Winter weather, river dictate speck potential
Where can you launch in February and be on trout in a mere 10 minutes?
To answer that question I called the Bearded One, the old hobo and fish-finding guru, Brian Epstein. Up until Hurricane Katrina, Epstein was a Delacroix area charter guide, but has since become a professional wanderer who fishes a wide variety of species all over the country. But he still calls New Orleans home, speckled trout his favorite target and Delacroix his favorite waters.
Epstein said he will focus his efforts from now until the spring warm-up in three particular Delacroix lakes, all a mere 10 minutes from the dock.
But his tips come with a caveat: “Everything, and I mean everything, will depend on the weather and the river. If our winter stays moderate, you’ll do great in these areas, providing the river doesn’t rise and inundate us with muddy fresh water. Even if it’s cold these areas will produce if the river behaves and stays between the banks,” he said.
That said, the he offered these three tips for 10-minute trout:
- Little Lake. “It’s often overlooked, but Little Lake produces plenty speckled trout in the colder months. The key is water temperature. This is when a water temperature gauge becomes a huge asset because wherever you fish you want to find water that is a minimum of 53 to 54 degrees, and usually higher is better. Get into Little Lake and start drifting anywhere between the mouth of Bayou Gentilly and Alligator Pass. I like to fish a glow Vudu shrimp under a cork, which has been very successful, or tandem-rigged H&H glass minnows, which have produced a lot of trout for me also. Smaller baits seem to work best in the colder months,” he said.
Epstein says to drift until you bump into some fish then stick your Cajun Anchor and see if you can put some numbers in the boat.
“Sometimes when you drop anchor it kills the bite and you have to keep drifting to keep catching, but you can try it and see,” he said.
- Shrimp Lagoon “This is a great area to drift around the mouths of the various bayous, and on chilly days tight-line your soft plastics slower off the bottom. On milder days fish the same area with your plastics under a cork,” he said.
When bottom jigging, the Hobo likes to toss shrimp worms, a short ribbed worm with either a wobble tail or a curl tail in a green or white color on a ¼-ounce jig.
- Grand Lake “Grand Lake can be great or terrible, depending on the river. If you find decent water you should also find fish. Again, the key is to drift and cast your soft plastics under a cork. I like to start around the mouth of Sun Lagoon or Engineers and see what I can bump into. In all these areas you’re likely to pull out some redfish and maybe a few bass, as well as some decent sized trout. And you always want to fish moving water, whether the tide is rising or falling, as long as its decent and moving.”