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#11418142 - 02/16/16 03:24 PM Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring
CantFishEnough Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 18
Hi all.
I'm hoping that someone can help me out with some advice for fishing in and around Caddo Lake State park for a few nights around the last part of April (2016).

I've never been there and will have 3 kids (10, 8, 4) as well as meeting a cousin and their kids (11, 9, 5). So we have a couple kinds of fishing to try - one for older and one for the younger ones.

I have a 16.5 ft Alumacraft with a 25hp motor - so we'll probably do two shifts one longer trip for older kids looking for quality fish and then something for the younger ones - looking for bluegill or something more "quantity" like. I wish we'd have time to hire a guide the first day, but that doesn't look feasible with # of kids and time we'll be out there.

We'll be on the Bayou at the state park. I'm not a great fresh water fisherman having grown up mostly only fishing salt water on the coast... so I don't know what type of fish to target. We may just try to fish off the piers for blue gill for younger kids - bobbers and worms and the like. So I think that will be ok. We're probably looking to catch and release for the most part this time.

So here are my questions:

1. For fishing, do we stay in the bayou around the state park or should we try to make a trip to the "lake proper"?
a. if to the actual lake - is it easier to drive boat over and put in there? It seems like it may be a bit of a haul and some what tricky to get there by water... (I think I want to get on the lake for sight seeing if possible but that's not as critical at this point).

2. Should we plan on starting out looking for bass, sand bass, or catfish, or?? ? (maybe this should be question #1...)
a. Assuming Bass, what colors of lures are typically the best? I have red/black, watermelon, and chartreuse lizards, and some red/black, motoroil/chartreuse, silver speckled curly tail worms, and some other random watermelon straight type like you'd use for wacky worm hooking.

b. most of our bass fishing is generally small family ponds with swim baits, road runner and beetle spin jigs. But I have a few rattle trap type lipless crank baits, and some small silver spoons as well

c. Assuming catfish? are we more likely needing to go for dough baits (the kind you buy in a pouch that says cheese or blood on it), punch/dip bait, shrimp, or need to buy minnows locally? Some times we can catch shad, but I'm not sure we'll have time to do that on this trip. Do we troll or anchor/tie up and just drop lines?

d. Any other fish - crappie maybe? I've never been too good at catching those... so any ideas would help if that's our best option.


Thanks for any help you can provide. I just want to have a fun time and want the kids to be able to have the best chance of success. Having some idea and some options for lures and baits will help me a lot.

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#11418282 - 02/16/16 04:04 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Smithaven Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 1820
Loc: Hurst, Texas
With that number of kids I would concentrate on Bluegills. They should be nesting by then. Even the oldest will get a kick out of catching sunfish. Rig the lines with a #8 gold Aberdeen hook on the end of the line. Pinch a #3 split shot up about a foot. Attach a 3/4 inch bobber about 2 feet above that. Bait the hook with a 1-2 inch segment of night crawler. Cast the bait toward the beds which should be in about 3 feet of water.

Instruct the kids to raise the rod tip and start reeling when the bobber moves. It is not necessary to jerk.

When my kids were young two of them wore me out taking fish off and baiting lines. There is no way you can keep up with more.

Forget about bass or catfish. The kids wil enjoy the sunfish more. And they are good to eat so you can treat them to a fish fry.
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Seventy years of chasing the elusive sunfish.

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#11418445 - 02/16/16 05:23 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
CantFishEnough Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 18
Thanks Smithaven. That is sort of our go to general form of fishing now. -- at least my kids generally are tired of blue gills because they can catch them in the city park ponds and stuff here in DFW (MidCities area).
That is good advice though about where to look for them and to not jerk the rod - and I'll for sure tuck it away if we can't catch anything else we'll go for them. I'm banking on sunfish so we don't get "skunked" in general - but would still like to find them something more.

We'd for sure split up the crew - the older 2 (sometimes 3) have pretty long fishing attention spans so I would like to take them out without the youngest ones to try to catch "real" fish (their terms smile ) I generally throw out a worm on a bobber behind the boat when we're fishing anyway as a "just in case" bait.

I generally don't deal with cleaning blue gill - too much work for me and too little reward when "camping". Catfish or sand bass- I'm up for that if we had a few.

Note: The cousin's kids have a grandparent with a pretty nice bass pond as well. My goal on this would get them catching some sporty game fish out of the lake rather than just from a small un-pressured farm pond.

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#11418557 - 02/16/16 06:20 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Po Boy Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/25/14
Posts: 244
Loc: McKinney Texas
If you want to fish the Big Lake, I would recommend trailering the boat over to Uncertain and launch at Johnsons or Shady Glade. It is a long run by water from the State Park. Aligater Bayou and Britt's Gap area for crappie and bass. On the big lake try Big Green Break and Little Green Break for bass. Other than that I don't have much for you.

Oh!!! And get a good map of the boat roads. It is very easy to get lost out there if have not spent much time on the lake and bayous.

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#11418926 - 02/16/16 08:45 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
CantFishEnough Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 18
Po Boy, not sure if I want to fish the big lake or just stay in the Bayou... and do some general sight seeing in the big lake or something... But I'll look into those areas to see how easy we can get to them.

Was going to make sure and get a portable GPS for the boat (want to have one anyway other than relying on smart phone) and/or a good map or two smile
I've already read how easy it is to get turned around out there in some other places. Thanks.

