Hopedale fishing is hot

Capt. Don Maille of Peter’s Nets Charters with some speckled trout.

Anglers are catching trout, redfish like it’s 2005 again

Right now you want to think back to what areas you were fishing 15-20 years ago in the month of November. Back before the Mardi-Gras Cut and Neptune Pass inundated us continually with fresh water; think back to when the salty water made its way up deep into the inside waters.

“That’s where you want to fish this month because that’s where the fish are,” said Capt. Don Maille of Peter’s Nets Charters (985-974-1826).

Maille said the salty water has moved into the marsh since the river is not flooding it this year. The low river has been a major problem for communities depending on it for drinking water, but it’s making fishermen happy to find trout, reds, flounder, white trout and even big eating size croaker in the inside waters.

“It’s exciting to see such a great variety of fish so much closer to the dock, like it was 15-20 years ago,” he said. “It’s all because of one word: Salinity.”

Get in there and fish

Maille said he checked the salinity level of the water right behind his dock in Hopedale, and found it to be 18ppt, actually high enough for trout to spawn!

“I’ve never seen the salinity this high at the dock,” he said. “Not without a hurricane pushing in all the Gulf water.

“It also means there is no grass in the water, even in the ponds. So you can get in there and fish for reds right off the shoreline without dealing with all the grass, and since late September through October we’ve been catching loads of reds, most of them slightly undersized but still plenty keeper size among them. All of that indicates that come November and December there should be a bounty of keeper size redfish.”

Maille said to catch reds, just find a good point with current moving around it or wherever you see signs of bait in the water, and fish there with live or market shrimp about 18-24 inches under a popping cork.

The keys to finding trout

The three keys to finding trout this month are birds, reefs, and moving water, Maille said.

“Right now I’m having a blast fishing under the birds in the big lakes and bays, and wherever there are oyster reefs,” he said. “I don’t pass up birds whether they are diving on bait or sitting on the surface. If they are congregated but just sitting there it’s because they know there’s bait under them, and they’re just waiting for the fish to explode on it in a feeding frenzy and drive the bait up to the surface. I can’t even begin to tell you how many trout I’ve caught through the years fishing under sitting birds.

“I’d say any of the larger bays and lakes, from Lake Robin, Lake Coquille, Lake Calabasse, Lake Machais, and over in Lake Borgne they’re catching a lot of trout, from the Old Martello Castle to Fort Beauregard and up to Bayou St. Malo.”

You can’t go wrong

Maille said the Biloxi Marsh should also be producing some great catches of trout and reds right now, from Stump Lagoon on up into all the big bays, and all the bayous and passes should produce plenty of fish wherever you find moving water.

“There’s also some really good fishing right now very close from the launches, in Hopedale Lagoon around Ameda, also in Lake Amedee and the bayous flowing in and out of it,” he said.

For bait, Maille said he likes to fish plastics this month; the Matrix Shad in the Shrimp Cocktail color, the Vudu Shrimp in almost any color, and the Mojo Shrimp in the Pinapple Express color; but he also always takes live shrimp along for insurance, “because on some days the fish are finicky,” he said.

Whatever bait he fishes, he’ll tie it about 2 ½ feet under a popping cork.

Maille said you almost can’t go wrong this month.

“The low river has allowed the salty, fish laden water to come in,” he said. “The fish are hungry, and if ever there was a time to get out on the water and into some great action, this is it!”

About Rusty Tardo 372 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.