It was probably 20 years ago when I made my first and only visit to a Louisiana lake that has its ups and downs. I’m talking about Lake Yucatan, one of the many oxbow lakes in close proximity to the Mississippi River. My friend Mike Gammill from Oak Grove took me to the lake to give the crappie a try. We didn’t catch many but I was impressed by the size of the slabswe caught.
Looking at a map of Yucatan, it resembles a long and narrow question mark and what sets the lake apart from other oxbow lakes along the big river is the fact it is an “active” oxbow. This means that when the river rises or falls, the same thing happens to Yucatan because at the lower end of the lake, there is a two-mile long chute that connects the lake to the Mississippi River.
This rise of water levels in Yucatan produced when the river is high creates several situations for the lake. First, when the lake is very high, you can forget about fishing because access to the lake is next to impossible. While anglers wait for the water to fall, however, the mighty Mississippi is improving the quality of fish in the lake by pushing a boat load of nutrients into the lake which has the capacity to improve the size and quality of the fish along with replenishing the lake’s fish population.
For years, I have written and broadcast fishing reports from lakes around north Louisiana with Yucatan on my list of lakes I call each week. James Lachney from Gilbert who owned Yucatan Landing was my contact and he was always on the ball about keeping me abreast of what was happening on the lake.
Because of a health condition that curtailed his ability to see after the property, Lachney sold the business to his nephew, Gene Lachney, who is set to retire from the National Guard in a couple of years with Gene’s parents, Terry and Juanita Lachney running the landing until he retires. Today, my contact is Gene’s mom, Juanita who keeps me up to date on what is going on at the lake.
“The water level is low and on a slow fall right now and we had a wonderful weekend for the July 4 th holiday with all the campers filled and people from all over catching fish. The lake has been producing fine catches of not only big crappie but lots of bass, catfish and barfish,” she said.
“The lake is on a slow fall and this seems to be the absolute best time to catch fish. The water levels totally depend on what the Mississippi River is doing and when they get heavy rains up north to swell the river, we get high water here and sometimes we have to shut everything down and move out until the river and the lake levels start receding,” she added.
To keep up with the conditions for Yucatan Lake, all one needs to do is go on Facebook and search for Yucatan Landing where not only photos of proud anglers showing off their catches, there is also a graphic showing the stages of the Mississippi River and when it reveals that the river is falling, so is the lake. However when the line on the graph zoom upward, you can forget about fishing until water levels drop. Although you can’t fish the lake then, just know that the waters of Lake Yucatan are being replenished by fish and nutrients that are destined to keep the fishing up and going.
Yucatan Landing is located some five miles from the village of Newellton in Tensas Parish. For information on fishing conditions, camping sites available and other amenities, visit the Yucatan Landing page on Facebook or call the landing at 318/467-2259.
CANEY LAKE – The bass are schooling with some caught on topwater lures with soft plastics taking some beneath the breaking schools. Crappie are around the deeper tops in 16-18 foot water and have been fair on shiners and jigs. Bream fishing is fair around the lake on crickets or worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackleat 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream and crappie fishing is still fair to good around the trees and bushes. No report on bass. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Bass fishing has been fair to good fishing soft plastics and spinners in the cuts. Crappie are fair fishing shiners or jigs around submerged tops and in the river lakes. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass fishing has been fair to good with topwater lures and buzz baits taking fish early around the grass. Soft plastic working best later in the day. Crappie are fair with best catches made on shiners or jigs fished along the edges of the channels in 12-20 foot water. Bream are still fair to good fishing worms and crickets around shallow beds. Catfish are 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 – Bream are still hanging around shallow beds and fishing is fair to good on crickets and worms. Best fishing area for bream this week has been up Horse Creek. Crappie fishing has been best fishing around the lighted piers at night using shiners with some hanging around deep brush and hitting jigs and shiners. Bass have been schooling some and hitting topwater lures. Also fishing around and under the boat docks on soft plastics is working. No report on catfish. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Bass have been fair to good. Catfishing is fair while bream and crappie are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Fishing overall has been slow this week. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water continues on a slow fall and fishing has been fairly good this week. Best fishing has been for catfish while bass and crappie are fair. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
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