Area fishermen took it on the chin from a weather standpoint the latter part of last week. It was cold, the wind blew, and it rained every day. It finally cleared out Saturday afternoon just in time for the Mardi Gras parade, but it was too late to salvage the weekend fishing.

Monday was an improvement as well, but it looks like more of the wet stuff is on the way for the remainder of the week. The salinity still has not been affected that bad in Sabine Lake, but the water clarity has taken a beating. I don’t think it will take long to recover if the gives us a break.

Not unlike most area anglers, I have my fears as to how the LNG pipeline work about to begin in the lake might negatively affect the fishing. While grounded at the marina watching it rain last Wednesday,

I spoke with a representative of the company that will be doing the work. He said that they hoped to get it done in fourteen to sixteen months.

I was not too concerned with how long it may take until he pointed out that sixteen miles of the pipeline will be buried in the lake itself. Our conversation was brief and because he was not familiar with the names of the bayous and cuts on the Louisiana shoreline, I am still not sure where the pipeline will enter and exit the lake.

Regardless of the path it takes, a lot of mud has to be moved to create a trench deep enough to bury a four foot pipe and cap. Where does the extra mud go when the pipe fills the majority of that excavation?

Aside from the fact that we may have to deal with diminished water clarity all over the lake, the eastern shoreline could prove very tough to fish depending on the proximity of the work. There is already a greatly increased amount of workboat traffic in Adam’s Bayou on any given day and its destination is the lake.

The project will undoubtedly provide an economic boost for Orange with the addition of 200 new workers, but there may be a price to paid over the short term for area anglers. Only time will tell!

Rather than continue responding to a large number of e-mails, I will take this opportunity to share with you the latest on two fishing venues that are traditionally very user-friendly this time of the year. The majority of the e-mails were in regards to the white perch bite on the north end of Toledo Bend.

That incredibly predictable bite has gained legendary status over the years, but it has been slow to materialize this month. It has started as early as the second week in December in past years, but seldom lasts all the way through February. The colder the weather….the better the bite!

This year, it should last a little longer as it has been very slow in taking off. I talked with Jim Shanley, a guide that knows as much about the crappie run in the shadows of the Chicken Coop area as anyone on that end of the lake. He and his partner, Jerry Thompson, also guide for bass, but they have built quite a following of winter crappie aficionados.

“There is bait all over that section of the river,” pointed out Shanley, but the water has not been cold enough to concentrate the big schools of white perch. Our water clarity is still very good in spite of the recent rains and all we need is a little stretch of cold weather to kick things off.”

You can easily access this winter honey hole with your own fishing boat, but I would recommend making your first trip with a guide.

Rather than join the crowd and hope for the best, you and your family or four or five friends can learn the ropes from someone that does it every day.

Shanley and Thompson only charge a $100 per day per angler for a minimum of four and they take care of everything. Fishing from a 24-foot pontoon boat is also much more comfortable than riding the bench in a flat bottom on a cold winter’s day!
You can call Jim at 318-315-1247 or look them up on the computer at for more information.

The bite that has obviously exploded in popularity over the past several years is the white bass run on the Sabine River north of Toledo Bend. That bite is improving daily and the boat ride alone is an adventure if you have never traveled that winding section of the river.

Jane Gallenbach knows that stretch of water as well as anyone in the area and consistently produces fantastic catches of big white bass.

Her business has grown so quickly that she has recently added another guide to help her accommodate the overflow requests from return customers. February is usually the most productive month so you may well have to call her tonight to secure a spot in one of her two boats.

Her prices are also very reasonable. Easily the most appealing package includes not only the guided trip and cleaned fish, but also a cabin for the night, breakfast, and a sack lunch for two people for $325.

You can find out more about that fishing adventure by calling 903-693-441 or checking out their web site at