Flounder migration sets up easy fishing on Big Lake

Calcasieu Lake flatties line Ship Channel, fall for artificials and live shrimp.

It’s the time of the year again for some scrumptious, tasty slabs of fillets – and lots of them!

Craig Vidrine of Opelousas had a twinkle in his eye when he said to me, “I know where we can get into the flounder.”

It didn’t take long for Vidrine to hook up the RV and boat, and we headed to the southern end of Big Lake to set up camp at the Cameron Parish Jetty Pier Facility and RV Park located on the east side of the jetties.

However, last Saturday (Sept. 29) on Big Lake however was problematic. Sweeping thunderstorm frequented the area, and strong, varying winds had us moving up and down repeatedly in our small aluminum boat

And of course, there’s always the difficulty associated with navigating through the wakes of the many industrial boats using the channel.

But Vidrine had complete control over his vessel, and Frog Togs kept us fishing in some prime flounder habitat along the Ship Channel on the southern end of the lake.

“I have fished this area before with my wife Paula,” Vidrine said. “We found the flounder staging over shell bottoms and hard-packed shelves along the Ship Channel not far away from the launch.”

Sure enough, the flounders were there. When it was over, we counted 53 fish hooked, yet we kept our limit (10 each) of fille-sized flatties. And as lagniappe, we kept five keeper specks and a 31-inch redfish for couvillon.

And we kept it very simple regarding artificials, as the flounders were amenable to be taken on Cajun pepper/chartreuse Bayou Chubs, as well as Berkley pearl white/chartreuse, 3-inch Gulp! shrimp.

The Gulp! shrimp recommendation came from Cajun Phil Broussard who, prior to our trip, gave Vidrine a Big Lake report of terrific redfishing and flounder activity, with spotty speckled trout action.

We had already chosen to use a variety of artificial lures for the occasion — staying far away from shrimp to avoid the hardhead bite and associated mess. As a result, only four hardheads gave us some mild blues.

All along the Louisiana coastline the fall flounder migration is nearly here. Sometime in mid-October through Mid-November, flounder in marshes, bays and estuaries begin a mass migration to Gulf of Mexico waters to spawn. But before they reach those open waters, they’ll stage in grand numbers on the southern end of the estuaries and choose shell and hard-packed bottoms from which to ambush prey to fatten up before the rigors of the spawn.

In the Calcasieu Estuary specifically, the Cameron Ship Channel will hold tons of flounder along its banks and points. One sign of flounder activity is to find local anglers fishing and wading right off the banks of the channel for these delectable finnies.

The eastern shoreline of Big Lake itself can also produce flounders — especially on points and other troughs where water is being moved by tides and the wind.

Louisiana allows properly licensed anglers to take 10 flounders per day with no size restrictions, so if you want some of the tastiest flesh that ever lay on the sides of a finned species, get out on the water this weekend for Louisiana’s flounders.

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About Chris Berzas 368 Articles
Chris Berzas has fished and hunted in the Bayou State ever since he could hold a rod and shoot a shotgun. Berzas has been a freelancer featured in newspapers, magazines, television and DVDs since 1989.