A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR LAKE CLAIBORNE

She’s old, gotten fairly long in the tooth and like most of us, we tend to slow down once this happens to us. There is hope, however, for one of this area’s favorite lakes, Lake Claiborne.

I was fortunate to live in Homer when the lake was constructed and watched water begin trickling over the spillway half a century ago indicating that at long last the lake was now what it was designed to be, a brand new 6400 acre body of water that would provide recreational opportunities not only for the folks living in Claiborne Parish but around north Louisiana as well.

I found a lot on the Beaver Creek branch of the lake, put my money down and purchased the lot so I could enjoy what this new lake had to offer, and boy, did it offer some good stuff.

After purchasing the lot, clearing it off, I did something then I couldn’t think of doing
now. With the help of friends, I built a pier and boat house where I kept my ski boat and fishing boat and there weren’t many afternoons after work that I was not out there taking my kids skiing and searching for some of the best fishing holes.

One particular hot spot for bass was a row of green willows that grew in the middle of
Beaver Creek just a long cast from my pier. This was one of the hottest spots on the lake to ease up early morning before the sun began to peak over the distant trees to the row of willows, cast out a Tiny Torpedo next to the greenery. I’ve had successful fishing trips since but nothing to me was more fun than being close enough to be able to glance over my shoulder at my boat house, cast the lure and watch a bass explode on it.

Man, that was some genuine fun.

I eventually moved from Homer, sold my lot and my trips back to the lake became fewer and further between and it was just as well because the red hot fishing Claiborne had offered was starting to wane. The lake began acting like most lakes with some age on them as vegetation died away and things just weren’t the same any longer.

Something has happened to this half a century old lake over the past few years. First off, the Lake Commission arranged to purchase and release in the lake a species of bass that would hopefully add a shot in the arm to the lake, Tiger bass.

Genetically, they’re a special combination of native largemouth and those of the Florida strain that while not having the potential of growing as large as pure Florida’s, tend to be more aggressive and more likely to strike a lure.

I recently visited with Fisheries Manager for Northwest Louisiana for the Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Jeff Sibley, who is responsible for the management of Lake Claiborne.

“In addition to the Tiger bass that have been released in the lake over the past five years or so, our department is also releasing pure Florida bass which may not be as easy to catch but have the potential of growing quite big,” Sibley said.

Another shot in the arm for Claiborne took place a few weeks ago when the Major
League Fishing circuit was in Louisiana fishing on Caney Lake and Bussey Brake. This group has a habitat project they fund on lakes in the states where their tournaments are held.

“They choose a lake not on the tournament circuit and this year they chose Claiborne and contributed some $25,000 to improve the fishing habitat. Special fish attracting structures were put together and placed in the lake in several locations, mainly around the State Park with coordinates available so anglers could locate the structures that should attract fish,” he said.

Time will tell if these “shots in the arm” will return Lake Claiborne to one anglers will be hitting more frequently with the real possibility of bringing in bragging sized fish.

”This beautiful sunrise on Lake Claiborne gives indication of new birth on the lake as recent activities indicate its fishery should improve.”
Glynn Harris photo

FISHING REPORT 

CANEY LAKE – Deep diving crank baits are picking up some bass on the deeper drops while Carolina rigs and swim baits are working fairly well along the grass lines. Crappie have moved back and some have been caught on shiners or jigs around deeper brush. The bream are bedded and hitting crickets and worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

BLACK BAYOU – Bream are on the beds and hitting worms and crickets. Crappie and
bass are fair. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.

BUSSEY BRAKE –Big bass in the 8-10 pound category are being caught flipping the
brush along with spinners. Crappie have slowed; bream are on the beds and hitting
worms and crickets. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is on a slight rise and fishing overall is rather slow. For
latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass are in post spawn mode and have moved deeper. Spinners, crank baits and soft plastics are picking up some fish. Crappie have moved to the deeper flats with some caught in 18-20 foot deep water on shiners or jigs. Bream are on the beds and hitting worms and crickets. Catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – The bream bite is on as they have moved to shallow spawning
areas and are hitting crickets. Crappie fishing has been best up the creeks on shiners or jigs. Bass are in a post spawn mode with some 4-6 pounders caught on crank baits or soft plastics. Catfish are being caught on trotlines. No report on stripers. For latest
information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.

LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfish and bream are biting. Bass and crappie slow to fair.
For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call
Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

LAKE YUCATAN – The water is rising and except for barfish and catfish, fishing is
slow. Water should crest this weekend and begin a slow fall. For information, call
Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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