March is supposed to be “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb,” a signal to the end of winter’s hard north winds and that month’s violent, changing-of-the-seasons storms. After what’s happened the past two weeks, it looks like February stole some of that thunder.
There’s another cold front due in early next week, but take time to enjoy what’s ahead — wonderful spring conditions, pleasantly cool mornings and sunny, warm afternoons — through Sunday. The only warning is Sunday morning’s fog.
Even better is the sun will bring warmer water temperatures, and, for freshwater folks, it could mean the first shots at spawning fish, or fish getting ready to spawn on Monday’s full moon.
Sac-a-lait are the first targets: With water temps reaching into the mid 50s in places like the Verret Basin, the Des Allemands area and new freshwater spots in Delacroix and the northern reaches of the Barataria Basin, sac-a-lait take to spawning rituals — moving into shallower, warmer waters when water temps hit 57-59 degrees.
For marsh anglers, warmer conditions mean speckled trout will be on the move from the interior marshes to the larger bays in the first hint of moving to the coast.
Expect lows-50s in the mornings and mid-70s afternoons with 10-15 knot southeast and south winds and 1-3 foot seas settling to 5-10 knot winds and seas less than a foot by Sunday before rain is predicted to move into south Louisiana late Monday. The offshore forecast calls for 3-4 foot seas.
The major rivers are up again, including the Pearl River’s heavy rise.
Look for trout to move into more open waters, still near canals, bayous and rivers, and it’s best to target areas on the south ends of small lakes and the northern areas of larger water bodies nearer to the coast. For the most part, the recent north winds and volumes of rain have pushed shrimp farther to the south to remain in water with enough salt content.
The southeast winds will begin to refill the marshes more quickly in areas east of the Mississippi River, which means the Bayou Sauvage and Hopedale areas and places like Quarentine, California and Long bays will be refreshed by clearer, saltier water blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico.
Southeast winds have a dark side, too: With the Pearl River hitting flood stages along its southern run, these winds will blow dirty freshwater into Lake Borgne and the northern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain, which is still trying to recover from the push of Mississippi River water from the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Bass and redfish continue to show up in the north end of the MRGO and in the Delacroix marshes. Verret, Des Allemands and Turtle Bayous area canals are holding bass and sac-a-lait.