Score one for the good guys. Score one for crappie fishermen who take care of our resources. Score one for Eagle Lake and the state of Mississippi.

I've been involved with crappie tournaments and organizations for 25 years or so. Rarely do we take time to do our part to "give something back." We usually go about our merry way assuming that someone else is taking care of that problem or that issue or that someone else is coming to the rescue.

I want to report to you this month an outstanding result from a huge lake-restoration project undertaken by the Magnolia Crappie Club a few years ago.

I know the whole crappie tournament scene is not looked upon with kind eyes by some local non-tournament fishermen. Tournament action is often thought by local fishermen to be detrimental to their favorite lake when we show up en masse. An example of what I am talking about is Grenada Reservoir.

Because of its reputation in the tournament circuits for producing monster fish and because of the wonderfully maintained facilities around the lake, Grenada gets hit a lot by crappie tournaments. The locals there hate tournament fishermen.

The Corps of Engineers, the official managers of the lake and its resources, spend lots of money and effort trying to make sure the crappie caught on T-Day get returned alive and well to the lake. And the state of Mississippi imposes "Grenada-only" rules and regulations reducing the number of poles a fisherman can use to three per angler, raising the minimum size to the largest in the state (12 inches) and reducing the daily creel limit to 20 per angler from the statewide limit of 30.

Point is, crappie tournaments and their popularity on Grenada have been the major reasons why managers have taken such extreme approaches to conserving Grenada's crappie resource. And, thankfully, the game plan seems to be working. MCC just set a club and lake record in March with the biggest crappie tournament weights ever.

Bo Hudson and Brad Chappell of Ridgeland weighed in their best seven at 19.42 pounds, shattering the old MCC record of 16 pounds and change that was established on Barnett in March 2009.

But that's not my main report here. I want to tell you about the great result from the Eagle Lake Restoration project undertaken by MCC and the MDWFP. Better yet, let me show you the result. Take a look at those Eagle Lake slabs caught this March by my buddy, Larry Blackwell. Larry has lived on Eagle his entire life, and he tells me the huge Eagle Lake slabs are back.

Look, only a few years ago MCC swore off holding tournaments on Eagle because the fishing was so lousy. Hey, we established a couple of club records there, too. We had our largest turnout ever of 48 boats, but we caught only 92 fish total on T-Day. That's less than two per boat by my ciphering.

So what did we do? We, the members of the largest local, non-profit crappie club in the entire country, decided to rescue Eagle. We approached the biologist over Eagle at the time, John Skains, and, boy, did John come through.

Immediately he, Larry Bull and other conservation officers and workers with the MDWFP pitched in with resources we would never have been able to provide.

You see, we had this wild idea that if we'd catch some brood-size fish out of nearby Chotard and deliver them to Eagle, we might be able to re-stock Eagle. In fact, some of us had been doing this for a while before MDWFP brought their fish-hauling truck over - twice. You should have seen the faces of other fishermen at the ramps when we'd back our fishing boats down the ramp, open our livewells and pitch huge slabs into the cool blue water of Eagle.

So Phase 1 of our Eagle Lake restoration project was getting some crappie back in the lake via transferring fish from Chotard. Phase 2 was building and sinking hundreds of fish-holding pieces of structure, and that's where the real work came in. Phase 1 was fun. Heck, we were fishing. Phase 2 was downright hard work.

In addition to our club efforts, I know that MDWFP did several stockings of hatchery-raised crappie, too. I understand that the fingerlings the state provided were practically all black crappie. The brood stock MCC transferred from Chotard were practically all white crappie.

I remember the morning we all showed up on the banks of Eagle to "get 'er done," as they say. Skains was standing at the top of the hill next to me looking at the piles and piles of PVC, a pallet or two of Quik-rete bags and a mixer and hundreds of 5-gallon buckets.

"We'll never get all this in the lake today," Skains worried.

"Sure we will, John," I replied. "You haven't seen these guys work."

And, man, did the MCC fishermen dig in and get it done that cool winter day.

We quickly organized our 40 or so volunteers into half a dozen teams, and assigned work stations and responsibilities into what could best be described as a production line. We were amazed at how smoothly everything went, and how the whole day took on a challenge for all of us.

As we got close to the end of the day, you could see the volunteers grab that second and third gear. We were determined to finish what we started that day.

Other important players to our success were Howard New of Glen Allen, who donated a trailer load of 8-inch PVC pipe, and Tim Carpenter of Eagle Lake Lodge, who let us stage our project out of his place and who fed us breakfast and lunch.

And we knew then that it'd take a few years to actually see if our hard work paid off. Seems it did, y'all. Eagle Lake is back growing 'em as big as they get. Like I said, score one for the good guys.