Macaluso: Heavy rain means more ‘bad’ water

When was the last time you’ve witnessed a 40-something degrees morning in May?

Maybe Saturday morning’s forecast of 48 degrees is something you can put in the memory banks and tell your grandkids about the May days back in e_SSSq13 when a cold front blew into south Louisiana.

While all that sounds great if you’re doing something away from the water, it’s not all that good if you’ve planned to be on the water. Strong north and west winds will hamper activities across the southern parishes through Monday.

It’s likely the best action could come on bluegill and other panfish in several systems.

Plans for offshore trips need scrutiny, and be careful if you’re planning to cross open water anywhere, but especially in broad, shallow lakes.

Adding to these warnings is this week’s heavy rain. It means more water in all river systems and more muddy water that will take days to clear.

Weather

Not good with a good chance of rain into Friday and 15-25 knot northerly winds that will make Lake Pontchartrain unfishable, bring 3-6 foot swells east of the Mississippi River and along the Central Coast and 5-8 foot offshore seas. The forecast also calls for “rough conditions in protected areas.”

You’ll need a jacket for the predicted morning temps near 50 through early next week. Afternoon highs will climb into the upper 70s.

The Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers are on a slow, steady rise. Look for the Mississippi to reach the 32-foot mark on the Baton Rouge gauge and near 13 feet at New Orleans ,with a 4.5-foot reading on the Atchafalaya at Morgan City.

Freshwater

The bluegill run in the Lake Verret Basin and the marsh canals in the Turtle Bayou and Penchant areas provides the weekend’s best bet. Crickets under a cork will be the top producer. Look for trees with caterpillars.

Bass fishermen will have a tough time finding clear enough water in the Verret Basin, but there are good numbers of bass in the area. Finding grassbeds will help find clearer water (the grass will help filter silt). Big-bladed spinnerbaits will be more productive. Darker-colored frogs worked around the grassbeds will help, too, as will finding schools of shad working close to water hyacinths.

The north winds likely will help congregate bass near runouts. Use bream-colored and shad-colored soft-plastic lures and topwaters.

The Florida Parishes river systems are off the map because of high, muddy water.

The coast

There’s no clear-cut area to recommend. Strong north winds will push bait into windward banks. Reports are that chartreuse plastics are good for trout and redfish.

Action along The Causeway and the other Pontchartrain bridges is off. Water clarity is the issue, and the lake’s 3-4 waves won’t help.