For many Louisiana sportsmen, February is the most dreaded month of the year. Duck and deer seasons are over, and the Mrs. is looking to cash in on those long-promised honey-dos.
The cold, dreary days and low expectations keep most fishermen off the water, and make the honey-do excuses harder to come by.
What’s a sportsman to do?
Seasoned speckled trout fishermen like Capt. Stan Cuquet know what to do. Cuquet recommends heading to Delacroix for some great wintertime trout action.
“Contrary to popular belief, February is a ‘hot’ month for speckled trout fishing,” said Cuquet. “The fish are very predictable, and what many consider a slow month can really produce some fantastic trout action.”
Cuquet is owner of Castaway Charters based in Delacroix Island in lower St. Bernard Parish. “The Island,” as it is known by locals, is easily fished throughout the winter under almost any weather conditions. Delacroix offers miles and miles of prime winter trout-fishing habitat. A mix of shallow lakes, bays and ponds are interconnected with deep natural bayous, man-made pipelines and dead-end canals. The easy access to varying water depths and food sources will keep the trout biting throughout the winter.
Like most areas of Southeast Louisiana, winter cold fronts driven by strong northwest winds will send the water racing out of the Delacroix marsh. Fortunately, the area’s vast array of deep bayous and pipelines allow for great fishing even when many areas are bone dry.
“When the ponds and shallower bays are inaccessible, the Twin Pipelines and Oak River will still provide plenty of fishing area,” Cuquet said.
Besides the generally uncomfortably cold fishing conditions and low water, winter trout fishermen may also have to deal with howling winds and water the color of café au lait. Frequent cold fronts interspersed with days of sunshine and warming temperatures can have the fish moving back and forth between deep and shallow areas.
“A slight two- to four-degree change in water temperature can move the fish and turn on their feeding activities,” said Cuquet. “The mistake most fishermen make is leaving an area that is seemingly void of fish. They may be not catching anything in the middle of a canal, so they move. However, the fish may have simply moved up closer to the bank.”
Knowing where the trout will be and how they will act under specific weather conditions is the key to successful winter trips. Cuquet definitely has them figured out. He knows Delacroix so well that on any given day, he can likely tell you where the fish are and what they’re doing before he even leaves the dock.
“Delacroix is a vast area that provides fishing opportunities under almost any set of conditions,” Cuquet said.
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