Trolling Lake Pontchartrain for big trout

Poirier works the Causeway Bridge for nice specks

Featuring two of the Top 10 speckled trout records in the state, Lake Pontchartrain has long been considered a big trout destination for decades.

Recently though, a couple of slower years has created some negative rumblings in the fishing community about the lake’s ability to continue to produce trophy trout.

But don’t count Capt. Henry Poirier in that number.

“People are saying they’re not catching big trout in the lake but I’ve been catching trout just as big as a I did seven or eight years ago,” said Poirier, with Trophy Trout Charters. “Lately the trout have been averaging 18- to 22-inches, with a few 24- to 25-inch trout in the mix.

“People who thought the Causeway was dead are dead wrong.”

Poirier, who said he’s sometimes criticized for trolling for trout, said he thinks it’s an effective way to fill the box.

“Some people say that trolling for speckled trout is ridiculous, but I catch plenty trolling the Causeway,” Poirier said. “I usually troll around the 8- to 12-mile mark from the Northshore.”

Poirier trolls with lead core line in the early morning and switches to braided line once the water starts to warm. He typically rigs up using ¾-ounce Rat-L Traps, followed by B-2 Squid trailers tied off 12- to 18-inches beneath them.

Catching trout this time of year while trolling or jigging depends greatly on water temperature and tide movement, he said.

Cold weather also is a big factor, and he admits to sometimes not getting out of his house until 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning to let water temperatures rise.

“You’ve got to fish the conditions, not the spots. If I don’t mark bait balls, then I pick up and keep going,” he said. “If I’m jigging the Causeway, then the tide has to be moving.

“I drop right next to pilings while I’m jigging and make sure that I can feel the bottom. If you’re not on the bottom, you’re not going to catch anything.”

He likes to jig with Matrix Shad in shrimp creole and ultra violet around the Causeway, and some of the shell pads 8 to 9 miles off the north bank.

And in December and January, Poirier said trolling and jigging from the no-wake zone of Marina del Ray to the mouth of the Tchefuncte River will start to turn on.