Ready or not, here comes the big change folks have been praying for throughout our long summer months.
With a prediction to wake Saturday morning with temperatures in the 50s, we can expect this first major cold front to change freshwater and coastal fishing for the next several months.
The 15-25 knot winds along and off the coast will turn aside the effects of easterly winds that have swelled coastal water levels.
Rain through Friday, when winds will shift to the west then to the north and blow up to 25 knots across south Louisiana. By Sunday, winds are predicted to move to the east, then southeast, then settle down at 10-15 knots and calm the rough nearshore and offshore seas.
Look for lows in the 50s with 65-degree highs for the weekend before rising and settling into mid 80s afternoon highs early next week.
The major rivers will fall: The Mississippi will be down more than a foot at New Orleans from last week’s reading and settle at 3.8 feet by Monday. The Atchafalaya River, up over a 5-foot reading on the Bayou Sorrel gauge last week, will be at 2.6 early next week.
The dramatic change will alter all patterns folks have been working since August.
Mostly due to cloud cover, water temperatures in the southern parishes fell this week and should dip into the lower 70s after two days of rain, the cold front and the fact that the sun is dipping lower in the sky.
Usually cooler water and falling water levels trigger active feeding periods for bass and sac-a-lait despite the high pressure that will settle in after the cold front.
There will be a lot of mixing water in the Atchafalaya Spillway. Grand Lake is a solid target, but so are the major bayous, places like Big and Little Pigeon, Mallet, Bear, Lower Sorrel and Bayou April. Falling water levels brings forage to the bass and sac-a-lait that have staked out their spots in the major bayous during the late summer days.
Topwaters, square-billed shad-colored crankbaits, and spinnerbaits should work.
The high skies will tend to push bass and sac-a-lait into heavier cover, but with water moving and an expected abundance of forage, we can look for these two species to be very active and be ready to chase moving lures.
Most river systems will produce the same results: Find runouts, and fish should be in moving, mixing water.
Along the coast
It’s going to be too rough to get into the big water this weekend, but marshes should be solid. After two weeks of high water, north winds will change the marsh patterns of working points and coves. The water will not be there. Look for runouts from the ponds.
There are lots of shrimp and baitfish in the marsh east of the Mississippi River. Working soft plastics under a cork should produce small trout and keeper redfish.