This year's winter has been mild. This is bad news for anyone wanting to see snow. But for fishermen looking for the spring bite to heat up earlier than normal, it's a godsend.
Last Thursday (Jan. 24), Capt. Marty LaCoste of Absolute Fishing Charters caught a quick limit of speckled trout while fishing in the marshes near Lakes Mechant and De Cade - and put some redfish in the box, to boot.
While guiding trips, LaCoste has observed the transitory patterns of speckled trout in the area surrounding Dularge for many years. As such, he has been targeting trout that have been held up in the marsh and bayous surrounding Lake Mechant and Sister Lake, but Lacoste expects the fish to begin slowly transitioning out of those areas.
"With the water warming up, if it doesn't get any colder, the fish will start transitioning back into the lake(s)," LaCoste said. "They'll start out in the bayous and on the oyster reefs (in the marsh) and will, generally, be in over 1 foot of water through the middle of February."
Though it isn't time to jump into Lake Mechant for trout, Lake De Cade has been productive for winter anglers and is considered a winter fishing lake, according to Lacoste.
"On my last trip, we caught trout in Lake De Cade with white and chartreuse sparkle beetles under a cork," LaCoste said.
He said last year's spring trout transition was early because of warmer temperatures, and he thinks there will be a repeat this year. He said Lake De Cade should be good through March, Lake Mechant and Sister lake should also begin heating up.
"The shrimp should start showing up in late March, early April, in the marsh," he explained. "That's when you want to fish those bayous going into Lake Mechant on a falling tide. We were catching trout offshore a whole month early last year (in April) due to the mild winter."
Though LaCoste believes the spring transition will happen early, he said anglers should stay on the fish in the marsh and bayous for the time being.
He has found that Matrix Shad in tiger, green hornet and avocado are the best colors to use in the marshes around Mechant.
"When the fish eventually get into the lake and the birds start showing up, you should put on a double-rig Matrix Shad." LaCoste said.