As water temperatures across Louisiana’s coast slowly rebound after this week’s Arctic blast, anglers are eagerly anticipating a potential speckled trout feeding frenzy after days of cold-induced inactivity.
“I think it’s going to turn on big time because these trout won’t have eaten in maybe five or six days,” said Capt. Marty LaCoste, with Absolute Fishing Charters in Dularge. “They’re just sitting there freezing trying to survive.
“Once that water temperature makes it to 48 or 49 or 50, the trout are probably going to bite because they’re going to be starving. Hopefully, we can get back up to 50 degrees soon.”
The good news is state officials don’t expect any major fish kills because of the brief duration of the frigid temperatures.
“It would probably have to be below freezing for five to seven days to start seeing anything,” said Randy Pausina, head of fisheries with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “There may be some very shallow canals affected hat might have a handful of fish in them, but we haven’t gotten any reports.
“We don’t really anticipate anything, and it’s already going to be 60 degrees this weekend.”
As of this morning, water temps across the coast were in the low 40s: 44 in Big Lake, 40.6 at Shell Beach and 43 near Venice.
“There’s a possibility we could be catching trout this weekend,” LaCoste said. “We all have our fingers crossed.”
Rain chances have been reduced to 20 percent for Saturday with a high in the mid-60s, and LaCoste suggested fishing main bayous in Bayou Sauveur north of Moncleuse Bay and in Lake De Cade if water temperatures cooperate.
And the Tank Battery Canal, a well-known winter hotspot for trout and redfish in the area, should be turning on, he said.
“When the water temperatures are in the low 40s, typically what happen is the redfish stack in there,” LaCoste said. “And when it gets in the low 50s, that’s when the trout are in there.”
The canal used to be about 8-feet deep, but now the average depth is probably between 6- and 7-feet, he said.
“What’s weird is the redfish stack up all the way in the back where it’s shallow,” he said. “They’re in 2- to 3-feet of water in the dead-ends.
“For some reason they seem to congregate all the way in the back where it’s the shallowest. That may be because that water warms up the fastest.”
For redfish, LaCoste fishes with the spartacus Vortex shad, and also Matrix shad in green hornet and pink champagne.
For specks, his clear favorite is the Matrix shad in green hornet, followed closely by tiger bait.
“The green hornet is 100-percent effective for me every day. That’s the main bait I’ve been throwing every single day, catching limits every day,” he said.
But during colder months, LaCoste said he uses a 3/8-ounce jighead, instead of the usual ¼-ounce, for a little more weight.
“I’m trying to get it down on the bottom as fast as I can,” he said. “And if you’re fishing in the main bayous and you have a good current, that little bit extra helps get it down on the bottom.”