Chilly long-range forecast could really get the bite going
Chas Champagne’s plans for last Tuesday morning were set in stone as soon as he saw the weather forecast Monday night. His mission was to check as much of the eastern side of Lake Pontchartrain as he could to see what was dead water and what wasn’t.
“The weather has been ridiculous for October and November around here,” he said. “Usually, those are some nice months for fishing, but that hasn’t been the case this year. It was slick calm and foggy, so I headed straight to the Twin Span and the Trestle.”
Tossing a holy joely Matrix Shad on a 3/8-ounce jighead, Champagne found some good-sized speckled trout hugging tight on the Twin Span pilings, and off the Trestle.
That he was fishing the holy joely color – clear with blue and green glitter – revealed all one needs to know about the water color he found on the bridges.
“On a scale of one to 10, it was an eight,” Champagne said. “It was definitely pretty and clean. And I’d say about 80 percent of the time we get fog, we get a falling tide with it, and a falling tide is just way better this time of year.”
After picking up a few trout on both of the bridges, Champagne headed to Lakeshore Estates where he fished the same Matrix Shad in dead end canals that were lined with grass.
The submerged vegetation grew from the bank out to the dropoff into the man-made canals. Most of his bites occurred whenever he ripped his jig right off the grass edge.
“The grass grows about maybe 6 yards off of the bank and creates something like a canyon down there where it kind of falls over the edge,” Champagne said. “Trout won’t bury up in the grass like bass will. They just get right on the edge.
“I think it’s a combination of the grass and the drop-off that makes it so good.”
Although this was one of the better days for big trout Champagne has experienced so far this fall, he expects the bite to get increasingly better as more cold fronts start to roll through.
He thought the area was one more cold front away from really turning on.
“The water temperature was 73 by the time the sun came out,” he said. “My favorite temperature is 60 degrees. This was just the first little wave of them, so it’s only going to get better.”
With cooler conditions and more fronts expected over about the next 10 days, Champagne advised anglers to try a two-prong approach to fishing the eastern part of the lake.
“If you’ve got a pretty nice day with clean green water, focus on the bridges and grassy canals,” he said. “If we get a big blow out of the west or northwest, head over to the Pearl River system or the MRGO wall.
“But your best bet at some quality trout – 21-inches with an occasional 3- to 4-pounder – is going to be on the bridges.”