New Book, Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp – A MUST READ!


I just finished reading an outstanding book, Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp written by retired
wildlife biologist, Kelby Ouchley and it got me thinking about the swamps and woods I grew up around in rural Natchitoches Parish.

The “swamp” that stands out most in my memory couldn’t really qualify as a swamp; it
was a little creek that coursed through the woods at the feet of beeches and oaks not far behind our country home. Molido (pronounced Molly-doe) was where I learned to swim. It was the creek where I landed my first bass, killed my first squirrel, was victim to my first and only snake bite.

Ouchley delves deeply into the swamp where he grew up and currently lives by “offering
a kaleidoscopic view of Bayou D’Arbonne swamp that reveals its unique past and distinctive flora, fauna and people”.

Five miles or so from where I grew up was a “real” swamp, one I spent untold hours on
hunting, fishing and exploring. Saline swamp – it really is a swamp – is a larger stream into
which my Molido empties and eventually makes its way on to the Red River which empties into the Mississippi River which eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was along a certain stretch of Saline that as a kid, we dunked live crawfish impaled on
a hook into the waters where the bottom was a mixture of sand and gravel. It was there where we caught what we called “smallmouth” bass when in fact they were Kentucky or spotted bass.

In his book, Ouchley really triggered my memory when he wrote about catching
“smallmouth” bass along Bayou D’Arbonne.

Another favorite activity in spring along Saline was wading out in the backwaters and
scooping up the making of some of the best jelly known to man, mayhaws. Ouchley writes about doing the exact same thing in his swamp with a descriptive term that makes my mouth water.

He writes “Mayhaws are small trees found in forested wetlands of the Southeast that produce a fruit used to make one of the finest jellies ever to grace a buttermilk biscuit.”

Let’s cut to the chase right here. Kelby Ouchley’s writing style, in my opinion, rivals that
of any writer anywhere when it comes to his gift of painting pictures with the written word. I have copies of his other books including the popular “Bayou Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country” that validate my point of view.

Here’s an example in sharing his thoughts after a beautiful indigo bunting had crashed
into the window next to his office.

“For tens of thousands nights I have slept in this place on the edge of the swamp as wild
geese flew south and wild geese flew north, wings rustling the pages of my calendar, and now that I have surpassed seven decades of a life that has included many migrations, individuals of all species seem more important. Maybe it’s a softening of my hard science outlook, or perhaps it is because I’ve had a couple of near window strikes myself that I made the effort to bury the indigo bunting beneath my favorite wild azalea. Purposefully.”

Kelby Ouchley knows the bayou D’Arbonne swamp so well because he lives on a hill
overlooking this place he loves. His background in working with wildlife all his life when
coupled with his attachment to the natural world his swamp reveals to him is a gift few enjoy.
To order your own personally inscribed copy of Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp, contact
Ouchley at this address – Kelby Ouchley, 106 Heartwood Dr., Farmerville, LA 71241. His e-
mail address is swamprabbit101@gmail.com. Cost of the book including shipping and handling is $34.15.

”Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp written by Kelby Ouchley is sure to create interest in area readers.” Glynn Harris photo

FISHING REPORT

BLACK BAYOU – A few bream have been caught around the grass on worms and crickets.
Bass have been best fishing plastic frogs around grass. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is at pool stage. Crappie fishing is best fishing the tops in the
river with shiners or jigs. Bass are around the cuts and hitting shad imitations. For latest
information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been fair with best catches made in the flats just off the channel and deep sloughs on shiners or jigs. Look for the bass to be schooling and hitting shad imitation lures. Also some are being caught around the grass on fake frogs, Rat-L-Traps and topwater lures. Bream are scattered and fair while catfish are biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been improving with some really nice-sized fish
being caught along channel edges. The Isaac Creek area along with the Thousand Foot Channel are producing best. Shiners and jigs are both producing catches. Both bass and stripers are schooling around the lake and hitting shad imitation lures. Catfishing has been fair to good on set hooks using small bream for bait. Some are also being caught on yo-yos. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Some catches of bream are being reported on crickets or night crawlers. Bass are schooling with the size of schooling fish being in the 2-3 pound range whereas they had been running smaller. Shad imitation lures are working best. Crappie fishing has been fair to good fishing jigs or shiners around deep brush. 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.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfish continue to be about the only thing biting with an
occasional crappie being reported. No report on bass or bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is quite low but fishing has been good for catfish and bass.
Crappie are best fishing around the old piers. For information, call Surplus City Landing at
318/467-2259.

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