Capt. Mike Gallo makes the run from his base camp in the Rigolets all the way over to the upper east side of Biloxi Marsh to get into some trout action this month.
“I’ve been forced to scope out some new territory to find speckled trout due to the large amount of fresh water in Lake Pontchartrain,” he said. “Speckled trout can handle some fresh water but when the salinities fall too low the trout will seek saltier water. So I’ve been running over to the Lawson Bay area, and fishing the bigger bays on the east side of the upper Biloxi Marsh. Fishing Smack Bay, Shell Island Lake, Indian Mound Bay, White Log Lake, and as far down as Christmas Camp Lake when I have to.”
Gallo brings a baitwell loaded with live shrimp and hunts for the subtle and not-so-subtle markers that indicate fish.
“One of the things I do is study the most recent Hydrocoast Map put out by the Lake Pontchartrain Foundation,” Gallo said. “It’ll show me where the higher salinities are, whether in Lake Pontchartrain or in Lake Borgne or over around the Biloxi Marsh, and I’ll head that way.
“I spent the money and bought a salinity tester, so I know exactly how many parts per thousand are in the water, but I also realized there’s a way to know when you’re in salty water without the tester, and without scooping a handful of water and tasting it. Look for jellyfish. If those little jellyfish are in the water, it’s salty. Now look for bait moving or a good current line off a point, or the most tell-tale sign of all, seagulls diving.”
Gallo said there are a lot of good points in the area, and any that have current moving around them are worth trying.
“Toss your live shrimp out, about 2 ½ feet under a cork, and give it 10 minutes,” he said. “I abide by the 10-minute rule: Give a spot 10 minutes to produce fish or at least some promising action, and move elsewhere if it doesn’t. This isn’t park and wait for them to come to you territory. Ten minutes, then move. Follow that rule, look for bait movement, look for current, look for birds. You’ll put fish in the boat.”
Gallo said fishing closer to the bank at the points and at cuts and corners and coves will produce some reds in the same areas, on live or dead shrimp, gold spoons, Gulp shrimp or beetle-spins.
The LPBF produces biweekly Pontchartrain Basin Hydrocoast maps with a salinity, biology, water quality, habitat and weather monitoring component assessing basin conditions. Access them at www.saveourlake.org.