Randy Howell is a big fan of Caney Creek and Bussey Brake after setting back-to-back records there during Stage One of the 2022 Bass Pro Tour. Angler: Randy Howell.OCTOBER 5, 2022 • TYLER BRINKS • BASS PRO TOUR
MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. – The 2022 season kicked off on a trio of relatively unknown lakes outside of Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana: Lake D’Arbonne, Caney Creek, and Bussey Brake Lake. They were a pleasant surprise for both competitors and fans watching as anglers placed several massive bass on SCORETRACKER®. The big fish parade was headlined by Randy Howell’s Bass Pro Tour record, a 12-pound, 14-ounce behemoth from Bussey Brake during the Championship Round.
Caney Creek and Bussey Brake will host the fourth annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event in 2023 (April 24-29). Caney Creek will be the site of the first five days of fishing before the event shifts to Bussey Brake for the Championship Round.
Howell leads the pack of Heavy Hitters qualifiers and is thrilled to be returning to Louisiana for this event.
“I was excited to see it when the schedule was announced, and I pray that I can make it to the final day,” he said of a chance to beat his record. “We were there in February, and it was freezing. I could imagine how good it will be with warmer weather, throwing topwaters around those bushes.”
While Bussey Brake pumped out some monsters, Caney Creek produced a 10-11 for Howell during the Knockout Round.
“Caney is a great lake and the grass was just starting to grow the last time we were there,” he said. “Later in the year, it should be much healthier, and the fish should be done spawning and feeding up. I can see big topwaters, swimbaits, and a bladed jig catching some big bass.”
Stage One – Lake D’Arbonne, Caney Creek Reservoir, Bussey Brake
West Monroe, Louisiana (Feb. 5-10)
The “new” kicks off immediately with Stage One on Lake D’Arbonne, Caney Creek Reservoir and Bussey Brake, three big-fish lakes located north and west of Monroe, Louisiana.
“Stage One has the potential to be the tournament of the year if we get the right weather and conditions line up: I think we’ll catch some monster freaks in those lakes,” Bertrand said.
One of the most amazing lakes for fishing and recreation has been a hidden gem until recently. Built in 1986, Caney Lake is located in Jackson Parish and even though small, it has continued to grow in popularity. Caney Lake continues to hold the state record for largemouth bass at 15.97lbs. and 6 of the top 10 state records in Louisiana.
It has long been known that Caney Lake, located in Jackson Parish, is a very good fishery, especially for bass. What a lot of people don’t realize is just how good of a crappie lake it has become. This 5,000-acre lake not only produces trophy size bass but the size of the crappie, or white perch as they are commonly referred to, is nothing to sneeze at either. Back in the late 80’s, when the lake first opened, with the focus being on the largemouth bass, the white perch weren’t even on the radar. During the first few years the lake was open, most of the white perch were caught at night during the fall and winter months by fishing under lanterns out in the deeper waters found in front of the spillway vertically fishing with shiners. On any given night the flotilla of boats looked like a small city but they caught numbers and they caught big ones as well! A lot has changed since the early days of white perch fishing on Caney. The seriousness of the fishermen that chase them rivals that of even the most serious of bass anglers. The techniques have improved, the equipment is much better and the anglers are smarter. While some anglers still fish for them at night in the later parts of the year, white perch fishing has become a year-round quest. Here are some tips that will help you get started. Spring The interesting thing to remember about white perch is they will move shallow to spawn about the same time the bass move up. The magic water temperature is usually around 62 degrees. Look for wind protected pockets and fish in the 2 to 4-foot range or look maybe just a bit deeper than you would if you were looking for spawning bass. Shallow flats with wood cover are white perch magnets in the spring time but with the lake having grass in it now, make sure you give those areas a look as well. This is the time of year when many anglers prefer using ultra-light rods and beetle spins and fan cast areas looking for spawning white perch. The spider rid has become an effective tool for crappie anglers so jig poles are a good method to use as well. The fish are usually pretty aggressive but pay attention to the how’s and why’s of each fish you catch. One fish will lead you to the next fish. Another quick tip: With Caney’s water being as clear as it is, use more natural colors in your lure choices. Summer As the baitfish go, so do the white perch. Much like when bass get through spawning, white perch will move out to deeper water areas to spend their summers. The key word is “deeper”. Finding the magic combination of depth, cover and baitfish is the key and since the water clarity is so good, the deeper the perch tend to go in the summer. Planted brush piles are perch magnets. When using your electronics pay extra attention to the depths you have located fish. This can be a common factor throughout the rest of the lake. White perch in the summer are usually baitfish oriented so the presence of shad in the areas you are fishing are extremely important. Many anglers still incorporate the spider rig technique when searching for summer time white perch but once an area is located, casting to them with an ultra-light combo armed with a double jig set up can be hard to beat. The most popular jig head size is usually a 1/16-ounce size. Fall Due to the water cooling off, this is the time of year when white perch move the most. Shad are constantly relocating and the fish tend to follow them. As the water begins to cool the fish tend to group up more consistently. When looking for schools of white perch on your electronics always remember perch tend to school in an up and down or vertical fashion. They also will suspend over the top of cover making them quite easy to see on your electronics. A lot of deep-water white perch fishermen prefer to use shiners during the cooler or colder months because a lot of deeper water fishing is more vertically done straight under the boat. One of the key things to remember is to fish your shiners or jigs above the eye level pf the white perch you are targeting. White perch are notorious for feeding upward from the water depth they are in. Winter This is the time of year when you will find the white perch in their deepest depths but also in bigger schools. Focus on deeper channel swings, points or underwater humps. The deeper the fish are the more difficult it is to fish for them horizontally which is why most people fish with shiners underneath slip corks. The slip cork allows the angler to set the shiner to the desired depth the fish are using. Another technique anglers use this time of year is to fish with jigging spoons. This allows the angler to keep a lure in a smaller area and control the action of the lure. Another bonus for using the jigging spoon is the bass love them too! As you can see, there is a lot of possibilities twelve months out of the year when it comes to catching white perch on Caney. The lake has both the size and the numbers of fish and the right amount of a challenge to wet the fishing appetite of any white perch angler. Come on down to Caney Lake and give them a try!
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