Saltwater Series: Lake Mechant

The mouth of Bayou Chevreau is a great spot to catch trout during a falling tide.

It seems like everyone and his brother fishes this Terrebonne Parish hotspot, but there are still secret spots to be found on it.

Who doesn’t want to know some secret spot where you could find a trout feeding frenzy around the rim of some isolated island – a spot where you could fill our ice chest without so much as having to look at another boat? Too bad the chances of that happening are about as good as Mickey Loomis allowing Drew Brees to hit the free-agency market.

Without going all Zen on you, sometimes the most isolated spots are those in the most crowded areas. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fortune cookie that mentions anything about finding seclusion in the middle of a swarm, but Capt. Marty LaCoste with Absolute Fishing Charters out of Bayou DuLarge wouldn’t furrow his forehead if that were ever his fortune.

He would know exactly what it meant.

That’s because LaCoste routinely fishes one of the most heavily pressured lakes in southern Terrebonne Parish — Lake Mechant. In the lower Bayou DuLarge estuary, Lake Mechant serves as its own ecosystem of sorts that attracts just about anything in the water and absolutely everybody on it.

“Everybody heads to Lake Mechant when the fish are inside,” LaCoste said. “The place is so big that it has all kinds of places to fish, but the problem is that it gets all kinds of fishing pressure. (This time of year), I wouldn’t be surprised to find a small armada of boats fishing it any time of day.”

The primary school of thought when it comes to fishing Mechant is to find the birds or the boats, and ease your way into the mix because both congregate around bait and trout. However, if you’re not into asking somebody to move to make a cast, LaCoste pointed out 10 spots around the rim of Mechant that have been some of his best fishing spots.

“You might find some boats at some of them, but some you might not,” he said. “Nothing is really secret in Lake Mechant, but you can find a small spot or two that is stacked with fish that nobody else has found yet. If that’s the case, stay on them while you can because company is coming.”

• No. 1: Mouth of Bayou Chevreau

(N29 18 57.13 x W90 55 31.63)

More than a small cut, the mouth of Bayou Chevreau is some wide water where Bayou Chevreau dumps into Lake Mechant. LaCoste says this is a great spot to fish during a falling tide, and its size allows you to fish away from the crowd somewhat.

“When the tide is falling out, the trout will stack up in the middle of the bayou and at the mouth,” said LaCoste. “It stays about 5 to 6 feet deep, and the bottom is oysters from one side to the other, up the bayou a little bit and out into the lake.”

Because oysters cover the bottom of the entire area, LaCoste says the trout could literally be anywhere. He likes to look for shrimp jumping out of the water, and he would never pass up a flock of diving birds.

“You can tear up the trout here fishing double-rigged LSU Bayou Chubs, single Chubs, Tsunami swimbaits and maybe something like a DOA under a cork,” he said. “The worst wind here would be west because it will muddy up fast. I like the wind from the south or north, but you could even fish an east wind here.”

• No. 2: East Bank Redfish Hole

(N29 19 5.96 x W90 55 57.05)

Immediately to the northwest of Bayou Chevreau, anglers will find an unnamed bayou that empties into a small pond that is separated from Lake Mechant by a small strip of land. This strip is one of LaCoste’s favorite redfish spots in the entire lake, and he’s seen giant schools of reds roaming the shoreline.

“There are a couple of things you can do here to catch reds,” he said. “I like to drift on the lake side, but you can also go through the cuts and fish the inside. All you’re doing is trolling around looking for redfish with gold spoons, Tsunami swimbaits and LSU Bayou Chubs.”

LaCoste theorized this spot is attractive to redfish because of all the broken marsh that concentrates water moving from the bayou behind it out into the lake. Big schools of mullet stack up around all the little cuts and points, and the redfish are never very far away.

“I like to throw the spoon up against the bank, but I usually switch to swimbaits and Bayou Chubs if the fish are schooled up off the bank a little bit,” LaCoste said. “There isn’t any grass here to speak of, but you can sometimes sight fish if you can spot the fish pushing.”

