Flat Lake is top Atchafalaya spot for September bass

Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi prepares to release a bass he caught recently in Flat Lake in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Outside cypress trees become winning trick

A Morgan City angler has a spot, a big spot at that, in the Atchafalaya Basin where he loves to pick off bass in low-light conditions around sunrise, especially, and sunset.

Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi, who recently finished his second and last term as the city’s mayor, doesn’t have far to go to catch bass in scenic Flat Lake on either white or black/blue buzzbaits with gold blades or green Whopper Ploppers. He’s as comfortable on the water as he was at City Hall.

“When the dock is a foot out of water at Russo’s (Landing), it’s time to get out in the Spillway,” Grizzaffi said.

Grizzaffi, who owns Scorpion Subsea, an underwater tooling company, is looking forward to fishing Flat Lake in September, when bass start moving from the inside cypress trees to outside cypress trees.

“Right now, we’re basically catching them on grass, grass and lilies on grass, on the edge with a buzzbait. Your boat’s in the trees, but you’re looking for matted grass,” he said.

Top spots

Grizzaffi said the sheer size of the large lake, which is 3.6 miles from Morgan City, might intimidate people. To simplify what otherwise could be a long search to find fish, the prime area is generally in the northwest area between Bayou Cane and Bayou Grosbeak, including Bear Bayou.

Flat Lake gives up fish most of the year.

“Year-round, something’s going to be happening in Flat Lake. I just chase bass, but you can catch sac-a-lait, chinquapin, goggle-eye and bream,” he said.

Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi finds plenty of bass like this near his hometown of Morgan City. Flat Lake is his prime destination in the Atchafalaya Basin. Cypress trees line the lake.

What to use

In September, he’ll make sure he’s on the water before the sun comes up and fish buzzbaits, Horny Toads and Whopper Ploppers. He likes to fish a ¼-ounce buzzbait much of the time because he can pull it across the grass more easily.

“A lot of people throw bigger, but I like to go over the top of the grass,” he said. “I’ll throw a Whopper Plopper if the grass isn’t too bad. But mostly, I throw a Horny Toad or buzzbait.”

Considering that September is a transition month, he’ll have a baby bass or parrot-colored Bandit 100 or 200 Series crankbait tied on to cover the outer cypress trees.


Grizzaffi, who started fishing Flat Lake when he was 10, usually launches at Russo’s Landing. When the water’s high, boats can enter the lake a few minutes away through a cut directly across from the landing. However, there’s a sandbar that creates a hazard there when it’s low; he advises boaters to travel one cut to the left and enter there.

Boaters also can launch at Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville.

When the sun gets high over the horizon, it’s time to leave the clear waters of the lake, unless there is stained water to be found.

“You need to move to the main canals. If it’s cloudy, sometimes you can get extended time on the lake,” he said.

The fishing is generally challenging when the water’s dark and clear, he said, noting that perch can be caught all day no matter the conditions.

He suggested trying American Pass, Orange Barrel Canal, Bayou Joe, Bayou Jesse (Big and Little), Bayou Sorrel and others in the area. He said get out of the clear water and look for the “dirty stuff” and fish with Chatterbaits.

About Don Shoopman 566 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.