If you can't catch a limit of trout in Cocodrie this month, you can't blame the fishery. At least, that's what one of the veteran guides in the area reported.
"There's a million speckled trout — all between 10 inches to 13 inches," said Capt. Tommy Pellegrin of Custom Charters. "There are very few really nice fish, but there's a lot of trout. You can go catch them all day long."
Pellegrin said the reason for the masses of school trout is pretty obvious.
"There are shrimp everywhere," he said. "There are so many trout chasing so many shrimp. This is an exceptional year with the number of trout."
That means birds often act as locators for anglers seeking action, but don't be discouraged if you don't see flocks dive-bombing — you can still catch fish if you're in the right place.
"The birds will fill up and just sit on the water," Pellegrin said. "But if you see birds sitting on the water, there's a reason they're there."
The real challenge is narrowing down where to catch fish because there are literally shrimp all over the place.
"After the birds fill up and the trout fill up, the shrimp will still jump," Pellegrin said.
So the fishing guide advised focusing on travel routes, where specks transitioning from their summer lairs to their winter haunts congregate to gorge themselves.
"They're still in highway mode," Pellegrin said. "They're not in the deep holes yet, where they'll be in the winter."
However, don't look in the big, major throughways like the Houma Navigation Canal and Grand Caillou because the fish have already made their annual migration through those areas.
"You want to focus on the medium-sized bayous and the interior lakes like Lake Mechant and Lost Lake," Pellegrin said.
Target current lines off points in these lakes and curves with adjacent flats in the medium-sized bayous for best success.
"These curves (in the bayous) have a slack belly where the fish can get out of the current until they want to feed," Pellegrin said. "The current sweeps those shrimp right into their faces, and they don't have to move to eat."
His go-to bait is Berkley's Rattle Shrimp, which he has dubbed "the dog."
"If you want to find something, send the dog," Pellegrin said with a chuckle. "If you want to find trout, send the Berkley Rattle Shrimp."
The great thing about this lure is that, because it's part of Berkley's PowerBait line, scent is released when fish chew on it.
"It just gets better the more fish you catch," Pellegrin said.
Position the bait about 18 inches beneath a popping cork, and get ready to battle fish. But he said the bite often is pretty subtle.
"The fish will hit the bait and just sit there," Pellegrin said. "A lot of times, the cork will just twitch or the line will start moving to the side."