Pontchartrain specks set to bust loose

Lake Catherine is a good option for windy days, guide says

Capt. Mike Gallo chuckled when asked to name some potential hotspots for Lake Pontchartrain speckled trout anglers during the month of May.

“We have three long community holes in the eastern part of Lake Pontchartrain,” said Gallo, with Angling Adventures of Louisiana in Slidell. “One is called I-10, one is called Highway 11 and the other is called the train bridge, or The Trestles.”

You don’t need any secret spots to rack up, and many anglers have long-circled May in their calendars — and probably arranged vacation time to coincide with what is usually one of the best months of the year for speck anglers in the estuary.

“We all wait for May. This is the timeframe we’ve all been looking forward to,” Gallo said. “We know they’re going to bite in May, and we’re going to catch them in May.”

Trout will begin gathering along the bridges to prep for their journey through the Rigolets next month in search of saltier water to spawn, and Gallo didn’t hesitate when asked what his plan of attack would be.

“If I was fishing in Lake Pontchartrain or Lake Borgne, they’re both about the same depth — 12 or 14 feet,” he said. “I’d start by fishing on the bottom with a live shrimp on a drop shot rig or a Carolina rig.

“They’ll bite plastics as well, so take both with you. Take your favorite plastics and take some live bait.”

And take your cues from what the fish are telling you. If your live shrimp is returning without its eyes or legs via the Carolina rig or drop shot, you might be down with smaller fish.

“So change your tactics and use a slip cork. If you’re in 10 feet of water, set your slip cork at 7 and now you’re 3 feet above the bottom,” Gallo said. “The little ones might not pester you quite so much and maybe you’re where the bigger ones are.”

And if a strong wind is blowing on the day you’ve planned a trip, Gallo said don’t despair. Just head over to Lake St. Catherine, instead.

“Lake Catherine is always a good bet. The difference is I fish Lake Catherine with a popping cork and I drift,” he said. “I look for mullet or baitfish activity and just drift. Those popping corks help you locate fish.

“If you drift and catch 10, there’s nothing wrong with that. Turn right back around and drift again. If you do that three or four times, you’ve had a good day.”

Make the most of May, because speck action in the lake will begin to slow around the end of the month.

“It seems to me by the late May, Pontchartrain is starting to taper off but Lake Borgne is starting to pick up,” Gallo said. “Lake Borge is good for maybe three or four weeks, maybe into late June — then it seems like they’re gone.”

About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.