By: Glynn Harris

            North Louisiana is known for lakes that produce big bass. Caney Lake holds the state record with other lakes such as D’Arbonne, Claiborne, Bistineau, Black and Caddo getting in on the action as well.

            There is one lake, however, that has quietly and without fanfare, been a quality bass producer since it was formed 63 years ago when Kepler Creek was impounded to form 2000 acre Kepler Creek Reservoir, locally known as Kepler Lake.

            Billy Willis, 62 year old bass angler from Ruston, has caught bass in virtually all these lakes but had not really tried for big bass on Kepler until this past weekend.

            “A guy I work with has a friend who has been telling him about catching big bass on Kepler so I decided to give it a try,” said Willis.

            Arriving at the lake around 7:00 Saturday morning August 22, the lake nestled and virtually hidden in the hills of Bienville Parish, Willis spent several hours without catching a bass. It was not until around 11:00 that his luck changed for the better.

            “There were a couple of other bass fishermen on the lake and they were picking up some schooling fish, nothing of any size. They eventually moved on so I moved into the area where they had been fishing. This lake is loaded with stumps and the bass had been schooling around a particular area. I noticed that the stump line was in about three feet of water but there was a drop off next to the stump line that dropped quickly to six feet. I decided to give it a try,” Willis said.

            He was fishing with a Shimano reel mounted on a 7’4” Falcon rod with 20 pound fluorocarbon line. His preferred method of fishing is using a Carolina rig and below a swivel, he had tied a two to three foot 12 to 15 pound leader, a 2-0 hook to which was attached a green pumpkin Fluke with gold flake.

            “There were lots of shad in the area so this color matched what the fish were feeding on. I caught a couple of school fish around the stumps and I decided to back off and fish the drop off that was away from the stumps,” he said.

            Casting to the edge of the drop off, Willis let the lure go to the bottom and immediately felt something hit. He set the hook and knew it was into something pretty big because it hardly budged, he continued.

            “Fortunately I was able to work the fish away from the stumps into the deeper water but because it never came to the top, I assumed I’d hooked a big catfish because most bass will come to the surface and try to shake off. This fish just kept pulling until it seemed to give up and I was able to bring it to the boat. It was only then that I saw I’d hooked a really big bass,” he said.

            Placing the bass in his live well, Willis noticed that the bass quickly turned belly up. He had planned to release the fish but because of the stress or the heat of the day, the fish soon expired.

            He had no scale with him and it was only after he returned home a couple of hours later that he weighed the dead fish which tipped the scales at 10 pounds, 9 ounces. One has to wonder what the big female would have weighed when she was full of eggs in March rather than in August.


BUSSEY BRAKE –Bream are fair on worms and crickets. No report on crappie or catfish. Bass are fair with a few in the 5 pound range caught around the trees on soft plastics and jigs.

BLACK BAYOU –  Bream are fair; others are slow. Contact 323-8707 for latest information.

OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie are fair in the river around submerged tops and in the river lakes fishing 8 feet deep in 10-12 foot water. Bass have been fair fishing the mouth of the cuts on soft plastics. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing the old sloughs 10-12 feet deep in 15-18 foot water on shiners or jigs. Bass have been best in the sloughs fishing around grass and moss on topwater lures, spinner baits and jigs. Bream have slowed and are fair on crickets and worms. Catfishing has been good fishing off the banks with cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing continues to be fair to good fishing around the deeper tops with shiners working best. Bass have been slow this week. Stripers continue to school and are hitting shad imitations, spoons and white bucktails. Catfishing has been fair to good tightlining cold worms. The bream bite has been quite slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

CANEY LAKE – A few smaller bass have been caught in breaking schools on topwater lures and shad imitations. Crappie are slow this week. Bream fishing has been slow to fair with a few caught fishing worms or crickets around the piers. Catfish are slow. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE POVERTY POINT – Bass are slow to fair but one over 8 pounds was caught this week. Catfishing is fair for smaller sized fish while crappie and bream are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.

LAKE ST. JOHN – No report. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.

LAKE YUCATAN – Water is falling and this past weekend fishing was good for crappie, bass and bream. Catfishing is good at both ends of the chutes. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

LAKE BRUIN – Fishing overall is quite slow this week. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075

Billy Willis, Ruston angler, displays his 10 lb., 9 ounce bass he caught on Kepler Lake.

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