CANEY LAKE ON A BIG BASS RESURGENCE

Back in the early and mid-1990s, Caney Lake was living up to its name as the Jewel of Jackson Parish. Between the years of 1993 and 1996, six of the top ten bass listed in official and current Louisiana freshwater fish records were caught on Caney Lake, topped off by a behemoth
caught on February 12, 1994 by Greg Wiggins.

Flipping a jig next to a stump, Wiggins felt a thump of a bass that would put him atop Louisiana’s Top Ten list where today, 28 years later he’s still sitting in the catbird seat with a
fish officially weighing in at 15.97 pounds.

Things rocked along for years since Wiggins set the record with few serious challenges to the record reported as big bass production declined. Caney had gradually reverted to being a lake
like several others around the state where you had the chance to catch a good bass maybe in the seven to nine pound range.

This year, however, something is happening with Caney Lake bass today that makes one wonder how much longer Wiggins can wear the crown as big bass champ.

Heads were turned around the country a couple of weeks ago when Alabama angler Randy Howell, fishing the Major League bass fishing circuit landed a 10.11 pound lunker, his personal best and the largest every weighed in on that circuit.

Last week reports coming in from Caney were of five bass being weighed in at over 10
pounds each, topped by two bass each tipping the scales at over 13 pounds. It is becoming
obvious that something interesting and exciting is going on with this lake.

Mike Wood, retired fisheries biologist who spent years managing area lakes including Caney, was asked if there is the chance that a bass to challenge Wiggins’ record is swimming today on the lake.

“Absolutely,” said a confident Wood. “There is no reason to believe its not out there because Caney now has the essentials to make it happen.”

What is different about Caney Lake today that gives Wood such confidence of the lake’s
potential to produce another state record?

“The lake has three important elements that make this a real possibility. First, there is the
genetics of the bass on Caney. Then there is an abundant food source in shad and sunfish,
primary forage needed for bass to grow. Then,” he added, “there is aquatic vegetation now where it has been absent for years.”

In 1992, the lake was choked down with an abundance of hydrilla, a type of vegetation that is good for cover and is not problematic until there is too much of it. The decision by the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was to release a grass-eating fish, grass carp,
into the lake to try and control the vegetation.

“Too many carp were introduced to the lake and within a couple of years, Caney became like a big bathtub with virtually no cover for the fish,” Wood said. “Success with catching big bass declined to the point that Caney was no longer on top of the heap. We planted ‘tape grass’, a type of grass that can be controlled and does a good job of providing cover. Also, we have noticed that hydrilla is returning to the lake and that certainly provides what is needed to help produce bigger fish. However,” he added, “there is the potential down the road for the hydrilla to get out of hand once again.”

So there you have it. There is likely to be another state record bass enjoying the abundant
food and cover Caney Lake provides.

As Wood said, “somebody has just got to catch it.”

Greg Wiggins, 15.97 lb. bass

FISHING REPORT

CANEY LAKE – The big bass continue to attract attention with a 10.5, 9.9 and 8.3 reported.
Soft plastics and square bill crank baits fished very slow from 8 feet water in towards the bank
have been best lures to try this week. Crappie fishing is mixed with some still in deep water
while others are moving up. Shiners and jigs are working best. No report on bream or catfish.
For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey
Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Some good bass and crappie are being caught this week with a couple of
crappie over 3 pounds each.
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing is slow. No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-
8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is high and rising. No fishing reports this week. For latest
information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The bass are in transition with some moving shallow and some still deep
in the channels. Crank baits and soft plastics are best bets. Ditto for the crappie as they’re
beginning to move toward the shallows for the spring spawn while some are still holding back.
Some have also been caught below the spillway in the bayou. Shiners and jigs are both working. Bream have not started yet but catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been good with some of the bigger fish caught at
night on shiners and jigs. Days have been too windy which means most anglers are having their
best luck at night fishing around the piers. Bass fishing has been fair this week with Chatter Baits seeming to work best. No report on stripers, bream or catfish. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good on cold worms with mostly frying sized
fish caught. Crappie fishing has been off and on with shiners or jigs best bets. Bass fishing has
just starting to pick up. No report on bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at
318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The water is slowly rising again but still hard to launch a boat. Catfishing
has been good fishing off the piers with a few crappie caught as they begin to move up. No
report on bass or bream. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is rising rapidly and is now over the road to the landing. No
fishing this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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