Lakeshore Estates canals give up 6-pound speckled trout on the North Shore

Chas Champagne caught this 6-pound speckled trout Wednesday morning jigging a tiger bait Matrix Shad in the Lakeshore Estates canal system.

Champagne used tiger bait Matrix Shad to catch 25 ½-inch fish

It was all about quality — not quantity — for Matrix Shad’s Chas Champagne Wednesday morning, as he fished the canals in Lakeshore Estates on the North Shore for speckled trout.

He wound up catching only one, lonesome speck — but it happened to be 25 ½ inches long and pegged 6 pounds on his Boga Grip.

“We caught one fish,” Champagne said with a chuckle. “But it was the biggest trout I’ve caught probably since I had that run on the Highway 11 Bridge two years ago.”

Matrix Shad’s Chas Champagne reeled in this beautiful 6-pound speckled trout Wednesday morning in Lakeshore Estates. The fish was 25.5 inches long.

Champagne was fishing with buddy Timmy Gennusa, and the two were trolling with tiger bait Matrix Shad on ⅜-ounce Black Platinum Goldeneye jigheads. Champagne said he was using his trolling motor to keep a steady speed of about 1.6 mph on the chilly morning.

“We were trolling back in the canals, and we weren’t doing much until we went around a rounded point, and both of the poles in the pole holders doubled over. I mean, they were folded over hard,” he said.

Champagne reeled in a nice 27-inch red, but the second fish spooled the other rod before it could be reeled in because so much line was already out behind the boat. So anticipating a tightly-packed school of reds, Champagne headed back to the spot where he estimated the fish bit, and the two started jigging.

Action was slow at first, but Gennusa caught a red, and then Champagne caught one, too.

His next bite of the day felt a bit different, though.

“I felt the fish come right up to the top, and I could feel it had some serious weight to it, but I was like, ‘Man, this is acting like a big trout, but there’s no way — we just caught three reds in a row, and I hadn’t caught a big trout all year.’

“Then I got some pressure on him and he goes running under the boat and he rips drag like three times, and I was like, ‘That’s a red, no doubt.’ But I just kept feeling his head shaking vigorously, and I was like, ‘Timmy, this is a trout.’”

Champagne finally saw the big speck flash near the boat and called for Gennusa to get the net, and the 6-pounder was quickly aboard. After a photo session and a Matrix Shad tag, the big speck was released unharmed back into the water.

“He’s alive and free in Lakeshore canals,” Champagne said. “He swam off with all kinds of energy.”

In addition to his 6-pound speck, Chas Champagne also reeled in a nice flounder Wednesday morning in Lakeshore Estates.
In addition to his 6-pound speck, Chas Champagne also caught a nice flounder Wednesday morning in Lakeshore Estates.

In addition to the three reds and the big trout, Champagne said he also reeled in a flounder for the first time in practically a year — a nice 3 ½-pound doormat.

He typically jigs for specks, but this time of year, he’s a big fan of trolling because the fish are relatively spread out.

“You can either fish from daylight to noon making a thousand casts, or fish from daylight to noon trolling, and catch the same eight or 10,” he said.

Champagne expects the bite, as it is, to remain relatively consistent through about March, and trolling should remain an effective technique.

“If it’s a warmer day, focus on the bridges. If it’s a colder week like this week, focus on the man-made canals. But if you’re going to try Lakeshore, Geoghegan and Eden Isles for trolling, don’t be expecting to catch more than five or 10,” he said. “We do, but go in with the approach to catch five, but they’re all 2 pounds or better.

“If you want to catch a lot, go to the Chalmette Wall.”

About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and