a lot of fish in the 5-pound to 7-pound range that are long and lean with huge heads and should weigh 8 to 9 pounds but do not.

Many of us think the fish don’t have anything to eat. The biologists are thinking not enough fish under the protected slot length limit of 18 to 22 inches are being pulled from the lake and kept. In other words catch and release of bass on most lakes has caught on so well the experts think, we need to remove these small bass to give the big fish more to eat. I have not fished the lake a lot. But the times I have fished Okhissa, and the reports from people I spoke with that do fish this lake a lot, are not catching a lot of bass under 18 inches.

Currently, they are thinking about removing the protected slot so more fish will be removed from the lake. Removal of the slot is not a for sure. The biologists will continue studying the situation and do what they think is best to make this Bill Dance signature lake a true trophy bass fishery.

After a quick search of an overview of exactly what a Bill Dance Signature lake is, I found this on his website. Bill Dance Signature Lakes provides real estate developers, federal, state and local governments, hunting and fishing clubs and private landowners with the highest quality habitats for many species of fish.

Anyone with land, a bulldozer and a pump can build a lake. Creating a world-class fish habitat that is an amenity, a centerpiece and a value-added asset requires experience, skill and personal commitment.

“For years my friends have asked me for advice on lake design, management, forage improvement, how to create structure and cover in existing and new lakes,” according to Dance. “That has been so much fun to do that now we are accepting a limited number of opportunities to create great fishing destinations and provide ongoing oversight to protect our client’s investments.

“Our product increases property values and is an economic generator by adding a unique amenity created by one of the most respected names in the fishing industry.”

After reading this, my question is: Has the lake management asked Bill Dance what to do? Seems to me since they paid for the signature lake status, the correct answer would come from that company.

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