Sac-a-lait photo

Catches of sac-a-lait like this near filling two small ice chests are coming from working live and artificial baits around trees in the big lakes in the Verret Basin.

It’s spring, and thousands of young mens' fancies turn to fishing. Right?

OK, so lots of older men, younger women (none of whom get older), and children are getting the same urges.

But what are we to do?

There’s water everywhere, high water, and it’s cutting into what should be the first weeks of a a most pleasurable time on our outdoors calendar.

It’s freshwater where our biggest problems lay: the forecast for the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers is getting worse, not better.

All the rain and snow melt in the Mississippi Basin means we should see high water for at least the next six weeks.

Good news

Freshwater reports are getting better in Verret Basin.

To follow last week’s info about the shad spawn across south Louisiana’s lakes, bayous and canals — the spawn continues in False River and catfish continue to feed in the early morning — working shad-colored spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and jerkworms can punch your ticket for the best bass action reported in weeks.

It’s a must to find a bank and good water on the northern end of the basin.

From the “Boomie” Chustz tournament Sunday, Steve Fontana and Gene Andre worked canals off Pat’s Bay for a winning 12-pound catch.

“Not big fish, but there was enough action for about the first couple of hours in the morning,” Fontana said. “We didn’t find what you’d call ‘good’ water, but the (water) color was perfect for spinnerbaits.”

Folks scouting for this weekend’s Westside Bassmasters Veterans tournament found bass around the trees in the big lakes.

While the landings throughout this area are open, including Doiron’s for the Westside tournament, the downside here is vast stretches of No Wake zones continue along Belle River and anywhere wave wash can damage homes and camps.

If you’re launching at Bayside in Pierre Part, you’ll have to idle through Pierre Part Pass, but can accelerate when you get into Lake Verret. Same’s true for Bayou Corne, Grand Bayou and Doiron’s.

Warning: The latest report is water is level with most piers, so running wide open in the big lakes might not be the best approach especially in low-light hours.

Sac-a-lait

The bite is on in the Verret Basin.

Tube jigs in a variety of colors and shiners are working along the lines of trees in the lakes and canals.

It’s best to work the shiners under a cork. Some folks are working the tube jigs (with a weed guard) slowly around the trees, while another method is to put the tube 12-18 inches under a cork.

If you’re fishing with a buddy, then try both methods with the artificial presentation to find out which is working best that day.

The action comes at the right time for this Sunday’s Glenn’s Automotive Set The Hook sac-a-lait tournament from Bayside in Pierre Part.

This series’ average winning seven-fish catch runs 7-8 pounds, but there’s every indication this weekend’s catch could past nine pounds.

The MRGO

Bass and redfish continue to provide action at the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in St. Bernard Parish.

There are several launch sites here from U.S. 90 in eastern Orleans Parish to the Bayou Bienvenue site.

Bass-tackle spinnerbaits, heavy-wire redfish spinners rigged with a soft-plastic minnow imitation and redshad worms (Texas-rigged with an eighth-ounce bullet weight) and jerkworms are working in the marshes off the MRGO and the nearby Intracoastal Waterway.

Along the coast

Saturday’s storm and accompanying winds put a quietus on the weekend action both east and west of the Mississippi River.

Monday was a different story. Waters east of Grand Isle toward Four Bayous Pass yielded a three-angler catch of 52 trout mostly in the 1-2 pounds range.

Reefs behind Grand Isle produced slightly fewer fish — two guys caught 34 before 10:30 a.m., then they headed into the marsh and along the rock jetties to catch a redfish limit.

Delacroix action was down after the front with an average catches Monday of 10 trout per angler, and the action was better at Shell Beach and Hopedale.

No early week reports from Pelto, Terrebonne or Caillou Boca, but you could expect trout action there to follow the trend of the best trout catches along the coast since last year. Heard from the Dularge area late Tuesday and redfish where darned near everywhere there was some water movement along the coastal marshes.

Weekend conditions

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Forecasts: nws.noaa.gov. Find the “Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zones – Gulf – New Orleans, La.” and a map with 13 different nearshore, offshore and Lake Pontchartrain wind and waves predictions for the next five days.
  • Weather Underground: wunderground.com. Current conditions, a 10-day forecast, and hour-by-hour predicted temperatures, winds, precipitation and barometric pressure.
  • National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center: water.weather.gov for river stages.