It’s highly unusual to see our major rivers rise in October, and the rises in store for the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers will remove some of the better fishing waters from our list of fall’s top can’t-miss freshwater and coastal spots.

But that gives us a chance to explore other waters, places like the Florida Parishes’ rivers, the Tickfaw, Amite, Tchefuncte and the three runs of the Pearl, and Bayou Teche for the Acadiana area folks. And for the folks who want to see what oxbows hold this time of year, there’s Lake St. John and Lake Concordia. Toledo Bend’s report has bass feeding heavily on shad now that water is cooling.


No rain and mild temperatures — wear jackets for those early morning boat rides — come with north winds and relatively calm sea conditions on the east side of the Mississippi River. Look for 10-15 knot northeast, then east winds along the Central Coast to produce 2-4 foot nearshore waves. Friday’s 3-5 footers offshore are predicted to settle to 1-2 footers by Sunday.

The Mississippi River will push from Thursday’s 16.2 feet at Baton Rouge and 4.7 feet in New Orleans to respective 21.5 and 6.1 levels by Monday, and from a 4.0- to 6.1-foot rise on the Atchafalaya at Bayou Sorrel.


It’s no secret that a rising Atchafalaya River cuts into the bass and sac-a-lait action in the Spillway. If you’re determined to ply those waters, then look to the south end, the Schwing Chute and Flat Lake areas for the best action. The cooler water should push baitfish and bass to the banks. Punching grass with creature baits is a productive pattern.

The lack of rain means Belle River and the Intracoastal Canal will clear and working buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and shad-colored crankbaits will produce bass on points and around bulkheads. Look for lily pads in the lakes to hold bass. Brushtops and “wood” will hold sac-a-lait: Use black/chartreuse tubes.

Square-billed and lipless, shad-colored and bream-colored crankbaits will work on bass in the Florida Parishes rivers. Try red shad and tequila sunrise-colored worms, and it might be time to go back to the old-time purple/blue tail worms. Bass are feeding on shad, so buzzbaits and spinnerbaits will work early in the morning in the shallows, especially where you can find grass.

Buzzbaits, walking-the-dog topwaters and shad-colored crankbaits in the San Miguel and 1215 areas are producing bass at Toledo Bend.

On the coast

Head to the marshes and the open waters of Lake Boudreaux, Lake DeCade and Lake Mechant for solid speckled trout action. Use plastics under a cork on drifts across these lakes. The bayous and canals are holding lots of redfish.

Water is lower in Hopedale/Delacroix marshes. Work grass and points there.