Use care here, but it’s a great place for trout, reds and flounder
A small lake in the marsh of southwest Louisiana gives up speckled trout, redfish and flounder in early spring. Historically, March is a prime time to check out Black Lake, a close neighbor of Calcasieu Lake.
No one knows that better than Kirk Stansel, owner of Hackberry Rod & Gun on the western edge of Calcasieu Lake. Stansel and his brothers, Guy and Bobby Joe, have been charter captains on Calcasieu Lake and the surrounding area since the late 1970s.
“Black Lake is real good this time of year. A lot of my guides fish there,” Stansel said about the little lake that is just north and just west of Calcasieu Lake.
To get there, head west up Kelso Bayou, which opens up into Black Lake, or take the Salt Ditch from the Intracoastal Waterway into Black Lake. Numerous canals and bayous are in the area, thus creating grassy islands.
One caution for anglers fishing here. The open lake itself poses a serious challenge to boaters unfamiliar with the water, according to Stansel.
“It’s a place you’ve got to be careful,” he said, noting it is full of underwater hazards following the oilfield heyday, as many pipelines and structures are in the water.
Numerous wellheads dot the lake and a big pipeline runs above the water across the lake, which averages 3- to 4-feet deep.
“It’s a small area,” Stansel said. “You get eight to 10 boats in there, it’s full.”
Nevertheless, speckled trout, redfish and flounder from the lake are deposited consistently into ice chests in March.
What to target
Speckled trout can be caught off some of the reefs in the lake and by targeting the shoreline, numerous cuts and grassy islands. Wade fishing for speckled trout comes into play, also, he said, as many hardy souls seek out ol’ yellowmouth by walking in the shallower water wearing waders.
After all, many saltwater anglers know, getting out of the boat to wade fish is a sure way to thoroughly cover an area that might hold a lot of fish. The fish typically hold in deeper water during cold weather, but move shallow on sunny days, Stansel said.
“It’s not a numbers thing. It’s a big fish thing. It’s a good place to throw topwaters and Corkys for big trout,” he said about wade fishing success. “If you’re fishing for numbers and can’t get live shrimp, fish a Vudu Shrimp under a popping cork.”
Stansel knows from beaucoup experience that speckled trout also can be caught under birds in March. As for redfish and flounder, small cuts or current running across a point are prime spots. The veteran charter boat captain, avid hunter and bass fisherman said if you can’t get your hands on live shrimp to fish for redfish and flounder, try GULP! or other soft plastics and tip the bait on the hook with dead shrimp.
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