Capt. Gene Dugas of Rather Be Fishing Adventures said the cold, muddy river water flowing at high volume through the Mardi Gras Cut will make the fish a no-show in Black Bay again this month, and the trout will shift to the east.
“I still hope the river will fall and we can have a good spring run come May and over the summer, but for now, the high river is pushing the action eastward, over towards the MRGO Rocks, Bay Eloi and all the big bays on that side,” he said. “The key will be to look for clean water, look for birds and look for bait in the water.”
Dugas said this should be a good month for fishing and anglers have three pretty good April options:
Fish the MRGO Rocks
“I know it can look like a parking lot out there with all the boats lined up along them, especially on weekends, but it’s usually a pretty good bet this time of year,” Dugas said. “The water is deeper; therefore, you can usually find some decent-looking water, and the rocks are long so there’s room enough. I normally stay on the Long Rocks side, in the channel, and anchor off about a long cast from the rocks. You want to fish 3 to 3½ feet deep under a cork, so if you anchor too close you’ll lose a lot of tackle up in the rocks. Keep your cork at least 3 to 5 feet off the rocks, and you can even do some deeper fishing, casting soft plastic towards the channel on a 3/8-ounce jig or a bottom rig with live shrimp, but know you’re going to lose tackle in the process because the rocks extend out on the bottom for quite a distance.”
Dugas said he gives a spot 10 to 15 minutes to produce, then moves 50 yards or so and tries again.
“If you’re getting some fish, even though the action isn’t fast, you’ll probably be better off just staying put and slowly but steadily adding fish to the box,” he said.
East Side oyster reefs
Dugas said there’s more than a dozen big bays, all peppered with oyster poles, on the east side of the MRGO. His tactic is to get up in the poles and drift or troll slowly, casting live shrimp or soft plastics under a cork.
Look for decent water and any bait movement on the surface. Birds diving are always tell-tale signs of where the fish are and worth a try. Dugas said he really likes reefs in 5 or 6 feet of water, and he doesn’t hesitate to try fishing them by tight-lining soft plastics on a ¼ ounce jig.
Bay Eloi wells, platforms
“On a good weather day I’ll tie off or anchor by the wellheads and fish both on the bottom and 3½ to 4 feet under a cork, with live shrimp or plastic,” he said. “You can possibly catch anything from trout to bull reds, big sheepshead and junk fish out there, but there’s usually plenty of action to keep you busy.”
Dugas said you’ll likely find some reds mixed in with the specks in all these places, but if you want to target reds, he suggests casting live or dead shrimp under a cork at any of the points and drains in the marsh where you find decent, moving water.