Warm, south winds help fishing conditions

Southerly winds and warm afternoons should provide steady improvement in the freshwater catches across the entire state, and the directional winds should help improve water conditions along the coast after a couple of days of strong, north winds.

While there is some visual proof that bass have spawned in the northern through the middle portions of the Atchafalaya Spillway, female bass continue to hold eggs in the southern end and throughout most systems in the southern parishes as well as the northern oxbows, reservoirs and rivers.

There are too many signs that speckled trout are on the move and are tougher to catch now, but redfish cover the coast and bull reds have been seen moving to the points and passes along the coast both east and west of the Mississippi River.

And if you’re thinking about heading offshore, it’s still one weekend away from the red snapper opener, but there are hefty wahoo, yellowfin tuna and other snapper species to catch during the coming weekend.

Weather

Expect mild, spring-like conditions with a slight chance of rain Monday.

Great timing if that offshore trip is in your plans with a forecast of south winds and 1-2 foot seas through the weekend.

Otherwise, expect 5-15 knot south winds across south Louisiana through Sunday with 1-2 foot seas in the open-water areas.

Up-country snow/runoff reversed last week’s falling Mississippi River (a push from 19.9 to 21.6 feet on the Baton Rouge gauge in five days). It also means a slight rise in the Atchafalaya Spillway, which will remain in the 3.0-3.2 foot readings at Morgan City.

Freshwater

Crawfish imitations and other chunky “creature” baits continue to lead the charge for bass fishermen across the area, but there have been reports of bass heating up on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, square-billed crankbaits and dark-colored jerkbaits (avoid chrome colors and shiny baits).

Smaller canals appear to be the most productive areas, and working lures around cypress trees has been the best pattern. Another key is to work from deep to shallow, because that’s the best way to find the feeding pattern for that time of day.

Sac-a-lait are showing up in the Verret Basin and around brush piles and downed trees in canals off Big and Little Pigeon.

Crankbaits (lipped and lipless) and soft-plastics are producing bass at Toledo Bend and in Lakes St. John and Concordia.

The coast

No doubt speckled trout on the move to the southern reaches of bays and lakes along the coast. Catches have dropped in the interior marshes.

Redfish and sheepshead are plentiful. Under a light chop over the water, reds reportedly taking topwaters over points, but plastics under a cork working.

Fresh shrimp are taking sheepshead around most structures near the coast.