Trout bite starting a little late this year

Capt. Eric Olsen caught this big trout on live shrimp while fishing a Carolina rig in Bay Eloi.

Long Rocks will likely be an early summer hotspot after long, cold winter season

The kickoff of the annual trout frenzy is running about a month behind schedule this year, according to Capt. Eric Olsen of New Orleans’ Saltwater Therapy Charters, probably due to multiple factors.

“The unusually long, cold winter really dropped the water temperatures, and that, along with all the fresh water we dealt with, put the kibosh on the winter shrimp,” said Olson (504-715-3006). “Even into May, the shrimp trawlers were finding the bait small and scarce.

“The last few years, we had no winter cold to speak of, and we were able to get live shrimp all winter. Not this year. We even had some cold weather in April, so all of that got us off to a slower start than usual.

“But by June, everything changes. The heat is back, the water temperatures are up, and shrimp should be showing up everywhere — and that means trout action busting loose all over. I expect all the usual May hotspots to be red hot in June, everything running about a month behind schedule.”

One of the perennial June hotspots is the Rocks at the end of the MRGO, which always seems to be one of the first places trout show up to kick off summer. Olsen said trout are already there and have been showing up in spurts since late April. With live shrimp available, anglers should be able to put some nice fish, and good numbers, in the boat with more consistency.

The Long Rocks are an 8-mile stretch of rock jetty protruding into Breton Sound, and for decades, anglers have lined up along them to catch trout, redfish, sheepshead, flounder and any number of other species from jacks to Spanish mackerel, sharks, pesky catfish and lad fish. But the main targets are trout and reds.

Bait activity

On weekends, there are often so many boats lined up along them that locals nicknamed the area, “the Parking Lot.”

Olsen said you can try your luck anywhere along the rocks, but he always looks for bait activity.

“I look for shrimp jumping, minnows, mullet, anything that trout eat, and wherever I see that, I’ll give it a try,” he said.

Olson said a moving tide — rising or falling — is essential. He likes to fish live shrimp on a 3-foot leader under a popping cork.

“I always catch more fish on a longer leader,” he said.

In addition to the rocks, Olsen said the oyster reefs in Lake Anastasia should be productive, using live shrimp and lime or chartreuse plastics under a cork, and all the structures in Bay Eloi should be turning on.

“Big reds and drum and big sheepshead and trout like to hang around the wellheads and structure in Bay Eloi, and live shrimp fished on a Carolina rig should put a serious bend in your pole out there this month,” he said.

About Rusty Tardo 368 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.

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