If you’re looking for some relief from all the high water spread across Louisiana, especially the southern parishes, then you’re going to have to wait days, maybe weeks.
Heavy April rains, rainfall that made it the fourth-wettest April on record, combined with all that snow and ice melting (and more heavy rains) in the dozens of states drained by the Mississippi River, have sent water levels to dangerous levels.
Check out the Verret Basin: Though rains have abated, the water that came in April and the strong southerly winds since then, have left high water lingering in popular access points and fishing spots along Belle River, Pierre Part and Four Mile Bayou.
It’s a predicament freshwater anglers often don’t face: When the Atchafalaya River takes on floodwaters from the Mississippi and Red rivers, the folks who pursue bass, sac-a-lait and any of the bream species usually have the Verret Basin as a very viable alternative.
Not today. The Assumption Parish Police Jury and Office of Emergency Preparedness continued its month-long hold to boaters on a “no-wake zone” order in Belle River and Pierre Part Bay, and boaters are reminded that they are responsible for their wakes while wave wash continues to flow over bulkheads and under camps throughout the system.
Even worse, there’s nothing that leads anyone to believe these conditions will improve.
Beginning Friday, there’s no less than a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms over the southern parishes through Tuesday, and continued 10-15 knot southeast winds will hold water in most basins.
Couple that with the latest 28-day Mississippi River forecast, Wednesday’s level at 28.6 feet at Baton Rouge and a 10.9-foot reading at New Orleans, and a projected respective June 9 readings of 22.7 and 8.4 feet, and it means Atchafalaya Basin fishermen will have to wait into late June before bass, sac-a-lait, goggle-eye and bream fishing “gets right” in this massive spillway, and folks wanting to hit the nearshore rigs off the distributaries of the Mississippi River south of Venice must wait for water to clear, too.
All that Mississippi River water isn’t bad: Veteran speckled trout fishermen, who double as river watchers, know that high river water flowing from east side cuts and passes help push trout into the Pontchartrain Basin. And from all the reports streaming in from The Rigolets, other passes and Pontchartrain’s bridges, speckled trout are everywhere. The trout are not the giants, the 5-, 6- and 7-pounders these waters occasionally produce, there are enough 14-to-20 inch trout to please the hundreds of boats that have been in these waters for the past two weeks.
And there’s enough down-river action in places like behind the outflow jetties at South Pass and in spots like Blind Bay and Redfish Bay (southeast of Venice) to provide trout anglers with enough action to think about another trip.
Last week’s catches came on Deadly Dudley’s blue moon/chartreuse plastics, and there was little or no interest shown by trout to take live croaker or shrimp.