When many anglers think of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin in October, they think of the Trestles.
However, over the past few years the bridge hasn’t gotten loaded with speckled trout until November — and when it does, there’s a boat on every piling.
But until then Capt. John Falterman focuses on the East Pearl River and lambastes the speckled trout, provided that the river is at a manageable height.
“When the Pearl is low, it produces specks and reds,” Falterman said. “We fish the drainage pockets. There’s a lot of drainage funnels in the river.”
One of the main reasons the fish drift into the Pearl this time of year is because of a saltwater wedge that moves into the river, forcing white shrimp along with it, he said.
“There’s a lot of bait in that area,” Falterman explained. “The Rigolets is one of the main drains that funnel the bait in and out, and some of that bait gets pushed into the river.”
With low river levels, Falterman said the water generally will be clean.
However, don’t be scared off by dingy water, he advised.
“Even when the river is dirty, there is still good fishing in the river,” Falterman said. “I went in the river in (early August) and caught fish when it was dirty.”
In the Pearl, Falterman fishes both flats and deepwater ledges. He focuses his efforts on the deep water when it’s hot, and moves to the shallows when it’s cool.
“As it gets hotter, they drop down to get in that cooler water,” he said. “Last year, though, we caught some big trout in 4 feet of water.”
When focusing on the ledges, Falterman said it’s critical to figure out where the fish are relating on the ledge based on the current.
He targets them with live shrimp but catches them on plastic when he can.
“Sometimes, we’ll get them started on live shrimp, and then switch over to plastic,” Falterman said. “Other days, they’re so aggressive, and they’ll start hitting plastic right away.”
When the fish are hitting artificial, Falterman fishes a Crappie Psychic trailer, which he said the fish can’t stand.
“I’ve drop-shot them before, and they’ll hit them like that, too,” he said. “I just put them on one barb of the treble hook so it flutters, and they nail it.”
When fishing the flats, Falterman uses the Boat Monkey Float tied to a 4-foot leader connected to a 1/8-ounce jighead.
Falterman is optimistic for this month at the Pearl.
“I think we’re going to have a good season this year with all of the 11-inch trout we’ve caught all summer,” he said.