Anglers have found fishing to be legendarily good in the first week they've had access to the waters since they were closed in May.
"There's plenty fish right now," said Independence angler and former STAR winner Joe Lavigne, who fished the area Tuesday and Wednesday (July 20 and 21).
Lavigne's trip coincided with strong southeasterly winds, which would normally make fishing tough.
"We wanted to fish the beach side, but it was too rough," he said.
No matter. Lavigne and his buddies simply stayed on the protected bay side, and the fishing couldn't have been easier.
They caught speckled trout one after another on purple beetles under rattling corks.
Lavigne saw a fair amount of shrimp jumping, and also observed plenty of birds diving across Caminada and Barataria bays.
"We don't fish the birds in Grand Isle because they usually mark white trout or small specks," he said.
As it was, the fish they caught were about 50-percent throwbacks. Lavigne is confident they would have caught much bigger fish if they could have gotten live bait, but there was none available on the island.
"I couldn't even find frozen shrimp," he said.
A close friend of Lavigne's was able to get some live croakers, and he whacked nice trout at the rocks in Caminada Pass on Sunday (July 18). This same angler also caught big trout on Monday at the bridge.
Lavigne got another report of an angler fishing the bridge who threw a live cocaho and caught a 2 ½-pound trout that threw up a croaker. The angler put the dead croaker on his hook, and instantly caught a 4-pound trout.
Live bait won't be so difficult to acquire soon. Buggie Vegas, owner of Bridge Side Marina, said he'd be getting cocahoes today (July 22), and will have live shrimp and croakers beginning Monday morning.
If conditions calm down, anglers will want to dunk that bait on the front side of the island, Vegas said.
"Before the wind picked up, the fish were on the surf all along the island," he said. "Everybody who went out killed them."
Something else that's in abundance in the area right now is crabs. Lavigne put out five traps during his two days there, and caught 12 dozen.
"They were really nice crabs – females, males and stonies," he said.
Lavigne cautioned, however, that some of the females were in the sponge phase, which makes them illegal to harvest. He returned those to the water.