The bream bite at Lac Des Allemands south of Edgard was already starting in late April, but Baton Rouge angler Josh Roussell said by this month you almost can’t strike out.

“The perch will really be spawning,” said Roussell, who spends as much time on the lake as he can. “I’ve caught some nice fish in there.

“I just have to stop and look at them — they’ll be as big as my hand, and I have big hands.”

Clean water is a primary indicator of success, with pretty root beer-colored water being optimal.

“Every time I go, with every fish I go after, I’m looking for good, clean water,” Roussell said. “That root beer water is really what I’m looking for. Down here in Southeast Louisiana, there’s not a lot of times you’re going to find really clear water.

“So I’m looking for that blackish/brown water.”

He spends most of his time in the canals off the lake, with his top three go-to areas being Dugas Canal, Columbia and Stump.

“Stump used to be my go-to canal, but then everybody started going there,” Roussell said. “Everybody loves that canal.

“The boat traffic really pressures the fish, so now I usually wait until later to go there.”

He said he likes fishing clean banks, where bream will gang up on beds. But sometimes the fish will be around hyacinths and other vegetation.

“You just have to find where the fish are that day,” Roussell said.

If he has trouble finding congregations of fish in the canals — or on a cloudy day — he retreats to the main lake and starts probing cypress trees.

Either in the canals or around cypress trees, water depth is critical.

“I generally try to be around 4 feet (deep) or more,” Roussell said.

His preferred bait? Well, anything alive he can get his hands on.

“Nothing beats live bait,” Roussell said.

He fishes crickets, night crawlers, red worms and wax worms (when he can find them).

But that doesn’t mean he shies away from artificials.

“I use a lot of jigs — tubes, triple-tail jigs and hair jigs,” he said.

The key remains having something the fish can really taste on the hook.

“I always have some type of scented enhancement (on a jig),” Roussell said. “I’ll have a jig tipped with a Powerbait crappie nibblet, or I’ll even use a little piece of worm or a cricket.”

He said there are even times when a tipped jig is more effective than a hook with live bait, particularly when water visibility isn’t ideal.

“That jig helps them find it better,” Roussell said.

No matter what bait he uses, however, Roussell hangs it under a cork.