Chas Champagne, owner of Matrix Shad, caught a 6-pound, 25-inch speckled trout on Tuesday, April 6, in Lake Pontchartrain along the US 11 Bridge, a spot renowned for producing record-breaking fish.
“Out of the 10 biggest trout ever caught in Louisiana history,” Champagne said, “right now, two of them came from that exact bridge.”
Tuesday’s speckled trout is the biggest he’s caught in the last three years.
Still, Champagne remembers a time when bigger fish were commonly caught in the Lake. He cites the closing of the MRGO in 2009 and repeated openings of the Bonnet Carré Spillway — the spillway has been opened four of the last five years — as likely causes for the decline in the fishing.
“The one thing that makes me feel comfortable is that it’s not just the lake seeing the change,” Champagne said. “All of Louisiana has been declining for speckled trout, so maybe it’s a bigger thing, and the fishing will cycle back to normal.”
Champagne jokes that he’s forgotten what it’s like to fish in the spring. With the openings every year, it has been emotionally tough on everyone who depends on the fishing in Lake Pontchartrain.
But this is a brand new season, and so far, the prospects for a productive year look good.
“The fishing in our area has been pretty strong,” Champagne said. “Now that we’re not having to fight [the spillway], we’ve been having a nice little run of fish here.” And that is very good news.
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