Lacassine NWR Pool setting records again
By JOHN K. FLORES
One of the things I find about big spinning baits like the 3/8-ounce Stanley Vibra Shaft is they make a big splash where I worry about them spooking the fish. What I normally do is give the bait a three- to five-second count to let things settle before retrieving. And I’ll also retrieve it a little slower than a crank-bait.
Such was the case while tossing my spinner-bait as close as I could get it against a bank along the edge of a bar pit surrounding a manmade bass impoundment in southwest Louisiana recently. The impoundment was rain fed, non-tidal and stocked with hungry bass coming off the spawn — a 480-acre paradise designed to mimic Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge impoundment — also known as “The Pool.”
In seconds, the water exploded, and I had another scrappy 3-pound bass. The only difference between the private pool and the Lacassine NWR pool was it was catch and release only. It will be another couple of years before the private pool reaches its full potential.
By contrast, Lacassine continues to produce trophy bass. And 2013 is no exception.
Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge Manager Richard Myer said, “The Pool has been outstanding again this year. On opening day we had a record fish caught. We had a guy catch a 13-pound, 12-ounce bass. By the time they got it to an official scale that evening, it had some weight loss and officially weighed 12-pounds, 8-ounces. But, that wasn’t all. His buddy caught a 10-pound fish. So they had a 13-pound and a 10-pound together.”
What makes Lacassine so good is the lack of pressure it receives. The impoundment is closed from Oct. 15 through March 15, and due to its geographic location in the remote southwest Louisiana prairie in Cameron Parish, it receives little attention and is a “best kept” secret amongst locals in the Lake Charles area.
Additionally, the Lacassine Pool has a restricted motor size, only 40 horsepower, and less size motors are allowed in the pool. Bass boats sporting 150 to 200 horsepower motors will never see the inside of this fish tank.
Lacassine also caters to canoes and kayakers. The refuge sets aside 800 acres just for those who prefer paddling to catch their fish. What makes this particular method so intriguing is there is even less fishing pressure.
“Unit B is kayak or canoe and troll motor only,” Myer said. “We don’t have a boat launch into that unit — that’s one of the reasons why it’s non-motorized. But, it’s also so the folks don’t have to worry about boats running by them, where they have kind of their own place. Some people use small Johnboats with troll motors and enjoy the peace and quiet. There’s somebody there (every day), but there isn’t a lot of people who use it on a regular basis. And there’s not a dozen people for that 800 acres.”
One thing that seems to be a constant theme this spring has been lack of a true weather pattern and now high water throughout the basin. This week is the first consistent weather locally, where daytime highs will be in the 80s and overnight lows in the 60s.
What’s more, with the Atchafalaya River cresting mid-month, bass anglers should find conditions more favorable as summer approaches.
However, if you want to catch fish while waiting for local conditions to improve in St. Mary Parish, Lacassine is a short two-hour drive west and well worth the time to visit.
For those who aren’t interested in lunker bass, Lacassine is also a hot spot for bream and sac-a-lait. These species are also under-fished in the pool and worth the trip.
If you’re into motor home or camper trailer travel, Myers Landing, 7 miles west of Lake Arthur, is one half-mile from Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge and has overnight camping.
The nice thing about impoundments is they aren’t as influenced by inclement weather conditions or water fluctuations like we experience here in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge has no slot limitations or catch and release. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prefer anglers to take their catch home — yes, and the trophy bass they catch too.
So plan on bringing some big spinning bait that will make a splash — you won’t go wrong.
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, contact John K. Flores at 985-395-5586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.