The question of the month is, “rainbow or rainbeaux?”.

For fly anglers in and around New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Lafayette, Hammond, Chalmette and Monroe, it’s “rainbeaux trout” time.

Thanks to LDWF and parish agencies, local ponds are stocked with the popular cold-water species in December and January. The fish remain active until water temps reach 70 degrees, usually by late March.

It doesn’t take long for the trout to discover aquatic bugs and minnows are a better meal than marshmallows. So make sure your box contains wooly buggers, beadhead flies like Prince Nymphs and Copper Johns, and Parachute Adams and Griffith Gnats for hatches on mild afternoons.

Then there’s the “rainbow trout” stocked in the Ouachita Mountains tail waters less than three hours north of Shreveport. 

For these rivers, winter is prime stocking season. Try weighted black or olive wooly buggers in the pools and beadhead nymphs in riffles.

Crappie also like cold weather. Cast Fluff Butts and Crappie Candies tight to structure using strike indicators. Best colors are pink, chartreuse, gray or blue/white.

On the coast, cold water is clearer water. Calmer days will offer good sight-casting opportunities to reds, drum, and sheepshead. Go with darker flies such as black charlies, root beer spoonflies, purple Haleys Comets or any of the Borski slider patterns.