If there’s one thing Gary Krouse likes to do in his bass boat, it’s prospect, and there’s no better place, fishing-wise these days, to do it than the mouth of the Mississippi River.
And now that the country’s mightiest waterway is nearing a season low, the little runs off its major distributaries are where you can find him, his Ranger and his tackle — locations that make our state’s southernmost reaches resemble scenes from “The African Queen.”
When a just-arrived photo pinged the cellphone, it showed Krouse holding two very respectable largemouth bass. The ocean-going vessel in the background left no doubt as to where he was fishing.
“It was incredible,” Krouse said. “Jeff Bruhl said Thursday, Friday and Saturday tides were perfect and with the full moon, we took two boats,” and they headed to Buras for overnight stays at Ryan Lambert’s Cajun Fishing Adventures.
Because they were fishing on the final three days of the teal season, the always productive and bass-rich Delta Duck area was off limits for anglers until after noon.
“So Ryan said we should head south, and with the river at 3.5 (feet on the New Orleans gauge) — it needs to fall three or four more inches, too — and launched at Cypress Cove (Marina in Venice), headed south and found dredges working at Head of Passes and at Pass a Loutre,” Krouse said.
That means muddy water through the passes. He ran down the passes and small runs and waters away from the river until, he said, he could see the prop under the water.
“That’s where we started to find fish. It was almost at the end of the passes near the bays,” Krouse said. “There had to be a little current from the river.”
There were more, and here’s the rest of his report:
- The best spots were stretches of bank where they could see dirt behind the stands of Roseau canes.
- No strikes in the clear-water ponds where surface temperatures hit 84 degrees.
- Big bluegill were in the clear water moving from ponds, “and were stripping plastics off the hooks. They were that big,” Krouse said.
- Punching, flipping and pitching into the canes with any dark soft plastics worked mid-morning to mid-afternoon, and the fish did not hit blue sapphire nor red shad colors.
- Day 2 action came in the runs off the big passes, and Krouse said they worked light Texas-rigged plastics in the canes and out into the areas where there were patches of coontail grass. “There was a fish, and good fish, everywhere there was grass near the canes,” he said.
- “We use quarter-ounce rigged crawfish and Beavers and the Missile D-Bomb Destroyer,” Krouse said. “The fish were fat and healthy … and you needed to have braid (braided line) to get the fish from the grass and canes. We caught bass, bluegill, two flounder and a redfish.”
- Apparently there’s enough fish to go around because Krouse and Bruhl reported catching limits and more, and there were times when they were reeling a fish into the boat and saw two or three other bass — sometimes redfish — following the hooked fish, and the majority of the fish came in runs 6-10 feet deep.
- From leavings in the livewell, the fish were feeding on crawfish, small bluegill, shrimp and shad.
“We must have caught a hundred,” Krouse said. “It was the trip you dream about.”
The salty side
Back at Cajun Fishing Adventures, charters came in with limits and near limits of speckled trout taken from both east and west of the Mississippi River levee and La. 23.
Most of the keeper trout are coming from under feeding laughing gulls in both areas.
With a strong push of east winds, it’s best to check the forecast for the weekend in all coastal waters.
- National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Forecasts: nws.noaa.gov. Find the “Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zones – Gulf – New Orleans, La.” and a map with 13 different nearshore, offshore and Lake Pontchartrain wind and waves predictions for the next five days.
- Weather Underground: wunderground.com. Current conditions, a 10-day forecast, and hour-by-hour predicted temperatures, winds, precipitation and barometric pressure.
- National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center: water.weather.gov for river stages.