Bussey opens Wednesday, July 15!

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If you plan on being there Wednesday when Bussey Brake opens back to the public, here’s some things you need to know from LDWF biologist Ryan Daniel.

  • Be aware that you will have to fill out a WMA self-clearing permit before fishing. You can do that on paper at the boat dock or on the LDWF app ( ** see more at the very end of this article ** ).
  • Know and follow limits and size restrictions. Take a measuring tape of some sort if you plan to keep any bass or crappie. Enforcement agents will be monitoring this closely.
  • Bring your favorite baits and patience. I imagine there will be quite a crowd on hand opening day. Be patient and safe. Make it fun.
  • You will find several things new on the reservoir, including marked boat lanes for the first time ever. While these boat lanes are safe for running, they may also have people fishing on the edges. Be courteous. Slow down and stop your wake. There’s also a new windbreak in front of the launch which protects anglers from winds while loading and unloading.
  • Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 10.10.27 AMBe ready to see a new Bussey that does not look in any way like the old Bussey. Even the water seems to be a prettier blue. It’s kind of shocking, to be honest. The old lake appeared mostly wide open, but with huge stump fields right under the surface. The stump fields are still there, but much of the lake now resembles a maze of willow lined bayous and cuts like you see in the Atchafalaya Basin. In other spots, the huge lilly pad fields look like some big Florida lake. And the brush and wide variety of aquatic vegetation looks a lot like shallow areas of Toledo Bend in the early days. That’s pretty good company.
  • Fishing will probably be tough right now. No, fishing will be tough right now. Make sure you realize that. There is a lot more water than there are fish. Read that again. Ryan accurately calls Bussey “an emerging fishery”, which means it’s just getting started. There are some great fish in the lake, but there are long stretches with no fish. Where there are fish, there’s an abundance of cover that gives them lots of places to hide. You’ll understand more when you go, or look at the pictures below. If this were a tennis match, it would definitely be ADVANTAGE, FISH! Long term, that’s a good thing.
  • An example. If you are expecting to fish some around the rock-lined levee. That’s a laugh. The levee rocks are not even visible because of a thick layer of grown up willows and other brush that grew up around the edge during the drawdown. Great for fish. Tough for fishermen.

More good news? Bussey will continue to get better and better. In the next 3-5 years, it should peak as a fantastic reservoir. There have been a ton of bass, bream, crappie fingerlings and shad stocked there. Three years ago, some hatchery brood fish — bass in the 3-5 pound range, were stocked. We caught (and released) several good bass, including one that was probably one of those original brood bass. If you catch a big one, you should consider releasing it. You can only keep one bass over 16 inches each day anyway. In fact, the more fish of every kind that you release, the sooner the lake will reach it’s potential. The fish looked great. They are very healthy. If you catch a tagged bass, let LDWF know. Some of the original brood stock were tagged and it would be nice to know if they are caught.

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Since Bussey Brake is a WMA, all the standard WMA regulations will apply. Visitors will have to check in and fill out a self-clearing permit at a kiosk before they visit the lake. Please note that Bussey Brake is NOT currently listed as a selection on the WMA app. It will be added at a later date when the app is updated. In addition, visitors will need to insure they are properly licensed. For more information about license and permit requirements, visit:

https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/wmarefugeconservation-area-licenses-and-permits

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