It’s the news Capital City and Acadiana area fishermen have been awaiting for darned near six months — the Atchafalaya River is falling and this vast basin is ready to produce bass, sac-a-lait, bluegill and chinquapin.
Although water levels are falling slowly, Sunday’s level at Morgan City is expected to be 4.2 feet, which is near the point where canal banks start to show. There will be water in the woods, but this is near a level when most of the targeted species have moved from flooded timber into sloughs and to the edges of the lakes and bayous.
Along the coast, several days of east and southeast winds have made a difference when it comes to catching speckled trout, which showed up along the beaches east and west of Grand Isle and at the reefs and platforms in Lake Borgne.
Offshore action continues to be solid on smallish red snapper in state waters, and mangrove snapper, cobia and amberjack at the offshore platforms, and on tuna, small wahoo and bull dolphin around rips and near the deep-water platforms.
A cold front is predicted to move in Friday, but will stall near the coast and bring increased chances of thunderstorms through Saturday. Expect light, southerly winds and seas into Saturday before a shift to the southwest then to the north with continued light seas. Sunrise temperatures will be in the mid-70s with afternoon highs returning to the mid-90s by Sunday.
The major rivers are on a hard fall with the Mississippi projected at 20.5 feet at Baton Rouge and 6.5 feet at New Orleans by Monday.
About 25 percent of the field in the Alzheimer’s Bass fundraiser went into the Atchafalaya with an average five-bass catch in the 11-12 pounds range. It took 15.8 pounds to win, and that stringer reportedly came from deep-water spots in the Verret Basin on deep crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics and other slowly worked deep-water lures.
As usual, buzzbaits (white/silver blades, black/black blades) and swimbaits (bream, shad colors) worked on the Atchafalaya bass. Square-billed, crawfish-colored crankbaits and watermelon/red flake soft-plastic creature baits worked in moving water in and around run-outs and sloughs.
Along the coast
Trout action picked up late last Thursday and, for veteran anglers, the catch was much improved over what it was during the past five weeks. Live bait was a key. Croakers (free-lined and on Carolina rigs) and larger live shrimp (free-lined and under corks) worked on the reefs and in the surf along the Central Coast.
East of the Mississippi River, use live shrimp under a cork in the bays, and near platforms on a rig with enough weight to get it to the bottom. A bonus of tripletail has come on free-lining live shrimp around buoys and crab pot floats.