Speckled trout are already starting to make their return trip back into Lake Pontchartrain, and this weekend’s expected cool front should only improve fishing conditions as fall approaches and summer's heat slowly fades away, according to a fishing guide.
Capt. Kris Robert, with One Last Cast Charters, said all the conditions are falling into place for a serious World Series trout run next month.
“We’re going into that transition phase where the fish are holding in those deep holes. The more cold fronts we get, obviously the better it’s going to get,” Robert said. “The bait is loaded in the lake, the clarity of the water is a 10. It’s beautiful right now — you can probably see 4 feet down.
“The shrimp are loaded in the Rigolets and in Lake Pontchartrain. We’re a couple of cold fronts away — when that water temperature starts to drop, I think we’re going to have a great fall.”
Shrimp, pogeys and glass minnows are abundant, and Robert said rafts of mullet are present around Polecat Bend and Unknown Pass.
“The bait is here, the water clarity is here and the salinity is up,” he said. “I think they’re just starting to make their way over this way.”
For now, Robert is catching specks with either live shrimp or pogeys Carolina-rigged or on a drop-shot in 20 to 30 feet of water on both the L&N Train Bridge and the Highway 90 bridge, he said.
“What I figured out on Thursday was the boat was positioned in 30 feet of water, but the ledge they were sitting on was 25 feet. So once we pitched back on the top of the ledge and rolled the bait on top, they were there,” Robert said. “As soon as you would get it on top the ledge, they would bite it every cast.”
He’s using either a ¾ - or 1-ounce weight to get to the bottom, with a 16-inch leader.
“I’m looking for those deep channels with a ledge on them,” Robert said. “On the 90 bridge, even though they cut the bridge down, the pilings and the trash are still down there from that bridge.
“So once we got in that area and I could look at my depth finder and see humps like rubble or old pilings, I would position up current and pitch back, and let that bait roll over the top of that debris. Once we got over the top of it, they were biting every time.”
If you want to pass on the live bait and are an experienced with artificials, Robert recommended shrimp creole Matrix Shad on a ⅜-ounce Goldeneye jighead.
On the Trestles and the Highway 11 bridge, Robert said drum, redfish and sheepshead are being caught with live shrimp Carolina-rigged or on a drop-shot.
“And once you get them rolling with live shrimp, that feeding frenzy begins,” he said. “Then I come right behind them with plastic and catch just as many.”
But if you just want to hear your drag scream, Robert recommended heading down to the south end of the Trestles now.
“Around the rocks, there’s jacks galore,” he said. “I mean hundreds of them. The water is so clean, you can sight-fish them. They’ll be schools of 20 of them around the rocks, just waiting for something to come through.”
For now, though, Robert is hopeful the fall weather cooperates, and the lake experiences a real World Series trout run in October — something that hasn’t happened in the last three years.
“It’s really been a November bite lately, but I think with the cool fronts coming in earlier, we might have a cooler winter,” Robert said. “If we get that, and cold fronts start rolling in around early October, what will happen is the fish will move in for early October.
“Everything is lined up for them. And once they arrive, I think they’re going to like what they see with clean water, high salinity and tons of bait.”