• No. 3: Trout Bayou

(N29 19 51.33 x W90 56 11.03)

When asked what this spot was called, LaCoste could come up with only one name: “Trout Bayou.”

“I don’t know if it has a name, but I’ve caught so many trout here over the years that I don’t think it could have any other name but that,” he said.

As with the mouth of Bayou Chevreau, LaCoste likes to see the water falling out of the bayou because it washes across two small points directly to the south of the mouth. As the water enters the larger portion of the pocket, it also spirals around into many different eddies and current lines.

LaCoste chooses baits based on whether he’s fishing the land points or the open water out in front of the mouth. The middle of the pocket runs about 2 to 4 feet deep, so he throws plastics under corks if the birds aren’t working and double-rigged Bayou Chubs if they are.

“Against the bank, I like to throw the swimbaits and corks because it’s shallow enough to mess up the double-rig fishing,” he said. “You can also throw topwaters to the first point where the water washes around it. This is a spot for catching a bunch of 12- to 14-inch trout.”

• No. 4: Mouth of Raccourci Bayou

(N29 20 3.34 x W90 56 52.90)

This spot is one of the busiest in Lake Mechant, but it’s mainly busy in that it acts as a highway for boaters moving between Mechant and Raccourci Bay. The bayou is lined with several camps, and LaCoste usually fishes from 200 yards out into Mechant to the first camp in the bayou.

“The key here is the major water movement between Mechant and Raccourci comes through this bayou,” LaCoste explained. “When it’s falling, the water will enter Mechant from Raccourci, and the whole spot will stack up with shrimp and trout.”

Birds love the mouth of Raccourci Bayou just as much as the fish and anglers because of all the shrimp. LaCoste obviously fishes under the birds if they are picking, but he sets up on a drift pattern if they are not.

The water is plenty deep enough to throw double rigs, so that’s what LaCoste mostly throws. However, he also mixes in the DOA or chartreuse sparkle beetle under a cork. A west or southwest wind chops this spot up a lot and turns it dirty, but it is totally protected from a north wind.

• No. 5: Northwest Bank

(N29 20 13.68 x W90 57 29.60)

The north bank of Lake Mechant isn’t so much a spot as it is a general area. The reasons LaCoste couldn’t pinpoint it any closer than this is because this entire stretch is an awesome area for catching redfish from right below Raccourci Bayou over to Goose Bay.

“There used to be a bunch of cuts along this bank that allowed water to pour in from the marsh,” said LaCoste. “They’ve dammed all those spots off now, though, with the North Bank Project they’ve been doing. There’s no more moving water, so the redfish just roam all along this bank.”

LaCoste typically finds the redfish congregated near the shoreline when the water is high, but when it is low, the reds will reposition about 50 yards off the bank. When the water is low, LaCoste says bay boats will have a difficult time getting near the bank.

“Most of the time, we’re blind-casting here,” LaCoste said. “But you can sometimes see them in big pods by spotting any nervous-looking water. You can really get bites anywhere, and no one spot is any better than the rest. Just keep moving and casting spoons, LSU Chubs or swimbaits, and you’ll find a few.”

• No. 6: Northwest Bank Reef

(N29 19 53.00 x W90 58 6.94)

About halfway between Raccourci Bayou and Goose Bay is a sprawling oyster reef that lies directly in front of a small bayou with a couple of camps in the background. The reef extends a few hundred yards out into the lake, and LaCoste says it averages about 2 to 4 feet deep.

“Before they did this North Bank Project, this reef used to have water flowing over it all the time,” LaCoste said. “It’s not the same anymore, but the fish don’t seem to care. All I can think is they’re so used to feeding on top of this reef they don’t want to leave it.”

Unlike some of the other large Lake Mechant reefs, this one isn’t marked with a lot of PVC pipes. There are a few, but they don’t clearly define it. That’s why LaCoste likes to use a single Bayou Chub or a swimbait here. By bouncing them on the shells, he always knows when he’s on top of or moved off of the reef.

