There’s no way to sugar-coat the coming days: Another cold front, maybe the strongest of the season, and continuing high water will plague south Louisiana.
Conditions will be tougher on freshwater folks, but the strongest north winds of the winter will push water from the marshes and make finding speckled trout a much tougher task.
A small-craft advisory is expected by late Thursday. Boaters can expect to find shallow flats in the coastal areas, so you need to be extra cautious of where you run. You don’t want to be stranded on a mud flat in 30-degree weather.
With the approaching front in combination with a full moon, there’s little chance for an accurate prediction for success through Sunday and into next week.
Yet, with clear skies moving in Friday, consider afternoon trips. Give the sun a chance to warm waters — even a few degrees warmer can make a difference — and you’re likely to find more active fish.
Certainly this is a time to fish deep and slow, very slow, to give fish a chance to find the bait.
This week’s run of south winds will give way to 20-30 knot northwest winds and extra-rough inland and offshore conditions Friday and Saturday before settling to 5-10 knot northeast winds and much lighter seas Sunday and Monday.
Look for morning lows in the 30s Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 50s, then warmer before the next front moves in Tuesday. Rain will linger into Friday morning. After that, the next rain chance comes Tuesday.
The Mississippi River, already at crest and falling to the 43-foot level in Baton Rouge, will continue to rise to 16.7 feet Monday on the New Orleans gauge. The Atchafalaya River at Butte LaRose will begin a slow fall from a 20.3-foot level, but will rise to 12.3 feet Monday on the Bayou Sorrel gauge.
It’s not rain, but lack of sunshine and the cold front bringing extra-high barometric pressures that will cause problems into Sunday.
With water temperatures in the 50s, the bite has been slow in most basins, bayous and rivers, and reports are you can expect no more than 5-6 bass bites on a trip into the Verret Basin and the bayous and canals in the marshes south of U.S. 90.
With north winds pushing water, maybe the best shot will be the Tickfaw, Tchefuncte and Pearl rivers. Again, you’ll find cold water, but moving water provides a better chance, especially during the afternoon.
Delacroix, Hopedale, the Biloxi Marsh and waters around Cocodrie and Golden Meadow hold the most promise. Again, don’t expect limits, and the best action will be around noon and into the afternoon hours.
It’s also time to consider reducing lure size and increasing jighead weights to keep baits on the bottom.