Best bets for big bites on Big Lake

Calcasieu still has lunkers and limts, as well as a bright future

Calcasieu Lake, more commonly known as Big Lake, is in flux.

It’s still a destination for those seeking trophy trout because its reputation as a factory for plus-size specks is well known in Louisiana and into Texas. As Capt. Erik Rue says, “you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

“Per square foot, Calcasieu is the most pressured water body in Louisiana,” the good natured captain said. “Houston is just two hours away and with communication what it is today, your coveted spots can quickly become everyone’s honey hole. That makes it tougher to put something together.”

That said, Rue and his Calcasieu Charter Service (337-598-4700)  still manages to put clients on fish and fill ice chests with trout and reds.

Recently anglers have caught trout up to 9 pounds from Big Lake, so lunkers still swim there.

Big trout are still available to those willing to throw topwaters and big lures all day. He brushes off comments that the lake is plummeting, saying that it has plateaued the last few years and is doing fine. The fishing had dropped off because of dredging of oysters and massive pressure. Regarding oysters, H.B. 156 is being championed by the CCA and if passed would outlaw dredging of oysters  in the lake and bring back tonging-only rules to the fishery. Also, CCA has teamed up with Shell Oil, Building Conservation Trust and the LDWF to place a new 5-acre reef in the southern part of the lake.

Calcasieu produces fish year-round but is tougher in the summer, like many fisheries. Hungry trout gorge on the mullet that frequent the outlying marsh. Where there are mullet, there are big trout, says Rue. At times it takes lots of patience to come across a bigger bite, but if you can’t stand the waiting, head out to one of the marked LDWF reefs in the main lake and work on a limit. That’s what most of Rue’s clients prefer to do anyhow. With all of the improvements planned for the famed fishery, limits and big trout will hopefully present themselves easier than ever before long.