Speckled tout fishing in Lake Pontchartrain follows a regular annual cycle with four fishing seasons.
Spring fishing starts when water surface temperatures reach the mid 50s, typically in mid March. This is artificial lure time, ideal for fishing soft plastic baits on 3/8-ounce jigs at the the Tressels, Causeway, Interstate 10 and Highway 11 bridges.
Schlumbrecht’s favorite lures are Deadly Dudley Bay Coveys in midnight blue moon or slammin’ sammy colors.
This spring pattern holds until about mid-June.
When the summer season starts, the trout fishery of the lake becomes a live-bait fishery.
Veteran guide Greg Schlumbrecht starts off with live shrimp, but when the pogies (aka menhaden) grow large to about 3 ½ inches long, typically in July, he shifts to using them.
Pogies are not available in bait shops like shrimp are, so he cast-nets for them while riding his trolling motor, often in canals, but also in the lake and its passes.
The signs of pogie schools include a triangle-shaped ripple on the water’s surface or silver flashes just beneath the water’s surface.
He seldom uses other live baits. He will occasionally soak croakers, but says that cacahoes seldom work, as they are not a natural bait for the lake.
Summertime fishing starts off strong at the Tressels, and then action shifts to Chef Menteur, Rigolets, False and Unknown passes, Miller’s Ditch and Lake Borgne.
The summer season extends into early October.
Cooling water temperatures brings on the fall season, which is a ditto of the spring season.
Fishing concentrates on the four bridges again. A legendary run of big trout, called "World Series Trout" takes place in late October.
The fall season peters out by mid December to mid January.
Right before the fishing shuts down, though, Schlumbrecht counsels, some really good fishing can be had in deep holes (over 12 feet deep) in Geoghagen’s Canal, Geoghagen’s Pond and Lakeshore Estates.
When water temperatures fall below 50 degrees, trout fishing essentially shuts down, according to Schlumbrecht.
"It’s not a winter fishery," he said. "But that doesn’t break my heart; I love to duck hunt."