“I’ve never fished topwater here, but I imagine it would be good in the right conditions,” LaCoste said. “You could also do very well on live shrimp or a DOA under a cork. When you hit a couple fish, drop anchor because they will gang up in different spots.”

• No. 7: Goose Bay

(N29 19 23.41 x W90 59 15.72)

If Lake Mechant is a hotspot for fishing under the birds, Goose Bay really turns up the heat. Although LaCoste likes a falling tide here because it pulls water out of the bayou behind the green camp, he says it really doesn’t matter as long as the birds are working.

“If you see birds here, you can catch fish,” he said. “If you don’t see birds, you aren’t going to catch fish. Any time you’re running by Goose Bay and you see just a couple birds working, you need to stop. It’s one of those places that people use as a last resort.”

Like many other places around Mechant, the birds could be working from right up over the little bayou in the back to out in the middle of the bay and on out into the main lake in front of Goose Bay.

“I always throw double rigs here because I’m always fishing under the birds,” LaCoste said. “The fish are usually stacked up, but they will also turn off pretty quick. I throw the double rig to catch them two at a time while they’re turned on. This entire bay is also a good redfish spot.”

• No. 8: Oyster Pole Reef

(N29 17 54.25 x W90 57 58.86)

You can’t miss this reef as you traverse the western side of Lake Mechant. There are a lot of PVC poles in the water marking the reef, and the bottom from one pole to the other in any direction is lined with oysters.

“There’s no distinction from pole to pole,” said LaCoste. “There are a few spots that have a bunch of poles all in a row, and you could drift from one end of those to the other, but for the most part they’re just scattered all over the place. Most of the time, if the fish are here the birds are here, and that takes some of the guess-work out.”

When the birds aren’t working the area, LaCoste fishes a single rig so he can tell if he’s on the oysters or not, but you can bet he’s going to switch to a double rig if the birds show up. Other good choices are DOA shrimp or sparkle beetles fished about 18 inches to 2 feet under a cork.

“Any wind over 10 m.p.h. can make this spot pretty choppy” LaCoste said. “A north or west wind over here is decent, but an east wind will mess it up. This is the west bank of Mechant, so it stays pretty protected during the fall.”

• No. 9: Grand Pass

(N29 16 3.89 x W90 56 11.31)

Grand Pass connects Lake Mechant with Sister Lake, and a lot of people like to fish Grand Pass for the big bull reds and bull drum. It crosses Bayou DuLarge, and the deeper water combined with the tremendous water movement make it a perfect spot for the bigger fish.

“It drops down to 30 and 50 feet out in the middle,” said LaCoste. “The drum and reds move through the middle of the pass, and cracked crab on the bottom is the ticket. I’ve caught drum up to 45 pounds and bull reds up to 40 pounds here.”

LaCoste says he tends to catch more drum on a falling tide, which pulls water from Mechant and into Sister Lake, and more bull reds on a rising tide, which moves it from Sister Lake into Mechant.

“You can also catch some trout here on both sides,” he said. “I catch them out away from the turbulent water on the Mechant side on an incoming tide and on the Sister Lake side when it’s falling. It’s strictly double rigs here because it’s so deep.”

• No. 10: Old Island Reef

(N29 16 46.67 x W90 56 6.68)

Almost due north of Grand Pass in Lake Mechant are a couple of oyster poles that jut above a tiny piece of land that is the remnant of an island that used to be a lot larger. A line of PVC pipes runs off to the north, and it marks a long oyster reef.

LaCoste says anglers can set up a drift along the oyster poles and cast double rigs in front of them as they move. He favors setting up at the end of the poles away from the island and drifting toward it.

“The big island’s basically gone from view now,” said LaCoste, “but all the good stuff is still down below. The only problem here is any wind out of the west or a strong north wind will mess up the fishing. It’s protected from winds from the south and east.”

Since this is a spot to pick up a lot of school-sized trout, LaCoste also gives a popping cork a try here. He keeps it pretty simple with either a DOA shrimp or a chartreuse sparkle beetle.

Capt. Marty LaCoste can be reached at 985-856-4477.

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About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at chrisginn.com.

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