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#11419360 - 02/17/16 06:24 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
slim1 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/13
Posts: 547
Loc: Cooper, TX
Drive down the bayou to the lake. Take a camera. Watch where you go. You can get lost on the lake real easy. Blue Gill should be on the beds. Get some cane poles and crickets. Get in shallow (3'-6') water. When you get a strong fish smell you are close to a bed. Find the bed and fill the ice chest. You'll be kept busy taking fish off the hook. Good eating. With that many kids I wouldn't try fishing for anything else. Have fun.
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#11419763 - 02/17/16 08:57 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
CantFishEnough Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 18
Thanks slim1, like I mentioned though, we'll only have a couple of the kids in the boat at a time. I would do a few trips over the couple days we'll be there. I did want to take the older 3 kids out for some bigger fish at some point without all the little ones. That's really the part I need help with.

My middle one just likes to hang out in the boat - not much for fishing. I was hoping we can bank or pier fish with the little ones for bluegill etc. I don't know if I've ever "looked" for fish by smell before- I'll have to try that out. Never really thought about it like that.

I gave up cleaning bluegill years ago. (too many bones for me and not enough to fillet. Unless there is a better faster way to clean them that I don't know - it's too much work to scale and deal with them).

The older kids catch blue gill often and I'd like to get them into some plastic worm fishing or catfishing, just don't know which might be the more likely to catch so we can go prepared. - I just don't know if we need to go with minnows or punch/stink bait/or bass lures.

thanks again for all replies.

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#11419928 - 02/17/16 09:52 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
californiabass22 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/22/15
Posts: 176
Loc: Irving, TX
my 2 cents on this, is to launch at Johnson's. But i will say (and cannot stress this enough) STAY IN THE BOAT LANES. All of the lanes are there for a reason, they have colored arrows on them that help navigate. Do you have graphs w/ GPS on your boat? if so, these will be helpful. If you are fishing at night, and taking the kids, a spotlight is a necessity. Caddo is a whole lot of fun, i only fish it for bass, but when i am bass fishing i have seen so many yo-yos on trees for catfish. For bass, i would fish cypress trees in back pockets off the main lake (slow idle out of the boat lanes back into them) if it is night, a black spinner bait, and darker colored tx rig worms/jigs will get you bit. Be careful, Caddo comes alive at night with a lot of Louisiana animals that we do not see in the day (snakes, gators, spiders, etc). They will not bother you, but it is something that you should know about ahead of time.
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#11420066 - 02/17/16 10:51 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Rudy Lackey Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 03/03/02
Posts: 8106
Loc: N. Richland Hills Texas USA
Take notepad, pencil, compass, map,cell. You will understand.....
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#11420868 - 02/17/16 03:54 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Timberking Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/23/14
Posts: 66
Loc: Marshall
Its not that far around to motor from the SP to the open lake. Take the kids around Devil's Elbow down the Govt. Ditch. Just the names are entertainment. You will be hitting the time right for bream beds. When you catch a big red ear from the swamp, they will look different. Bass early and late around the edge of the boat roads plastic or topwater.

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#11421886 - 02/17/16 11:18 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
CantFishEnough Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 18
Thanks, Timberking, Rudy Lackey, californiabass22. I plan to have multiple ways to try not to get lost and will take extra water, snacks, gas, etc. just in case we do... Plan on getting a good map and a hand held type GPS.

I didn't even think YoYos were legal in TX (you mean the auto rewind trotlines not out of town fishermen right smile )? I doubt that we'll be out at night much. I love being on the water at night, but kids (even my oldest are morning people and wake up early even if up late - then they're just cranky... We'll probably do any evening/dusk fishing at the state park pier.

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#11422086 - 02/18/16 07:02 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
slim1 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/13
Posts: 547
Loc: Cooper, TX
Something else you might consider is crappie fishing. Take a cane pole with a minnow or a jig and bobber and fish right beside the cypress trees. Just drop it down and let it sit for a couple of minutes. If you don't get a bite pick it up and move it. Just go from tree to tree. You will catch some. Bass fishing for the older ones can be fun. Use a white spinner bait, frog around the lily pads, Tiny Torpedo top water. You'll catch LMB, sand bass, jack fish, and an occasional grinnel. Yo-yo's are legal in Louisiana. When I lived down there we would set out yo-yo's, trotlines at night, and bass fish in the daytime. Then have a big fish fry. Like I said be sure and take a camera. You'll want a bunch of pictures. It's beautiful. Enjoy it.
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Riding With Respect
Flag Captain

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#11424739 - 02/19/16 08:25 AM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Timberking Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/23/14
Posts: 66
Loc: Marshall
Billy Carter from Johnson Ranch does barge trips for sand bass and bream. 903-407-7368 Might be a way to get the whole crew out.

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#11425236 - 02/19/16 12:11 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
Redneck Rehab Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/30/12
Posts: 37
Loc: Garland
Yo los are legale on both sides of caddo and you can fish both sides with a texas lic. you could use cut bait at night for cats or fish the cypress for crappie with live bait. You can get live bait just pass the entrance to the state park. You do not have to go to the open lake to site see if you have not been to the state park before it is vey nice just in the park there is a park and hiking trails. I love it there very nice place to take the family and the people at the bait shop are very help full about what is hitting and where

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#11425469 - 02/19/16 02:08 PM Re: Advice needed for taking kids out fishing at/around Caddo Lake State Park this spring [Re: CantFishEnough]
mikey6345 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/29/14
Posts: 207
Loc: Dallas
I think kids that age would have a good time on a pontoon boat tour. Then all of you could go to parts of the lake you probably wouldn't venture by yourself. Give Howard Leftwich a call:

http://www.caddolaketoursandguides.com/

Do a one or two hour tour and get some tips from him on where to fish. I agree about dropping your boat in at Shady Glade or Johnson's. That is a decent haul from SP in a boat as small as yours. Do not go to Big Green Brake. That is way too far.

Bass will be hitting topwaters then too so it might be easier for the kids to do a little bass fishing.

State Park store sells the best waterproof map of the lake I have found. Get one of them.

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