If you want to pull big trout out of thick grass, throw some of these underused baits.
This duck season has been all about being in the right spot at the right time, and there’s no better public spot to hunt through the end of the season than Atchafalaya Delta WMA. This 140,000-acre maze of freely available land at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River and the Wax Lake Outlet looks a lot like the Mississippi River Delta, and it can hold just as many birds.I hunted the Atchafalaya Delta WMA with retired LSU fisheries biologist Jerald Horst the past couple of days, and found the hunting to be exemplary for hunters willing to put in the effort it takes to hunt the delta. We took a 12-bird limit of teal, mallards, canvasbacks, red heads and pintails the first day.
The second day was a little tougher; we couldn’t fill our limits, but we were able to take some teal, scaup and widgeon. There were some birds in the air, but they just weren’t paying our fake quacks, chatters and whistles any attention.
We spent our two days hunting from Horst’s boat blind on a sand bar out in open water, which is typical of an Atchafalaya Delta WMA hunt. In fact, you can’t even hunt the Delta without a boat, and the easiest access is the Wax Lake Outlet. Boat blinds are needed whether hunters hit the open water or hunt the inside.
Horst explained that the best hunting at Atchafalaya Delta WMA occurs on bad-weather days. Wind and rain tend to push birds that had been rafting lazily in the Gulf of Mexico to the more protected waters inside the marsh. Setting up in open water to intercept these birds on their way in is productive as is popping up a blind on the inside where the ducks find respite from the rolling waves of the Gulf.
Unlike most other WMAs in Louisiana, Atchafalaya Delta offers all-day duck hunting. Many hunters during my trip that didn’t fill limits in the morning went back out to finish up with mallards that were flying better later in the day.
Horst cautioned that Atchafalaya Delta WMA can be extremely dangerous when the weather turns rotten, and he recommended all safety precautions be followed because there is no room for error.