Macaluso fishing report: Catfish a solid alternative _lowres

Advocate photo by BRAD KEMP Mickie Druilhet baits his hook with a worm while fishing for catfish in the rain on the Vermilion River in Beaver Park on May 11, 2015 , in Lafayette.

Even though we’re a couple of weeks into spring, it looks like Mother Nature doesn’t want to loosen her grip on winter.

Yep, another cold front is predicted to move in Friday just in time to ruin another weekend.

It’s not the mornings near 50 degrees that’s hurting: Shifting winds are churning all shallow-water areas across south Louisiana, and that puts a premium on finding clear enough water to catch speckled trout and any of the freshwater species except catfish.

That’s why there’s a departure from the norm this week: If you’re determined to hit the coastal marshes, then find run-outs or any place with clearer water and you’re likely to run across a few trout.

And if you can find live minnows (fresh market shrimp is a good alternative), then rig them under a cork and look for redfish, drum and, maybe trout and flounder.

But with dirty, moving water, the best alternative is hunting for catfish.

There’s lots of good to come from putting enough freshwater cats in the ice chest for a family feed — hey, you can live with a little slime for the delicate flavor of wild-caught catfish — and the daily limit is extraordinarily liberal.

Before you head out, understand there are size and creel limits, minimums of 12 inches for blue catfish, 11 inches for channel cats and 14 inches for flathead catfish, and you can legally catch and keep a combination of 100 of those three species in a day. State managers even go so far as to allow a “fudge” factor with catfish and allow a fisherman to have up to “25 undersized catfish of the three species combined.”

Caddo Lake, Toledo Bend and the Sabine River have different regulations, but those are not in play here.

There are accessible prime catfish areas like the area around Bayou Magazille where it enters on the south end of Lake Verret, the mouths of canals in the Verret Basin (especially when water is moved by tide or wind from the canals), where Four Mile Bayou dumps into Grassy Lake and in the Persimmon Pass area.

The Amite and Tickfaw rivers are good, too, but Wednesday’s river forecast shows Florida Parishes rivers, except for the Pearl, are rising through the weekend.

You can use a variety of baits. Big nightcrawlers work, but so do inexpensive hot dogs “marinated” overnight in anise oil along with any of the prepared baits you can get at tackle stores and bait shops.


Friday’s early and relatively light west winds will give way to 10-25 knot south and southeast winds later in the day, before 15-25 knot north winds take hold Saturday, then go 5-10 north-northeast Sunday in interior waters and on the east side of the Mississippi River, and stay in the unfishable, and dangerous, 20-25 knot range along the Central Coast and in offshore waters.