Golden Meadow trout, reds fill marshes as weather cools

Don’t sit home this winter: Get out and go fishing, Gulf Coast Fishing Charter captain says.

Steve Shook has been fishing South Louisiana waters for four decades, so when he offers tips on fishing in the Golden Meadow, Leeville and Grand Isle areas, people listen.

Here’s your chance.

In particular, Shook spoke about fishing in colder periods. Those, of course, are rare in these parts, but do occur sometimes in December, but especially and January and early February. He said that, while many anglers decide to stay home during those colder months, he has no problem taking advantage of what others are missing.

“Catfish Lake, Bayou Loutre, Bayou Monique: Those are good spots when it’s cooler and they’ve been good recently,” the Gulf Coast Fishing Charter captain said. “Fish under a popping cork with a cockahoe minnow for school trout. As for artificials, I like the Berkley Gulp! 3-inch chartreuse minnow when it gets cold. It fits a jighead well, and you can get it an inch and a half in the mouth of the fish. And when that happens, you’ve got him.”

Fishing a falling tide is preferable.

“When that water’s falling out of the marsh, the reds and specks are falling with it,” Shook said. “When it’s a high tide, you can get up in the ponds and use gold spoons to catch the reds.”

Shook mentioned another positive for winter anglers.

“You don’t have to get an early start and be out in the cold,” he said. “(On one recent cool day,) it was midday when it really started to get going. We had 60 or 70 trout; they were smaller, but really nice. And there’s just an abundance of reds in the marsh.”

To boot, Shook has spotted huge schools of bull reds outside at East Timbalier, West Timbalier and Grand Isle in recent weeks.

“They’re just boiling out there,” he said. “That happens this time of year. They come off the rigs to gorge on whatever bait they can find, then they go back outside to basically hibernate until the pogies start running again.”

Shook also fondly remembered a trip he took years ago with his wife to the jetties at the northwest end of East Timbalier on the day before Christmas. Though one would expect that day to be not overly productive, Shook said he and his wife loaded up on trout in the 2-pound range.

“If you can catch a good northern (front) that just sits, when the water comes back in, it brings all that salinity with it,” Shook said. “You can throw just about any artificial bait and load up. They love that structure in the wintertime. It can be an extremely productive time.”

Shook’s Gulf Coast Fishing Charters is located in Golden Meadow. To book a trip with him, call 985.860.8634.

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