Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Fishing hot spots abound around North Louisiana

Confession time. I've been remiss, gotten a little lazy really, in not spending more hands-on time on the north Louisiana waterways located in my area of coverage. Oh, I'll sneak out to a pond occasionally or maybe even work up a trip to Claiborne, Caney or D'Arbonne but I haven't given the outstanding fishing spots in the northern half of the state the hands-on test they deserve.

Thankfully, I had the privilege of accompanying a group of writers on a visit last week to some of the more popular fishing hot-spots around the northern part of the state. The Explore Louisiana North group did all the work to put together an exciting fishing "fam" last week that gave me a new appreciation of what all our blessed part of the country has to offer those of us who love to fish.

In coming weeks, we'll put the bulls-eye on specific areas we visited but today, here is an overview of how this exciting week went.

The group met in Shreveport with the first destination being the big-daddy-of-all lakes, Toledo Bend that eats up a bunch of the Louisiana Texas border, 186,000 acres of it, in fact. After a tour around the top-shelf 18-hole golf course at Cypress Bend, the group climbed aboard a party barge for a very productive crappie fishing trip under the tutelage of two expert guides, J.T. Thompson and Jim Shanley, owners of Living the Dream guide service.

Next stop was the National Fish Hatchery in Natchitoches where among other species, they actually rear alligator gar, with the trip continuing on to Alexandria for a tour of Bill Lewis Lures, manufacturers of the wildly popular Rat-L-Trap lures.

Next on the agenda was a visit to a genuine oasis in the Catahoula Parish woods, indescribable Honey Brake Lodge located on the shores of Larto Lake. Although a tight schedule didn't give us time to fish this crappie honey-hole, getting to spend a few hours on this facility with its four-story main lodge, was a treat in itself.

Departing Honey Brake, our next stop was way up north to Bayou Dorcheat in Webster Parish. As an aside, Johnny Wessler, our tour guide, set his GPS for the best route to guide us from the bowels of Catahoula to the bayous of Dorcheat. I had always thought the lady with the friendly sounding voice on my GPS could be completely trusted. However, when her instructions to "turn left" put us on a gravel road and her "turn right" sent us on a dirt road into the middle of a muddy rice field, this lady's instructions became suspect. Fortunately, Wessler's belief in her waned, we returned to the "black top" road and eventually made our way to Webster Parish.

Famed pro bass fisherman, Homer Humphreys, gave the group a tour of one of the most beautiful old-south streams to be found anywhere, Bayou Dorcheat.

From there, our next destination was sprawling cypress tree-studded Caddo Lake, another lake Louisiana shares with Texas. Fishing cold worms along the margin of the cypresses, we were soon fighting channel catfish with a few tenacious gaspergou (freshwater drum) thrown in for good measure.

After over-nighting in the swanky hotel at Sam's Town in Shreveport, it was time to head home, but not before we were treated to a ride through downtown Shreveport. This ride, however, didn't feature congested traffic, red lights or orange construction cones. We climbed aboard the Spirit of the Red, a 35 passenger cruise boat and enjoyed a smooth and quiet ride up the Red River. Instead of orange cones, we saw blue herons.

I came away with the conviction that the northern half of Louisiana is, indeed, home to some of the most exciting fishing/boating/bird watching/exploring areas on the face of the Earth. For sure, it made me want to wet a hook. Check it out at "http://www.explorelouisiananorth.org" www.explorelouisiananorth.org and I think you will too.

Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.






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