Since I’ve been able to do alot of creek fishing so far this year, and have been catching plenty of spotted bass, recently I’ve been trying to make things more interesting by trying to catch one of the most elusive panfish species, the Shadow Bass. Ben Roussel has a great write up on these Rock Bass relatives here: https://mountainstomarsh.com/2018/07/31/shadow-bass/
The May 2022 edition of Louisiana Sportsman magazine had an article all about Shadow Bass, and how one angler has caught them in the Bogue Chitto river in Covington, Louisiana. This is a river I have kayaked and canoed before, and is a very popular recreation area on the Northshore. After reading the Sportsman article I reached out to Chris Williams http://www.fatfingeredflytyer.com to let him know I was planning a float trip soon, and we were able to find a day we both could go hit the water.
We launched from the Bogue Falaya Wayside park and made our way up stream. This river is pretty slow moving, so paddling upstream isn’t too much of a chore, a much different experience than I had on the Bogue Chitto earlier this month. The plan was to paddle and fish upstream until we found a smaller tributary, where we would disembark the kayaks and wade fish. We fished up the lower section looking for deeper water and woody structure, which is where most of the gamefish would be holding. It didn’t take too long to find success with the most common species: Bluegill and Longear Sunfish. When we made our way up to one of the bridge crossings over the river, Chris tied on a clouser minnow in hoped of getting down to the bottom of a deep hole and was rewarded with a Channel Catfish, his first on the fly!
When we reached the confluence of the tributary and the main river, we got out and wade fished a bit, as there was a nice drop off (darker colored water in the middle right of the picture below). This is the type of spot we were hoping to find the Shadow Bass, so I waded across and threw my white bugger style fly towards the bank side cover. On one of my first few casts in this area, and one not particularly close to the bank but in the shade of an overhanging tree, I hooked a nice Spotted Bass. As I continued to work this little area I caught a couple longear, but no signs of any Shadow Bass. Next we would work our way into the tributary, which had a tannic stain but really pretty water with nice holes and structure.
We were able to paddle up a decent way into the tributary before downed trees impeded our float. At one point I had to lay completely flat in the bottom of the kayak to get through some branches. We would stop and wade here and there, trying to get our flies and deep into the cover as possible. Despite our best efforts, and the great looking habitat, we were unable to lure any Shadow Bass from their haunts. I was able to pick up several longear and another nice spot before the creek became too choked to wade and we made our retreat. This was a really nice piece of water, and somewhere I hope to return to soon. The search for the Shadow Bass continues…