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johnm

bass fishing bourbeuse

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I have lived near this river my whole life and fish the big lakes instead. Well yesterday I fished it off the bank with a 3/8 Oz jig and craw watermelon with some orange. Fished about 2.5 hours and had 4 keeper fish over the 12 in limit. 3 were largemouth and a nice 2.5 pound smallie. Wanted to give this river some credit. If u are sick of farm ponds float down the bourbeuse and do a little fishing. It's a lot better than I always have thought....

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Don't keep smallmouth. Keep the spots. Ask why and it is likely you will be inundated with information about spotted bass taking over. If you keep one, you are keeping a precious jewel and preventing fellow anglers from enjoying it. If I am off base, it was the mention of a limit that sparked my fear and love for a species I don't get to chase on the regular.

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From what I know, the river suffered from a large fish kill in the 90's when a chicken farm waste-collection pond had a levee breach and washed into the river. The high oxygen demand killed almost everything, from crayfish and mussels to bass, catfish, and suckers. Populations were severely reduced from that incident, and the river hasn't fully recovered since (local sources that fished pre- and post-kill). Smallmouth populations, with their slow growth rates, kinda suffered from that. In previous years, about 1/5 of the bass over 10" seem to have gig marks in them from the stretch I fish.

Spotted bass are the species to key in on if you want dinner- no size limit, and can keep 6 additional ones over the first 6 black bass on the stringer (for a nice total of 12!). Their growth rate is about double to triple the smallmouth, and they are delicious grilled, fried, or just about anything. A 10" fish gives a really nice fillet, and an 8" is fantastic whole, too.

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Sorry u guys missed me on that one... I always set goals to catch a limit .... whether that be lake o, table rock or bourbeuse. Went again today off the bank and caught 8 fish 3 keep over 12 in smallmouth. That is the reason we go. Not to fill skillet.... 

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