Regional Reports-South

Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands

The ponds and small lakes on the Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands north of Decatur turn the color of ducks in December and January. The LBJ is 20,000 acres of diverse habitat divided among several dozen scattered parcels. Lakes up to 20 acres sport good shoreline cover and shallow vegetation. Waterfowl from teal to resident mallards and an occasional goose gaggle show up, especially late in the season.The smartest way to hunt on the ponds and smaller lakes at LBJ is to erect portable or impromptu blinds on the shore. But you'll want to use your duck boat at the larger water holes in the area, most of which feature improved launch ramps, such as Clear and Cottonwood lakes. Clear Lake sees more human traffic than most other lakes at LBJ, but you'll want to be there when inclement "duck weather" comes into the area and hunter numbers drop dramatically. Rucker's Pond is an excellent walk-in shallow spot for puddle ducks and teal. Other waterfowl hot spots at the grasslands include Rhodes, Chicken and Windmill lakes.Big spreads are unnecessary and actually counterproductive. A half-dozen dekes is plenty, and on small spots, you usually do not need any at all.A map is crucial for navigating the LBJ. They are available for $6 at LBJ offices or for $7 by mail.Contact: LBJ National Grasslands (P.O. Box 507, 1400 N. Highway 81/287, Decatur, TX 76234; 940-627-5475; www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/texas/).