Remembering the birth of Lake Claiborne

There is a special segment Sunday nights on a Shreveport television station highlighting a hometown hero who served in the military. Most of those featured were from the Greatest Generation, having served in World War II.

I was a bit taken aback last Sunday night when the hometown hero featured on the program was my long-time friend from Homer, Danny Roy Moore. He not only gained notoriety by his heroism during World War II, he is credited for something else. Years after returning from the war, Moore, a civil engineer, drew up plans for a lake in Claiborne Parish. Moore was eventually elected to the state Senate and working in consort with area state Representative, John S. Garrett, was able to get funds appropriated to build the lake in his home parish, a lake that would be named after its home parish, Lake Claiborne.

The Guardian Journal, Homer’s weekly newspaper, recently highlighted in a three-part series, the 50th anniversary of Lake Claiborne. I moved to Homer in 1966 just in time to see the lake completed. Reading the Guardian Journal’s account of all that went into the construction of this 6500 acre lake triggered all sorts of memories.

I was there when water trickled over the spillway for the first time on May 17, 1968. Before the lake filled, I would drive out before work and enjoy some exciting early morning duck hunts on the potholes that would eventually be inundated with 30 feet of water.

Once the lake filled, Lake Claiborne became a school bass paradise and I received my introduction in fishing for bass that churned the water by the thousands chasing shad.

Another favorite memory was the early morning action fishing Tiny Torpedos around the willows that grew up Beaver and D’Arbonne creeks. Three friends, all teachers at Homer High, finally gave in to my begging and shared their secret of the early morning bite and I was allowed to tag along a time or two. Billy Kennedy, Matt Martin and Coach Ronnie Beard caught limits just about every morning before school.

A favorite early morning bass fishing partner was banker Royce Moore. I came equipped with my Ambassador 5000 reel and graphite rod while Moore delighted in beating the dickens out of me with his Zebco 33 reel and cheap willow-switch of a rod.

Mike Dickson and I spent lots of hours on the lake fishing for bream and crappie. I caught the only two pound crappie I ever landed on Claiborne fishing with Dickson.

It was on Lake Claiborne fishing with Andy Prince when I was given the nickname most of my outdoor writer friends know me as today. After striped bass were introduced to the lake, Prince and I were fishing one morning when a lady in a nearby boat hooked and landed a big striper.

I called out to her, identifying myself as an outdoor writer and asked permission to take a photo with her and the fish. After agreeing to the photo, the lady stared at me and asked, “You’re not Grits Gresham, are you?” (Gresham was a famous outdoor writer from Natchitoches.) Before I could respond, Andy, my partner, said to her, “No mam, that’s not Grits Gresham; that’s just ole Hominy Harris.” To many friends, I’ve been “hominy” ever since.

Back to my friend Danny Roy Moore. He had developed a fishery off his pier that not many fishermen knew about at the time. German Carp lived in the lake and Moore had figured out how to catch them. He invited me one afternoon to join him and we sat on his pier and using dough balls he had cooked up in his kitchen, we caught several big carp up to 10 pounds.

I owe a lot to my friend Danny Roy Moore for his role in creating Lake Claiborne that for the last half century has scratched my fishing itch.

Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden

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