Ten minute trout: Chalmette

Top 5 tips for cold water success

My old friend Wayne Ferry loves to fish Chalmette waters in the colder months whenever he’s not working or away hunting down some poor four-legged critter.

Ferry says a 10-minute (or so) run from the dock to find trout is a definite possibility this month, along with some reds, bass, sheepshead and black drum in the mix.

“All you need is a small boat and a decent enough day,” he said.

Just so you know, both Friendly Fisherman Bait Shop at the Gulf Outlet Marina and Bait, Inc. at the marina at Bayou Bienvenue generally close all month in February, so no live bait will be available (unless Eddie’s Boat Launch at the foot of the big bridge has it, or you get it from one of the bait shops in the Rigolets area).

Ferry just goes armed with some H&H soft plastic beetles on a bottom rig, and he always brings at least one pole rigged with a plastic under a cork.

The Guillotine Floodgate at Bayou Bienvenue, above, is just one of the landmarks Wayne Ferry targets when fishing for cold-weather Chalmette specks like these.
The Guillotine Floodgate at Bayou Bienvenue, above, is just one of the landmarks Wayne Ferry targets when fishing for cold-weather Chalmette specks like these.

“February is a fickle month,” Ferry said. “It can be cold, like bone-chilling cold, or it can be unseasonably warm with high temperatures in the 70s, or it can be anywhere in between. So nowadays I pick the days I want to fish; days with better weather so I don’t have to deal with the adverse conditions.”

Ferry’s Five Tips for February success are:

  1. “Pick the better days between the fronts, calmer days preferably with some tide — but not too much. That way you can fish a wider variety of places, both deeper water and shallower water, on the bottom and under a cork. In my thinking you maximize your chance for success that way.”
  2. Head through the big Guillotine Floodgate at Bayou Bienvenue and fish along the back side of the Wall. “Usually we anchor and fish the bottom with a Carolina rig and a sparkle beetle. Use a heavy sinker to get to the bottom, and a light 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jig on your H&H beetle. Try several colors: I like the clear fleck, avocado, smoke, white and chartreuse. You can fish anywhere along the Wall from the Guillotine to the MRGO. Just remember: When it’s cold, fish slow, and be sure your bait gets to the bottom.”
  3. Fish the deeper channel near the old Castle (now merely a rockpile). Go through the opening into Lake Borgne at Violet and anchor off maybe 50 feet from the bulkhead wall that runs down the left side. The channel is deeper, and trout and reds hide down there. Use the same bait on a bottom rig and see if you can pull out some fish.
  4. On milder days run just past the cut to the Castle in the MRGO and fish Horseshoe Bayou. Some maps call it the Shell Beach Bayou (though its at least fifteen minutes away from Shell Beach), others call it Lankers. It’s just a horseshoe-shape that goes into the marsh from the MRGO and comes back out into the MRGO. It’s fairly deep in some places – maybe 6 feet, and shallow – maybe 3 feet – in others, and that’s on a normal tide. On winter-time low tides, be careful. Fish back there on milder days under a cork with the same sparkle beetles for bait, and you’ll likely pull out some reds, maybe some bass and hopefully some trout.
  5. Also on milder days I like to fish around the old Gun Battery Fort in Bayou Bienvenue, under a cork, with a sparkle beetle or a Vudu shrimp in white or natural colors.

Rusty Tardo
About Rusty Tardo 314 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.