Trout and reds in the depths and shallows
My old friend Capt. Mike Gallo (504-259-3474) has been making winter treks across the lake to fish the deep waters around Chalmette for many years, and this year will be no exception.
“The deeper waters of the ICW and the MRGO, their proximity to Lake Borgne and a mixture of marsh, bayous and canals makes the whole area an ideal haunt for fish seeking cold weather retreats,” Gallo said.
“Of course, the sheer number and variety of fish that hide here attracts myriads of anglers who are doing their best to find them,” he said. “This place gets crowded, especially on weekends. Last Sunday I counted 69 boats, and I know I missed a few.”
What to use
Gallo said when the water temperature is below 55 degrees, he fishes the bottom with a drop-shot rig.
“Live bait is always a bonus, but plastics usually do the trick this time of year,” he said. “The key is to get your bait all the way to the bottom, so add as much weight as you need to get it there. Then fish slow, just slight lifts with the rod and let it settle to the bottom again.
“Once the sun warms it up a bit and on warmer days when the water temperatures climb above 55 degrees toward 60, start fishing ledges, drop-offs and even the shallower 2-to-3-feet-of-water areas nearby. It definitely helps to have a depth finder to locate the drop-offs because that’s where you want to fish on milder days. Try both a drop-shot rig and under a popping cork.”
Gallo said the choice deeper areas to fish your drop-shot rig this month and in February include along the ICW, the MRGO, the Air Products Canal and Michoud Slip, and along the Wall by Bayou Bienvenue.
Gallo offered a couple extra free tips to help you catch more fish on these colder days of winter:
- Get out of the current on the colder days when you are fishing the bottom. Find a corner someplace where the water isn’t moving much: That’s where they’ll stack up in the cold.
- Use 10- or 12-pound fluorocarbon line. Gallo said it makes a difference. “I keep a couple reels spooled up with it just for use on colder days. It’s more expensive than mono or braid, but I’ve proven you can catch more with it so that makes it worth it.”