This is the time we’ve waited for, when summer’s sweltering choke-hold is broken, cool fronts bring us crisper air and chilly, morning boat rides, and we finally see trout showing up in the inside waters.
It’s been a tough year for trout chasers, but that’s in the past, and the focus can be on what is ripe for the picking in the present. Good catches have been reported from throughout area lakes and marshes, and fishermen all say the same thing: the trout have reappeared, hungry and decent-sized.
Last year, the action was excellent all around the Violet Castle in Lake Borgne, where anglers put both specks and reds on ice, and that action should repeat itself this year. Live shrimp fished under a popping cork is the best bait, but soft plastics usually produce well in the fall. Soft baits in white, shrimp-colored and chartreuse the typical go-to choices.
Proctors Point has produced some nice reds, and the mouths of the bayous that empty into Lake Borgne are producing some nice trout on the falling tides.
Let the tides guide
Personally, I let the tides guide my trips. On rising-tide mornings, I head into the larger lakes in the Biloxi Marsh that have good oyster reefs and fish them. I look for diving flocks of seagulls, and I’m not shy about chasing them. Approach the feeding frenzy from upcurrent, just drifting or using your trolling motor, and make as long a cast into them as possible. The minute you catch a fish, drop anchor and hope you can sit on some action long enough to put some fish in the box.
You always run the risk of finding schools of gaff-tops under the birds instead of trout, but when you do find trout, the keep-to-toss ratio is better in the fall.
When the birds offer no help, find a well-marked oyster reef and idle in, using your sonar to see the jagged reef bottom. You’ll know you’re on the reef when you hear the anchor hit rocky bottom. A huge help to me has been the Standard Mapping Louisiana One Card chip for my Lowrance GPS, which has maps of all the oyster leases. Using it, I’m not dependant on oyster poles marking active leases and can find good reefs in new waters.
Wherever you fish, you want to be in decent-looking water — not too rough to fish comfortably. Live shrimp and soft plastics under a cork are the go-to baits, and if the wind isn’t too strong, you can also try drifting the reefs.
On falling-tide mornings, I’ll fish the same big lakes and bays, but at the mouths and passes where the water is draining and dragging all that bait out with it into the mouths of awaiting predators. Often, you’ll see birds there, too, but if not, just find a spot with current, anchor up and cast into the current. The stronger the current, the farther away you’ll want to be, so adjust your position before abandoning an area.
You’ll likely find some redfish mixed in, but if you specifically want to target them, fish the shorelines at drains, points, cuts and coves, especially where you see bait activity or a good current line. Live or market bait under a cork is the best bet, but spinner-baits, gold spoons and topwater baits will also entice the bronze beasts to pounce.