As December rolls around — and lots of Lake Pontchartrain anglers are in deer stands and duck blinds pondering awkward office Christmas parties, lame bowl game matchups and how much fried turkey they can consume in the coming weeks — Capt. Kris Robert stays laser-focused on what he does for pretty much the other 11 months of the year.

The 43-year-old Slidell guide with One Last Cast Charters is busy tracking down speckled trout in and around Lake Pontchartrain for him and his clients.

And while the lake is still known for sporadically producing big specks, as well as solid numbers of trout during the “World Series Run” every fall, the final month of the year presents some challenges.

“The December bite can be tricky because it all depends on what’s happening with the weather,” Robert said, lamenting both the closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and the revamped levee system on the Pearl River as two key reasons why the estuary is less salty and more fresh than it used to be. “That’s why you’re not seeing the big ones …. And in previous years when the ‘World Series Trout’ was going on, we were getting cold fronts in the beginning of October — so by the time the end of the month came around and the World Series started, the water temperature had already dipped down to the low 70s and high 60s, and the trout were already there.”

Robert said water temperature in the lake is key on when speckled trout actually start stacking up on Pontchartrain’s bridges in the fall, including the Causeway, as well as the Trestles, Highway 11 and the I-10 Twin Span on the east end.

“Cooler water temperatures force the white shrimp out of the lake, so a trout’s diet changes,” Robert