Anglin’ in NELA
Home to several bass tournaments, including ESPN Outdoor Bassmaster Weekend Series, Ronald McDonald Big Bass Classic, the CASA Celebrity Classic, and more. Even after several large tournaments, this year still has great fishing potential. The river is open year-round, but the best fishing for big bass is done from October through March. Anglers can mainly catch smallmouth and spotted bass, but will find the occasional walleye, largemouth bass, rock bass, catfish, or bluegill.As the summer heats up, Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville will become a hot spot for night fishing. Many record catches of bass, crappie, catfish, and bream have been reeled in at this 15,250 acre lake located in Lake D’Arbonne State Park. The lake is also open to water skiers and pleasure boaters and hosts several fishing tournaments, including the recent Majestic Big Bass Classic.
Don’t Lose your Noodle! Wrestle a catfish!
For the more adventurous fisherman, ditch the rods and reels, use your arm as bait, and go catfish noodlin’. Anglers dive into dark waters to search for hollow stumps and brush, and dig down, using their hand as bait in the hope that not only do they get their hand back, but that it comes with a catfish attached! As the noodler wrestles the catfish, often over 50 pounds, their fishing partners help to pry the fish off and subdue it in the boat. What could be more exciting than catching a record setting catfish with your bare hands?
Get Muddy: 4‑Wheelin’ for a Cause
Every year ATV riders from around the nation flock to Hebert, LA the first weekend in June for the Marengo Swamp Ride. The ride includes well over 4,000 riders who have joined together to get muddy and benefit a great cause - Wish I Could of Northeast Louisiana. After 21 years, this event has grown to bring in over 1.3 million dollars to the general economy and about $60-70,000 to Wish I Could of NELA. Riders tear through the swamps in ATV’s maneuvering around snakes, alligators, and the most famous sinkhole in the south, “Suicide Hole.” All you need to participate is a valid Louisiana hunting and fishing license and a 4-wheeler. Every Sunday after the race weekend, a group of participants from one of the ATV clubs, Climb ATV, visits Med-Camps of Louisiana to take the kids on a wild ride through the mud, water and woods of Camp Alabama in Sibley, LA.
Hit the Road: Racing Action
The Bastrop Speedway re-opened on May 12, 2006. It was a mud truck track, but about 19 years ago, it was a dirt track called Old Bullet Speedway. Many drivers you see today got started on Old Bullet and return to continue the tradition. Make a whole weekend out of your visit and check out Motor Sports City and Twin City Dragway. Motor Sports City is a multipurpose truck, ATV, and motocross complex in Start, Louisiana that has several events throughout the year including concerts, races, and outdoor shows. Twin City Dragway is a 1/4 mile strip for street legal drag racing. Races are held on Saturday nights. If you’d rather try something different on your Saturday, check out the Louisiana Lawnmower racing speedway, where participants race the fastest lawnmowers in the south!
Sportsman’s Paradise – meet Hunter’s Paradise
For those who enjoy the thrill of the hunt, Ouachita Parish is truly a Sportsman’s Paradise. Whether its ducks, doves, or deer, you can hunt for just about anything. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can even go on a wild hog hunt. With several hunting clubs, nine wildlife management areas, and guides available there are many choices not only on what to hunt but also on where to hunt. You can also get the whole family involved. On the fourth Saturday in September, the local Wildlife & Fisheries celebrates National Hunting & Fishing Day with a day full of education, fun and entertainment.
Relax and restore in Restoration Park
One of the more recent additions to the Monroe-West Monroe outdoor area is Restoration Park, a beautiful seventy acre forest and wetland park just off of Interstate 20 in West Monroe. The park features several overlooks, a stone trail, and a bridge so that you can roam and relax on as you listen to the water trickle past.