Robbie Johnson is a Lake Pontchartrain junkie.
That makes him a fisherman among many who can’t wait to hear the roar of engines while he’s plying the waters around The Causeway, the 24-mile-long span crossing the state’s largest lake between Metairie and Mandeville.
The noise is something you need to endure, if only because so many fishermen head out to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. The constant rumble of vehicles large and small is a reminder that other less fortunate folks have what they consider to be more important things to occupy their day than to test the vagaries of Lake Pontchartrain speckled trout.
Vagaries is a correct description: Tides, wind, wind direction, barometric pressure, water depth, water clarity and bait present loads of variables in the Causeway trout equation.
Then there’s that thing with the World Series, a near 20-year run when speckled trout began to show up at The Causeway almost to the day when the Major Leagues celebrated their annual best-of-seven showdown.
Apparently Pontchartrain trout decided to break that streak during the past two falls. The Causeway failed to produce trout until after the St. Louis Cardinals won last year, and were not around this bridge until former LSU shortstop Ryan Theriot scored the winning run for the San Francisco Giants this year.
Until last Friday.
“We fished from the (north) four-mile hump out to midlake, and no area was better than any other. The water looked great, but is still in the mid- to upper-60s, which is warm for this time of year,” Johnson reported Friday after the his first productive trip to The Causeway this fall. He said the oddity was that he and fishing partner Mel Leonard saw no bait along the surface, another oddity because there had been so much bait this time two years ago. “We did try trolling for a while, but no luck,” he said.
The fact that he and Leonard caught a dozen 3- to 4-pound specks was reason to take notice, and that’s that Bob Weiss, the recent S.T.A.R. Trout Division winner did.
Weiss fished the span Sunday morning and reported to have 20 “nice” trout in the boat and said he lost maybe 10 more at the boat.
Problem is Thursday and Friday is the only open window on the lake for the next 5-6 days.
With 5-15-knot southeast winds kicking up 2-3-foot waves in Pontchartrain Saturday and a cold front due to bring north winds in early next week, the next best chance appears to be next Wednesday or Thursday.
And take along 3/8- and 1/2-ounce jigheads and your favorite soft plastics (Gulp! Jerk Shad, Zoom Flukes and Hybrids appear to be the best) and prepare to work them slowly around the bridge pilings.
An estimated 219 hunters took 816 ducks during last weekend’s youth-only waterfowl hunts on Wildlife & Fisheries’ Atchafalaya Delta, Pass a Loutre, Salvador and Pointe aux Chenes wildlife management areas.
The average of 3.7 ducks per hunter on public lands falls in the “excellent” category for state and federal waterfowl managers.
Four youth hunters were perfect, a take of 24 ducks, at Pass a Loutre during Saturday’s check. Salvador averaged 4.5 ducks for its 10 hunters, while Pointe aux Chenes hit 4.3 per hunter (110 youths, 472 birds) and Atchafalay Delta’s was 2.9 per hunter with the Wax Delta area receiving the most attention (80 hunters/204 birds).
The take included virtually every species allowed in the bag. Gray ducks, bluewing and greenwing teal and gray ducks made up most of the first-day take. There were mallards and canvasbacks, a rarity for these species to be so far south this early in the migration pattern.
Ducks Unlimited — http://www.ducks.org — has its annual migration map posted on its website.
Deer hunters planning to take advantage of this weekend’s opener of the Area 6 primitive firearms season best take note of the changes made in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.
Hunters in parts of seven parishes in the Lake Maurepas area (along Lakes Maurepas & Pontchartrain) will not have this seven-day-long season.
Copyright © 2014, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved