The best month of the year for Pontchartrain speckled trout

Capt. Justin Bowles puts clients on specks like these all month in Lake Pontchartrain.

Capt. Justin Bowles fishes 12 months a year, but this month, he ranks as his absolute favorite.

The Lake Pontchartrain fishing guide ranks it in this manner for several reasons.

“That’s when I catch my biggest specks of the year,” he said. “I like the weather; it’s not too hot, and there aren’t a lot of bad weather days. The fish are close.”

Bowles like to focus on structures, like bridges and anything that breaks the current.

One of the most popular Lake Pontchartrain areas to fish is the Train Trestle — and for good reason: it holds piles of fish every November.

When Bowles approaches the bridge, he likes to go in with an open mind as to how to fish it, even though he fishes it almost every day this time of year.

“I like to let the fish tell me what they’re going to do that day instead of going out thinking I know,” he said. “I’ll start off casting close to the pilings and you may get a hit when you’re retrieving your lure back to the boat — so I’ll back the boat off and fish further off. “

Bridge or not?

One thing that will dictate how far the fish are off the bridge is tidal movement, according to Bowles.

“Depending on how hard the current is moving, the fish aren’t related exactly onto the bridge,” he said.

“I’ve also had days where we were out away from the bridge casting as far from the bridge as we could.”

Bowles certainly has color preferences too when fishing the specks.

“When I’m fishing bigger trout, I like colors that mimic a finfish rather than a shrimp,” he said. “Any of the Matrix Shads that the top and bottom are different colors, Tiger Bait, Limbo Slice; I just feel like those two-tone colors — I catch better fish on them.”

Jighead size for fishing the bridges and structures around Lake Pontchartrain is very important, and Bowles recommends bringing jigheads from ¼-ounce all the way to a ½-ounce jighead.

“There are days when the current is strong or it’s windy and you may need to use a ½-ounce jighead,” he said. “On a slack tide or a no wind day, you can get away with fishing a ¼ and it may be more effective because the fall rate is slower.”

The Trestle is extremely popular with fishermen, and some days, you can almost walk from boat to boat.

However, Bowles has a method to combat the boat pressure.

“I’ve had several times where if it’s really busy, and especially if we’re fishing live bait, if I catch a fish, I’ll stay stationary and wait for those fish to pass me by again and they usually do,” he said.

About Joel Masson 167 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at

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