Where: Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe
How: Black Bayou Lake is a premier fishery for bream, and it’s relatively under-fished. Power boats are limited to a 50-hp maximum engine size, and that prohibits the majority of bass boats. Personal watercraft (jet skis) are also prohibited. The lake is well protected by heavy tree cover, and provides perfect paddle craft fishing in a variety of weather conditions.
Launch: There is a public launch near the refuge visitor center on Richland Place, just off of Highway 165 near. Bream are hungry for live worms, crickets and grass shrimp, but also hit small Beetle Spins in black, yellow/black stripe and white. The fish will generally be concentrated near groups of cypress and gum trees, but also can be found congregated under lily pads or grass patches. Fish each area hard, as multiple fish usually come from the same spot.
Visitor Center: 480 Richland Place, Monroe, LA. Call 318-387-1114 or visit Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Facebook.
What: Redfish and speckled Ttout
How: May is big trout season, but they will be found on the outer reaches, closer to the Gulf and beaches. Longer paddles may be necessary to find the big trout, but it will be worth it. Set your sights on Lake Jesse and the surrounding areas. Start off with topwater lures early, and switch to suspending baits and live shrimp as the day wears on. Redfish can be found with shorter paddles throughout the marsh and can be taken with gold spoons, white spinnerbaits and live shrimp under a popping cork.
Launch: Launch at Top Water Marina or the public launch in Leeville. Topwater has tackle, ice and a fish cleaning station. The launch fee is $7 and they have two backdown ramps and a small sandy kayak launch fronting Highway 1. They also have cabin and RV site rentals. It’s located at 24015 Highway 1. Phone is 985-396-4620. Visit Top Water Marina on Facebook. The Leeville public boat launch is under the bridge in Leeville. It has boat ramps, a kayak launch area and large parking lot.
Insider tip: Go to Terry’s for live bait, and Leeville Seafood Restaurant for a great meal.