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Cane River bream worth the trip

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Written by
Jimmy Watson


Minden angler Homer Humphreys hauls a bluegill from under a boat dock recently on the Cane River in Natchitoches.


NATCHITOCHES — It was a good hour into a steamy Monday afternoon before the big bream began biting in earnest.

But when they heated up as the thermometer pushed past 90, the Cane River delivered an experience that was memorable. A bucket of bream quickly became a 48-quart ice chest full of bluegills, redears and sun perch.

Most of the fishing public in northwest Louisiana don’t realize what a gem the Cane River can be for anglers looking for productive outing usually unaffected by high winds or muddy water. The Cane River (Lake) is 32 miles of tree studded shoreline dotted on one side with cabins and trailers looking across 250 feet of water at well-manicured, $200,000-and-up homesteads.

The tributary, more popular for water skiing than its fishing, meanders around the edge of the Northwestern State campus and eventually becomes the setting for Natchitoches’ annual Christmas lighting ceremony that lures thousands to the city’s historic downtown district.

But stately mansions, antiquated churches and cobbled streets weren’t on the menu on this Monday. Just a long stone’s throw from downtown Natchitoches can be found bream beds so productive they even invoke a giggle out of a grizzled fishing veteran like 62-year-old Homer Humphreys.

Figuring on a hundred crickets per hour, Humphreys purchased 400 crickets in an effort to showcase a fishing venue he’s been visiting for well over a decade. After launching at the Shell Beach Launch, located near the old Bermuda Bridge, it was just a 10-minute run toward town before Homer’s first “hot spot” produced just a few mini bream.

“I’ve never been out here this time of day (2 p.m.), so I’m not sure if the big ones will bite,” Humphreys said. “We’re usually here in the mornings and have a ice chest full by 11 o’clock.”

The sounds of chain saws cutting tornado-damaged trees and workers shingling slightly damaged roofs cut through the silence of this weekday afternoon. One homeowner, who walked up near where we were fishing, said the recent rough weather cost him a couple of hardwoods without affecting his sleep.


“My wife woke me up and told me a tornado was coming, but I just rolled over and went back to sleep,” the man said. “I’m not too worried about the trees because we now have a better view of the water.”

One thing you don’t do on the Cane River is get in a hurry. A posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour is far below the capability of Humphreys’ Bass Cat. But moving from spot to spot requires little more than a trolling motor anyway.

By the time we arrived at Homer’s third spot, the bream in the bucket started getting bigger — significantly bigger.

“This is what we usually catch all morning,” Humphreys boasted.

The fishing quickly turned from okay to a fish-per-cricket, as the larger bluegills didn’t just nip at the bugs’ legs, they literally took it hook, line and sinker. One hole alone produced about 50 hand-sized bream in a 45-minute span. Within the allotted four hours, 395 of the 400 crickets had been put to the test. And PETA wasn’t there to protest their plight. The five survivors were turned out into the wilds of Natchitoches Parish.

Normally a backup plan for Humphreys’ guiding expeditions when the Red River is high and muddy, the Cane River proved its worthiness as a first-rate bream fishery on this May day. But there are rules and regulations on the venue that must be followed including proof of completion of a boating safety course being required for all boat operators, not just those born after 1988, as is required on most Louisiana waters.

Other regulations can be found

Written by demon53

June 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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