Ask a hundred Americans to name places that jump to their minds when they think of bitterly cold weather, and not a single one would mention South Louisiana. We’re the land of heat, humidity and frying eggs on sidewalks.
But ever since the calendar turned to 2021, the temperatures down here have certainly been below average, and many days are downright raw and unfit outdoors for man or beast.
That’s led to some low water temperatures throughout the region’s marshes that have given fish a case of the blahs. In more northerly regions, fish seem unfazed by water temps in the low 40s, but here in South Louisiana, they act like they’re frozen solid in blocks of ice.
That’s the precise situation my longtime fishing buddy Chris Macaluso and I were faced with on our most recent trip. After three days with highs in the 40s and overnight lows in the 20s, water temps were downright frigid and fishing to begin the morning couldn’t have been much slower.
But fortunately, water clarity was good and the sun was unblinking, so it did it’s job warming the shallowest water in the marshes, and we positioned ourselves in areas where the falling tide would pull that warmer water into the depths where the fish were holding.
It turned out to be a great strategy that resulted in an excellent wintertime catch.
Along the way, I talked with Macaluso, who serves as director of the Center for Marine Fisheries with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, about the changing nature of Louisiana’s marshes and what the future holds for the both the wetlands themselves as well as the fish that call them home.
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