Lake D’Arbonne has been on fire lately as crappie tournament circuits from around the country have been focused on the lake as one of the country’s best hot spots for catching crappie. However, a potential problem has emerged regarding the lake’s ability to continue to produce bragging sized crappie. As a result, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has proposed new regulations focused on these popular fish.

Ryan Daniels, freshwater fisheries biologist with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries based in Monroe, oversees Lake D’Arbonne.

“The Commission adopted new regulations for crappie on the lake. The proposal calls for the establishment of a daily limit of seven fish over 12 inches in length with the overall daily limit continuing at 50 fish,” said Daniels.

The reason for the restrictions on fish over 12 inches, said Daniels, is that studies are showing a decline in the numbers of large fish in the lake. Setting the daily limit at seven for the larger fish adds protection of larger fish, he added.

“We realize that during crappie tournaments, participants can weigh in seven fish each day and we want to keep it at seven in consideration of tournament anglers,” he said.

Some crappie fishermen have for a long time been concerned about keeping the daily limit at 50 feeling this puts too much pressure on the population and adding that there is no need for anglers to bring that many fish out of the lake each day.

“We have done creel counts many times at boat launches and have found that very few fishermen are keeping even as many as 20 fish. We did not see a single angler with 50 fish. By keeping the daily limit at 50, we are attempting to encourage fishermen to keep more of these smaller fish because there is no shortage of smaller fish in the lake,” Daniels said.

Wesley Miller, professional crappie fishing guide believes that the new rules are headed in the right direction.

“The piney woods that make up D’Arbonne’s watershed don’t have a lot of nutrients so the crappie don’t grow as quickly as they do in more fertile bodies of water. I have a problem with the 50 fish limit as I believe that is far too many fish per day. Today’s technology is making it so much easier to catch fish more consistently,” Miller said.

Miller pointed out that he fishes lakes in Texas and Arkansas, states that have more restrictive daily limits.

“There are much better crappie populations there than here in Louisiana, both in numbers and size,” Miller added.

Keith Johnson, former Ruston resident who regularly fished for crappie on D’Arbonne is happy that the limit for fish over 12 inches is being proposed but in agreement with Miller, believes the daily limit of 50 is too high.

“I think they should drop the limit to 25 fish per day. D’Arbonne is a jewel of a crappie fishery and in my opinion, dropping the daily limit is the responsible thing to do,” Johnson said.

Now is the time for anglers interested in the crappie fishery on D’Arbonne to takeadvantage of the 60 day comment period to express concerns and make their wishes and suggestions known.

At the end of the period, the Commission will vote on whether or not to put these regulations into effect.

“I look for the decision to be made at the earliest in November,” Daniel said, “but it will probably be in early 2023.”

”The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is proposing placing a 7 fish limit on fish 12 inches long or longer to protect these larger fish.” Courtesy photo


CANEY LAKE – Crappie are fair fishing shiners or jigs around the deeper tops. The bass are schooling with some caught on topwater lures with soft plastics taking some beneath the breaking schools. Also some bass are hitting oversized plastic worms and deep diving crank baits on under water humps and drop-off. Bream fishing is fair around the lake on crickets or worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 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 – Water still falling 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 – Bass and stripers are schooling some and hitting topwater lures and shad imitations. Bream are fair on crickets and worms. 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. No report on catfish. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing is fair to good for fish from pan sized to around 8 pounds. Bass are fair; 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 Mahoneyat 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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