The Plaquemines Parish recovery took a body blow recently when it was announced that there was a push to exclude the parish from a strengthened levee system that would protect the rest of the region. While the future is uncertain, Plaquemines Parish residents are loudly proclaiming that, even though they may be down, they are not out.

Susan Gros of Reel Louisiana Adventures (504-329-REEL or made it a point to let anglers know that Plaquemines Parish is open for business, and there are enough guides back on their feet to keep everybody happy.

"Fishing is hot from the marsh to the gulf," Gros proclaimed. "The skinny water fish such as reds are outstanding right now. Fly-fishing has been awesome with reds up to 20 pounds and black drum up to 50. You've got to have a skinny water boat to get to these fish, though, because they're in only inches of water on oyster beds in south Barataria Bay and the passes around Grand Isle."

Gros also reported that there were plenty big trout on the move and that the "big girls" should show up any day now down the river near Venice. The only problem at Venice right now is that the passes have changed.

"If you're going to attempt to fish on your own without a guide," she said, "you can try the bays near Breton Sound side to the east. From Myrtle Grove, you can run out Wilkerson Canal to Barataria Bay and fish Manilla Village and St. Mary Point. The fish are already under the birds, so be on the lookout for that action."

Gros said that a lot of the big specks have been falling for the Old Bayside Speckulizer Rig. This rig has shrimp threaded onto weighted hooks under the titanium wire Paradise Popper Extreme cork. Gros also reported that the Myrtle Grove marina would have live bait in the next two weeks.

"Of course, everybody's geared up for the opening of snapper season on Friday," Gros added. "This will probably be the best fishing we've had in the last 15 years because of the lack of pressure due to the short season last year and the fact that the fish have been shuffled around and clinging to bits and pieces of debris on the bottom."

Check the platforms in as shallow as 40 feet this weekend as you head out for snapper. Gros said there were plenty of fish around the West Delta Rigs and the Grand Isle and South Timbalier blocks.

"That gives you a good spread to fish," she said. "All those rigs are holding fish. They key is that you can catch them in as little as 40 feet. If you've got a small boat and the seas are cooperative, you should do well."

Of course, the simple solution to finding fish this weekend is to book a guide. Gros has assembled a stable of guides in her years of fishing, and she can help you book the perfect guide for your situation.

"I set you up based on what's best for you," Gros said. "Say you've got a 10 year old boy, and you need a guide that's good with kids, we can find just the right guide for you. Or, maybe you want to go after a wall-hanger and aren't worried about a lot of bites. We can set you up with the perfect guide for that too. I don't want you to have any surprises at the dock."