Big specks showing up in the Rigolets

Big shrimp key to catching trophy trout, Dumas says.

The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway didn’t seem to have as much of an effect on the fishing in the eastern part of Lake Pontchartrain as was anticipated. Trout continued to bite out in Lake Borgne until not too long ago.

But even when fresh water pushed trout off those rigs, they still bit over at Half Moon Island and 9-Mile Bay.

All of that has changed for the better in the last week or two, and Chas Champagne with Dockside Bait and Tackle in Slidell started putting up reports and pics of some big trout that were starting to hit the scales at his marina.

The first indication that the fishing was picking up was an 8.14-pound trout Dan Schmidt caught on the weekend of June 25. Schmidt followed up that fish with a 7.84-pound STAR-leading trout two weeks later.

“The big trout are back in numbers in some of the area’s most commonly fished spots,” Champagne reported back on the June 11. “We had the most trout come through Dockside this weekend since the spill… big ones too including Dan’s Star leader trout.”

And one of the most commonly fished spots that holds big trout this time of year is the CSX Rigolets Pass bridge (the old L&N) that’s sandwiched between the Pearl River’s East Pass and Catfish Point where the Rigolets dumps into Lake Borgne.

Capt. Eric Dumas has also been making lots of trips to the CSX bridge, and he had an opening for me last Friday (July 15) and again on Tuesday (July 19).

Elton Rodrigue, aka CatchDatOne on the LouisianaSportsman.com forums, joined us on Friday, and Troy Miller (a.k.a. Gwamp from the swamp) and his son Gunner, Capt. Marty LaCoste and my son Matthew joined us on Tuesday.

During Friday’s trip, we caught the end of the falling tide, which was paramount to caching big trout according to Dumas.

The fish bit from before sunup to about 7:30 a.m. There were a few more reds than what Dumas had been catching, but big speckled trout still dominated our box.

“You’ve got to have big shrimp,” Dumas pointed out as he observed that we were catching more and larger trout than many nearby boats that were fishing with smaller shrimp. “I’ve seen this too many times to think it’s just a coincidence.

“Big shrimp equals big trout.”

Dumas had tied his Ranger to a beam under the CSX bridge, and the falling tide was pulling the boat east toward Lake Borgne. We cast our shrimp on Carolina rigs with 3/4-ounce egg sinkers and 2- to 3-foot leaders finished with treble hooks toward the east out the back of the Ranger.

“You’ll feel them bump it like a croaker bite,” Dumas explained. “When you feel that, pick up on your rod and take your shrimp away from them. That’s when they’re going to slam it.”

After boxing several large trout and a bunch of redfish, we headed out into Lake Borgne to run some crab traps and look for suspended triple tails. These fun fish have been a little tough to find so far this year, but we found two hanging out right under a couple buoys.

We started out at the CSX bridge again this past Tuesday, but the eight hours of rain that inundated Southeast Louisiana on Monday night put a damper on our plans. Apparently too much fresh water was dumping out of East Pass, and the trout were few and far between.

With all the redfish and black drum at the CSX bridge, Dumas decided to try the Highway 90 bridge that crosses the Rigolets right next to Rigolets Marina. His thinking was that these trout wouldn’t be nearly as affected by all the fresh rain water.

Although his line of thinking was correct – we slammed a few nice trout as soon as we arrived – we were already at the tail end of the falling tide. The action slowed considerably when the tide bottomed out, so we again went out to Lake Borgne to look for some triple tails.

This time we found three.

“As soon as all this fresh water from that rain gets out of here, it’ll go right back to normal,” Dumas concluded as we wrapped up our day back at Rigolets Marina. “As long as the tide is falling… it doesn’t matter what time of day… as long as it’s falling you can catch big trout in the Rigolets right now.”

Contact Capt. Eric Dumas of Living a Dream Guide Service at 985.705.1244. Contact Dockside Bait and Tackle at 985.707.2105. And Contact the Rigolets Marina at 985.641.8088.

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About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at chrisginn.com.

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