Finding clear, moving water key for fishermen

More cold rain, more treacherous weather and more muddy water is ahead through early next week.

So what’s a dyed-in-the-wool fisherman to do?

As difficult as it will be, you must find clear, moving water, and moving water can come from tide, wind and falling levels — the Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers are predicted for major downturns in the next days — to help your cause.

Remember, too, that areas where you find grass beds, or water blowing through marsh grass or water moving through (not around) points have clear water on the lee side.

What adds potential to these downwind sites is that the wind/tide/falling water levels pushes baitfish, crawfish and crabs to the spots to help further concentrate predator fish.

Add trees or pilings, anything that can direct the sun’s warmth into the water, and you’re likely going to find the most productive spot in an area.

Yes, fish are biting, but the weather likely will be tougher on you than the fish or the environment, and could discourage the freshwater bass guys scouting for the area’s major charity tournaments every weekend in March.

Weather

Five inches of rain are predicted through Friday with more rain throughout the weekend. Look for warmer temperatures, but the cold rain will chill surface waters and could offset the benefits of cloudy conditions on freshwater action.

The coast

Try for speckled trout in deep holes everywhere, and the Sulphur Mine area is producing some trout.

Redfish is the main target now: Use fresh shrimp or your favorite color soft plastic under a cork along marsh banks and in run-outs.

Freshwater

Rain and increasing runoff will put the quietus on action in the Lake Verret Basin and all Florida Parishes rivers.

False River, only recently recovered from rains earlier this year, will rise again and likely halt the prespawn pattern bass showed during the past two weeks. Look for bass on brush tops.

The Atchafalaya Spillway and the marshes south of U.S. 90 continue to hold the best promise for bass and sac-a-lait (in the Atchafalaya) and bass and bluegill (in the marshes).

In the Atchafalaya, find cypress tree-lined banks in canals where the water is clearing toward the back-end of the canals. Most bass have moved from bayous into canals and will find their ways to prespawn areas. Clear water pushed from the swamps will bring crawfish that bass eat leading up to the spawn. Creature baits and crawfish imitations in the “California” color, the old standby black/blue jigs-and-pigs and shad-colored skirts on gold willowleaf spinners should be enough in your arsenal to find some bass.

Try black/chartreuse tubes in clear water and blue/white in cloudy water or live shiners to take sac-a-lait.

Spinnerbaits and watermelon/red soft plastics are what’s been taking fish in the marshes.