Shrimp migration key to Cocodrie trout bite

Plastic bite returns later this month as shrimp head offshore

With this year’s lack of a real winter, specks out of Cocodrie have been in their typical summer pattern for weeks now — and according to Capt. Tommy Pellegrin, the migration of shrimp out of the marsh heading offshore will be key to the trout bite in June.

“Typically, June will still be a live shrimp bite, starting to go toward live croaker fairly heavy by the end of the month,” he said. “And cocahoe minnows pretty much always work, but sometimes they don’t if there’s too much shrimp around.

“Brown shrimp will still be thick in the bigger bays north of the islands in mid-to-late June. They’re on their way out of the marsh heading offshore, and they’re staging up in the big bays, so you’re going to start seeing a whole bunch of birds diving all over the place, shrimp jumping and lots of activity. You’ll have that to show you where the fish are.”

As waves of shrimp gradually move through the estuary influenced by wind and tide, a trout’s diet also changes — and Pellegrin said your bait selection should, too.

“The trout start to know the shrimp are leaving,” he said. “But the trout aren’t leaving to follow them offshore because they’re going to stay in the right salinity and water temperature to spawn …. That’s when plastics really take off again — from late June, through July and August and pretty much for the rest of the year. They start foraging more on minnows, so we’ll move to live croaker and a minnow pattern.”

Pellegrin favors Gulp minnow imitations, as well as a freshwater bait — Berkley Havoc grass pigs — on ¼-ounce jigheads.

“If you double rig, you can put a quarter-(ounce) and an eighth-(ounce) together, or just use two quarters,” he said. “But put your heavier one on the bottom so it will keep you straight when you’re casting.

“June and July are the big times for the double rig.”

Action around any of the barrier islands out of Cocodrie should remain pretty solid depending on weather conditions, he said.

“Later in June, you’ll start going to the beach side to find the shrimp and birds diving, and in July you better be in the passes where the shrimp are cutting through going out, especially on a heavy current,” Pellegrin said. “You’ll find a lot of fish foraging on the shrimp when they’re headed out, particularly on a heavy falling tide in the first moon in July.”

As June progresses — and the temperature rises — Pellegrin also advised to adjust your fishing schedule accordingly.

“The hotter it gets during the summer, the deeper the water you’ll fish,” he said. “Or fish early — the first hour or two in the morning, then go deeper in the middle of the day and come back shallow when it starts cooling down during the last hours of daylight.”

June typically doesn’t have too many bad weather days, but if this spring’s windy conditions persist, Pellegrin said the key will be to find cleaner water.

“You have to find pockets of cleaner water where you know the trout have been hanging out,” he said. “If the wind stays a day or two — where the trout have time to find cleaner water — they’re going to stay right there as long as it’s dirty.

“June is just one of those months where you can hardly go wrong. Pretty much anything you’re going to try is going to work.”

For more information, contact Capt. Tommy Pellegrin with Custom Charters out of Houma at 985-851-3304, or go to

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and