Catfish Lake Consistent Despite Cold

In typical Louisiana fashion, Captain Jim Thibodeaux of Fish Tales Guide Service (985-696-1801) has faced three entirely different weather scenarios the past three days. The weather ranged from cold and rainy to warm and breezy. It’s been enough to make Thibodeaux wonder how to dress and the fish wonder whether they should be deep or shallow.“Actually, the speckled trout have consistently been in shallow water recently,” Thibodeaux said. “The only thing that messed up our bite this past weekend was the three-foot waves blowing through Catfish Lake on Sunday. But, even though the weather was horrible, we managed to save the day with 20 reds and five trout.”

Catfish Lake has been hot all winter due to a lack of a severe winter and the nearly pristine water clarity – considering you don’t catch it on a windy day. There are a lot of throwbacks in the area now, but fishing the right spots will ensure larger fish.

The keeper trout in the 16 to 20-inch range are hanging out on the one-foot flats and shallow reefs. The deeper holes are holding mainly smaller 10 to 14-inch fish.

“There are some smaller fish in the deeper holes,” Thibodeaux said, “but the bigger fish will bite on the flats with anything resembling a little warm-up. It’s turned cool here recently, but, for the most part, the weather has been mild enough for them to be up there.”

Thibodeaux has been catching all his trout by jigging a smoke or avocado H&H cocahoe minnow on a 1/4-ounce leadhead. Although he hasn’t tried a popping cork lately, he admitted that the shallow trout would bite under a cork.

“About a month ago, you had to fish it as slow as possible to get bit,” he said. “But, here lately, they’ve been biting best on a steady retrieve with a little bit of jigging every now and then. The best bite on the flats has been on an incoming tide. The past couple of mornings, they didn’t turn on until around 10 or 11 once it comes on up pretty good.”

Trout haven’t been the only draw at Catfish Lake. The redfish are hitting plastics and live cocahoes on a 1/4-ounce jighead.

“We’re fishing the jigs on bottom over the reefs and in the pipeline canals outside the lake,” Thibodeaux said. “If they stop eating the plastics, we’re pulling them off and sticking a cocahoe on the same jighead. There are a lot of throwback reds, but they make for a good time when everything else is slow. You’ll have to weed through a bunch of 15-inch fish to get those in the 16 to 18-inch range, but if you stick with it, you’ll get those keepers. The biggest reds we’re catching are four or five pounds with an occasional eight pound fish.”

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

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