Dear Capt. Paul:

I have been the target of several jokes about fishing the Turtle Bayou and Orange Grove fishing area for freshwater fish. My “friends” keep telling me that I would need a very good mapping GPS unit supplemented with aerial or topographical maps to find my way in and out of these areas.

One of the old timers, who doesn’t have a GPS unit, told me that even he was afraid of getting “turned around” in the area and that there were areas that he has not fished out of the fear of getting lost in the area. He was concerned that he would lose his position awareness when fishing.

I can’t find any maps of these areas that show the bayou or the Orange Grove areas. Can you help me? 

Jack C.

Capt. Paul’s response:

I’ll try, but I don’t have any current info on the launches which serve that area, so you will have to do some homework on where these launches are located. However, I do have information on the areas which will give you a heads up for your friends.

The area you listed is known for bass and other freshwater fishing in the area between Houma and Morgan City. It also has provided catches of saltwater fish that are tolerant of brackish water.

I once provided a route for several BASS contenders to get to the area from their starting point at the Bayou Segnette launch. I provided some refueling stations in the Houma area but nothing on the launches.

The Orange Grove area is located on the north side of the Intracoastal Waterway between Houma and Morgan City and on the north side by Bayou Black.

Turtle Bayou is on the south side of the ICWW.

These fishing areas are a series of crows-feet pipeline canals located in oil and gas exploration areas. They are named for the oil field areas designate by state leases.

There also are two other areas that are very similar both called Humphreys and Gibson, but most people lump them all together as Orange Grove and the Turtle Bayou areas.

First, if you have a charting or mapping GPS unit and have internal maps for these areas, your quest is really off to a great start.

Now for your maps, try Standard Mapping Company aerial photo maps No. 20 (Bayou Dularge) and No. 15 (Bayou Black). These two maps will cover most of the areas you asked about.

If you have a Lowrance, Simrad or RayMarine unit, it might have a mapping card for your GPS unit called Louisiana 1.

In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey (888-275-8747 or www.usgs.gov/pubprod/maps.html) has several topographical maps that will suit your needs.

Check out the Humphreys, La.; the Bayou Cocodrie; and the Morgan City SE, La.; topo maps.

I suggest that you get the respective topographical maps of the area. These are in addition to the internal maps in your GPS.

The Orange Grove area is just west of Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge, about 12 miles west of Houma. It can be entered by the foot of the crows foot canals area where it joins the ICWW at or about 29°32.142’ N. Latitude ~ 90°50.535’ W. Longitude. 

It and the Humphreys area also can be accessed via the west cut of the Hanson Canal near Humphreys near Bayou Black. That intersection is at or about 29° 35.890’ N. Latitude ~ 90° 52.581’.

The Gibson area is just to the west of the Humphreys area and just north of Lake Hackberry and Bayou Cocodrie and is accessed via the ICWW on the south at the junction of the main canal at or about 29° 35.355’ N. Latitude ~ 90° 57.944’ W. Longitude and on the north side at or about 29° 37.420’ N. Latitude ~ 90° 55.971’ W. Longitude. 

Turtle Bayou Field is about 13 miles as the crow flies from Morgan City at a bearing of 150 degrees. 

The southern side of the Turtle Bayou area is where Turtle Bayou joins Bayou Penchant at or about 29°31.878’ N. Latitude ~ 91°05.185’.

The northern side of the Turtle Bayou area can be reached via the Intracoastal Waterway where a canal leads to the crows feet area at or about 29°37.319’ N. Latitude ~ 90°59.917’W. Longitude. 

Please take your fishing journey in steps, as the entire area is about 140 square miles. Use your GPS and, by all means, your hard-copy maps.

I suggest you explore one area, marking your fishing spots and taking notes on the weather, etc, and how you fish the locations. Use that experience as a building block to expand your knowledge of the area. 

Remember to also note fuel consumption, as there are no marinas nearer than Bob’s Bayou Black Marina.

Unless otherwise specified, all positions are stated as Degrees, minutes and thousandths of minutes (DDD,MM.mmm) and were determined using WGS 84 Datum. All bearings and courses are stated in Magnetic degrees. 

Capt. Paul