Fishing conditions extra poor for holiday

The prospect for a good fishing weekend and the celebration of the Fourth of July holiday is not good.

Offshore trips will be iffy because of a low-pressure system developing in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and the push of strong southeast winds to the coastline will make for rough conditions in all popular fishing areas east and west of the Mississippi River.

A fall-back plan to inside waters comes with the prediction of rough conditions all the way into Sunday.

For those venturing west into Calcasieu Lake, there’s not much in the forecast for saltwater anglers.

Even freshwater folks will have problems, because the strong southeasterly push will swell water levels in all southeast and south-central rivers and bayous.

Weather

Light southeast breezes will give way to 15-knot winds in the interior and up to 25 knots along the coast and offshore waters through Saturday with 10-20 knot winds lingering into Monday. Expect 3-4 footers nearshore with 4-7 footers offshore. There’s a chance of rain into,Monday with as much as four inches falling in the Acadiana and southeastern parishes.

The major rivers are on a slow fall.

The combination of the tropical system and the heavy winds will swell water levels in all areas east of the Mississippi River.

The coast

It might be possible to find some small speckled trout and redfish in the northern reaches of Barataria Bay and redfish in the Port Sulphur, Leeville and Theriot areas. Use soft plastics or live bait under a cork or Carolina-rigged fresh shrimp for redfish, black drum and sheepshead.

Using shrimp will attract hardhead catfish, too, so remember to take along a de-hooker and take care when removing hooks from hardheads.

Freshwater

With water falling in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, it’s time to consider a trip to Old River. With a predicted fall to below the 29-foot mark on the Mississippi at the Baton Rouge gauge, it’s a good time to look for bluegill in the Ball Park area (behind Mondieu Lake) at Old River. Take along crickets and look for the humps in 6-foot depths for the best results.

It’s also time to start checking the buttonwood trees along the low-water bank near Willow Point at Old River for sac-a-lait. Use black/chartruese tubes rigged with a weed guard to settle the tube jig through the heavy brush. The first reports came Tuesday from the area. The catch was low, but the promise high for increased catches in those spots. Try the inside cypress trees near Alligator Point (across from Willow Point) for sac-a-lait, too.

Venturing to the Atchafalaya? The lower section will swell on the hard winds, but the upper Bayou Sorrel, Bayou Pigeon and Grand Lake areas should be worth spending some time looking for bluegill along banks and bass in the run-outs of dead-end canals.