• The State of Poverty

    No, this is not a blog about the poor. This is about a small lake in north Louisiana. Poverty Point Reservoir is a 2700 acre lake located north of Delhi, Louisiana. It was constructed in 2005 as a bass lake, but its fertile waters with large populations of shad, have made it one of the best crappie fishing lakes in the state. The number one black crappie and six of the top ten white crappie records have all come from Poverty Point.

    In 2016 the lake exploded with 3lb crappie. Three of the top ten all were caught within weeks of each other. There was at least 15 fish reported that year that broke that magical 3lb mark. Those kinda of numbers of trophy fish would rival some of the best Mississippi lakes. This has been well publicized throughout the state and the country. It has brought many fishers from all over the country to this small hidden gem. But something has changed since 2016. Those trophy size crappie have seemed to disappear overnight or at least the past two years. Last year, a few trophy crappie were landed, but less than the year before. This year, as of the middle of March, no 3lb plus fish have been documented. They say crappie are cyclic, which may explain the decline in numbers of large fish. The decline in the numbers and size of the crappie fishing had prompted the wildlife and fisheries to allow commercial fishing for catfish and the many other predator fish that are abundant on the lake. That being said, for some unexplained reason, there were hybrid stripers released in the small impoundment 3 years ago according to the state park officials. This year has been the first reported catches and they are in great numbers. They average between two and three pounds and can grow as large as sixteen pounds. It is unclear to the officials I had spoken to, why they were put into the lake. Only time will tell whether there is a correlation between when they were released and the decline of the size of the crappie. This past week I made my annual journey from south Louisiana to the "land of the giants".

    It was evident that things had changed from the previous years. The numbers of crappie caught were good with some juvenile fish being caught also. We landed and released over 200 crappie in 5 days of fishing. The numbers of big fish caught were nowhere near the previous years. Many of the local crappie fishers had reported the same. As stated before, it just may be a cyclic event or perhaps the introduction of these hybrids affecting the fishery. Since I had no clue, or had ever heard of the hybrid program, I assumed we were catching giant white bass which have always been present in the lake. But after further inspection and some research between a white bass and hybrid, I was baffled as to where these fish had come from. No one I had talked to, nor I from my personal experiences had never caught a hybrid striper on the lake. Perhaps the strangest thing about this stocking program, is that no one reported catching these fish last year.

    The numbers are staggering. If you love catching hard pulling tenacious stripers, then the Point may be the place to go. But for the hard core crappie angler, this is just another nuisance fish that is destroying what was one of the best crappie fisheries in the state. Poverty Point is a beautiful small impoundment that provides some of the best fishing in the state. There are many varieties of fish to be caught. This includes black and white crappie, catfish, bluegill, white bass, largemouth bass, and now hybrid stripers. We landed and released over 100 hybrids between two to three pounds. By next year they may be 5lbs or better. It is hard to imagine hooking three or more of this fish at a time spider rigging that may weigh 5lbs or better. It could be that the big crappie will show up some time this spring or it maybe it's an off year. One thing is for certain, it is a magical fishery for its size. Please practice reasonable catches. Keep what you need and release the rest. Releasing the bigger spawning fish benefits the fishery and just might be the reason you will catch that fish of a lifetime the next time you are on the water. Good luck fishing. Hope to see ya on the water.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: The State of Poverty started by Bobfish11 View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. tenncrappie's Avatar
      tenncrappie -
      Wow! Did you have any line left on the spool?
    1. ET Fish's Avatar
      ET Fish -
      This is an excellent article. You are rapidly moving up the list of my favorite outdoor writers!
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Nice catch. Thanks for sharing the report and pictures.
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good read
    1. LowePro's Avatar
      LowePro -
      Awesome READ!!!!!
    1. skeetbum's Avatar
      skeetbum -
      Very good read Bob. Those are hard pulling fish. Hope your big crappie show up again.
    1. Dave and Lynn's Avatar
      Dave and Lynn -
      Good story and practice of catch and release is never a bad thing.
    1. Anchor Man's Avatar
      Anchor Man -
      Very nice
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      most folks that encounter hybrids on their home lakes don't care for them in the beginning and I saw the same thing many moons ago here in texas . the locals hated them but they encouraged anglers after big fish to come in droves from far away and that in turn helped the local communities .growing so fast it isn't funny and pulling like a wild freight train makes for a great fish story from the "average " joe tossing baits in the water and this is what the state says is the intention here . they give the average angler a very real chance to ketch a trophy sized fish .
      the local drift fisherman there at the lake I mentioned cussed them and the state kept putting them in ,they don't reproduce well if at all though and if the stockings stop they will go away at some point . they didn't seem to effect the fishery much from what I can tell though and in the case of that lake they do in fact attract lots of striped fish anglers ...
      chin up brother , maybe they will stop the stocking and maybe its just a cycle year there as well ....
      nice read
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