Louisiana Sportsman

Watch water temps for Biloxi Marsh trout-fishing success

M.A. Fisher - November 20, 2012
Cold fronts can cause the speckled trout bite to shut down briefly in the Biloxi Marsh, but the shallow waters of that system warm up quickly — turning the fish on.
Cold fronts can cause the speckled trout bite to shut down briefly in the Biloxi Marsh, but the shallow waters of that system warm up quickly — turning the fish on.

Capt. Mike Gallo was faced with a bit of a dilemma on Nov. 14. After a morning spent fishing for trout with clients at The Trestles in Lake Pontchartrain, Geoghegan’s Canal just off The Rigolets and another stop in the Pearl River Basin, his group had only boated a handful of fish.

But just before noon, Gallo received a call from another of his captains who said fishing was hot at the MRGO on the south shore.

“As I’ve asked so many others before, I said, ‘Do you have planes, trains or busses to catch?’ One (client) said, ‘The only place I have to be is Thanksgiving,’” Gallo said. “So off we went. By 3:30, we had 45 trout, a dozen or so over 18 inches.”

For Gallo, with LouisianaSportsman.com supporting member Angling Adventures of Louisiana, the haul was worth the 90-minute round trip run from Lake Pontchartrain's north shore to the MRGO.

But he also knows the slim pickings he encountered on the north shore aren't necessarily what he or other anglers should expect for the remainder of the fall or the colder winter months.

Gallo has a tried-and-true method on how to find fish, even in some of the coldest climes. He focused on the Biloxi Marsh for this specific report.

"On average, it's a shallow area, which can be bad and good," he said. "When a front comes through and it's cold, in general, it will be 5 degrees colder than Lake Pontchartrain. So like yesterday, it was 57 degrees on the lake, so my guess is it was 52 degrees (in Biloxi Marsh.) You have to twist a trout's arm to get him to bite in that.

"But the plus is that, because it's shallow, it heats up quicker. Maybe it got to 58 or 59 (that day.)"

So he said success is all about water temperatures.

"My dividing line is 55 degrees," Gallo said. "If it's above it, I will fish with a popping cork, with a curly-tail (bait.) I just let it float in the current. You don't want to go to fast. I don't think the color makes a big difference, but I like opening night or electric chicken. I like a Dudley pink champagne Terror Tail, too.

"But start with the curly tail if you're getting an aggressive bite."

Of course, colder weather can make fish less likely to strike with authority; Gallo said when you catch a fish that is sluggish, that's a sure sign you should slow down any popping action. He suggests waiting every 18 to 20 seconds per pop during cold weather.

In contrast, he might pop as often as every five or six seconds in the spring or summer when bait is more lively.

Gallo suggested winter anglers head to the southwest branch of the Biloxi Marsh. He favors Cut Off Lagoon and Grand Lagoon in anywhere from 3 to 5 feet of water. Other spots he recommends for cool-water fishing are Bob's Lake and 9 Mile Pass.

He also foresees continued improvement in catches throughout the MRGO.

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