The first solid reports are trickling in from the coast this week, and it looks like we’re in for some can’t-miss opportunities on speckled trout in the next weeks.
Better yet is that the action has picked up coastwide, although east of the Mississippi River lags behind the Central Coast and the Big Lake area.
The high and still rising Atchafalaya River is putting a crimp on action in the Basin, and leaving the marshes and clearer-water spots in the Verret Basin as the only productive freshwater areas for bass.
Panfish are taking a variety of offerings in the Verret Basin and the Lac Des Allemands area.
For the first time in weeks, no storms nor cold fronts. Look for 5-10 knot south winds throughout the weekend with 1-2 footers in Lake Pontchartrain, 2-footers along the Central Coast and 2-3 foot seas offshore with moderate temperatures (a 68-88 range) with a slight chance of rain each day.
The major rivers continue to rise: The Mississippi River will hit the 36-foot mark at Baton Rouge early next week (14.3 at New Orleans), with the Atchafalaya getting to the 6-foot reading (2 feet above flood stage) at Morgan City.
Bluegill and other sunfishes, and sac-a-lait are dominating the action. Finding clear water is a problem, especially in the Verret Basin. Use crickets for the bluegill and tubes for the sac-a-lait.
Frogs worked well on bass in the Verret area (in clearer, though not clear water) and watermelon-red “creature” baits and lizards along with spinnerbaits are doing the trick in the marshes.
The Pontchartrain report is sketchy: The railroad bridge and the U.S. 11 bridge are giving up some trout on plastics. Water there continues to be on the dingy side, but reports are the south winds should pump clearer water into this area and the action should be on the rise.
The hottest spot appears to be the Central Coast. Black/chartreuse and electric chicken-colored soft plastics worked on taking a two-man limit along and around East Timbalier Island.
The Fourchon beaches were hot, too. Smaller trout (14-17 inches) were taking plastics on a jighead 50-100 yards off the beaches and around the sunken barges, and bigger trout (18-21 inches) were taking topwaters and plastics on a jighead closer on the beaches.
There was plenty of action under the birds behind Grand Isle, and over the reef at Independence Island, but those trout were on the small side.
The Delacroix area has lots of muddy water on the surface, but trout are taking soft plastics under a cork. The bottom layer of water is clear and working the bait about three feet under a cork paid off when fishing on a moving tide.
The structures in Lake Borgne produced trout, too, but rough surface conditions have cut into catches.
Big Lake continues to produce big trout on topwaters.