“I call them ‘highways’,” said the deeply tanned lower Lafourche Parish fishing guide.

“Oh yeah, I can dig it,” I said. “During the fall transition times, speckled trout search out deep bayous and canals to travel from the lower bays to the upper parts of the estuaries.”

“Well, not exactly,” replied Chad Billiot (Marsh Rat Guide Service, 985-637-5058).

“Transition is when the trout move from their spawning grounds up into interior marshes. That’s mid-September to mid-October. A ‘flip-around’ occurs from the first week in March to mid-April, when they move back the other way.” 

The word ‘highway’ brings to the human mind a picture of a narrow route. But not to Billiot. “A highway to me is not the deeper canals and bayous. Highways aren’t bays or lakes either. A highway to me has no more than 3 feet of water.

“Trout rapidly move through bays and lakes rapidly into shallow marshes, but not yet those deep inside where they will winter. These fish spent the summer from Grand Isle to Fourchon. In the dead of winter, they will be as far up as Little Lake out of Clovelly Farms.

“They are in shallow waters between the two areas feeding very aggressively. Ninety percent of their forage is shrimp because there are so many shrimp still there. We don’t get strong enough cold fronts to push most of the shrimp out of the marsh until late November.

“They are feeding, but they are moving and they don’t stage