Ultimate Bass

Cross Lake, Louisiana

Cross Lake is located in the northwest part of Louisiana and more precisely on the west side of the city of Shreveport.  The Lake is used by the city of Shreveport as its water supply.  It is about one mile wide and nine miles long, and covers approximately 8,900 acres.  The majority of the lake is open water with banks lined with boat docks and scattered cypress trees.  The west end of the lake is heavily populated with cypress trees but can be navigated easily at slow speeds.  Cross Lake is a fairly shallow lake with the average depth being approximately 10 feet.

Since the lake is owned by the City of Shreveport, it has several regulations that you won’t see on other lakes.  A special boat permit is required to allow you on the water and it can be obtained from the Cross Lake Patrol Office on South Lakeshore Drive.  Cross Lake is not open to all night fishing, with the lake being off-limits between 1:00 a.m. and 30 minutes prior to daylight each day.  In addition, fishing within 100 feet of a boat dock is not allowed after sunset.
Cross Lake is easily accessed.  Exiting off of Interstate 220, which is a loop interchange that goes north of Shreveport and Bossier City, on Lakeshore Drive takes you to the lake.  Turning west on Lakeshore, you go to the end of the road at South Lakeshore.  Turning left on South Lakeshore Drive will take you to several boat ramps, a park, and the Cross Lake Patrol Office.  Even though the lake has several privately owned boat ramps, the most popular is the city owned ramp on South Lakeshore Drive.  There is no boat ramp fee at this location.
Fishing on Cross Lake is very popular for different varieties of fish.  Bass, bream, white perch, and catfish are the main attractants.  The bass population is in really good shape, with stocking operations taking place on an annual basis.  Florida bass fingerlings are released into the lake each spring.  The Lake also has a 14 to 17 inch slot, requiring any bass caught within that range to be released immediately.  The daily creel limit for bass is 10, with only 4 “over the slot” fish per person.  There is a Lunker Program sponsored by the Bass Life Associates.  This program provides replicas for larger bass caught, with a declining cost to the fishermen as the size increases.
Bass fishing on Cross Lake offers a wide variety of choices.  Concentrating on the main lake; fish can be caught on docks, rock banks, scattered cypress trees, grass lines, and coves that have lily pads.  The west end offers cypress trees, grass beds, lily pads, and some fishing in heavy cover.
In the spring and fall, spinnerbaits are a key bait to have in your arsenal.  Working the spinnerbait along the rock banks and walkways of boat docks is usually a very good pattern.  The spinnerbait will also produce when fishing cypress trees.  One key to look for in the fall is grass lined banks.  Across the winter, jigs produce quality catches and can result in fish ranging up to 10 or more pounds.  Most of the fishermen concentrate on the west end during the winter months, flipping and pitching jigs on as many cypress trees as possible.  You can’t rule out the spinnerbait across the winter, fishing similar patterns as the fall.  The summer months will find fishermen concentrating on the top water or spinnerbait bite in the early morning and late evening, and on the boat docks during the middle of the day.  Flipping and pitching soft plastic works well during the summer months, especially if the docks have cover added by residents of the area.  One aspect of the Lake that many fishermen overlook is the Interstate 220 bridge.  This bridge is quite long and offers in excess of 150 bridge pilings.  These pilings have footings a few feet under the water, making a wider base.  Flipping or pitching soft plastic and letting it fall off of the footing is very enticing to the bass that hang out in this area.
Cross Lake is the location of numerous bass tournaments each year, mostly local.  Ranging from bass club tournaments to Thursday evening tournaments during the spring and summer to one of the largest local tournaments in the area.
If you can deal with the slot, which can get very frustrating during tournaments, Cross Lake is an excellent place to fish.  Make sure you follow the special lake regulations for the lake so the officers on the water don’t stop you.  For me, it is one of the big attractions for Shreveport.
For more information about Cross Lake, you can visit these links:
Cross Lake Bass Fishing Reports – Here you will find up to date information on Cross Lake and reports from Ultimate Bass Members that fish Cross Lake regularly.

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