Macaluso’s Fishing Report: Cold front, moving water the big keys

Drains, runouts, sloughs, whatever you call them, fish likely will be there well into next week.

That’s because another cold front is near, and both saltwater and freshwater species have been stacking up around runouts to feast on the morsels moving into deeper water from swamps, ponds and small lakes.

The Atchafalaya Spillway is alive with bass, and most coastal areas are checking in with near limits of frying-pan-sized speckled trout and hard-fighting redfish.

After more than two months waiting, Lake Pontchartrain is alive and well and producing hefty specks.

Weather

The front is due to move through Friday night and bring 10-15 knot northeast winds across south Louisiana. Expect rough conditions in open bays, lakes and coastal waters with 15-20 knot winds bringing 3-4-footers to offshore areas.

After a rise in both the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, expect both rivers to fall by Monday, down from 3.5 to 3.1 feet for the Mississippi at New Orleans and from 2.7 to 2.5 feet on the Atchafalaya at Morgan City.

Look for morning lows in the 40s and afternoon highs near 70 into holiday week with the winds dropping wind chills into the 20s.

The coast

The word is live bait under a cork on both sides of the Mississippi River, and baitshop owners said the stocks of live shrimp should hold through the weekend.

Again, the trick is to find clear, moving water near runouts and along points, or find birds that continue to work over shrimp and baitfish schools, especially in the Hopedale, Delacroix and Shell Beach areas.

Lake Pontchartrain trout are holding along the Causeway and the eastern bridges. Even in rough conditions, the bite is on, but most reports identify a slow morning bite, followed by strong activity sometime after 10 a.m. Most trout are running 15-20 inches long with a few five-pounders showing up on Hybrids (shrimp, chartreuse dipped tail), Gulp! Jerk Shad and Dudley’s Slammin’ Sammy. The best bites appear to come on the north end from the 4-mile to midlake.

Run north from Grand Isle to Bay Rambo for the best trout and redfish catches along the Central Coast. Fish are feeding on minnows.

Freshwater

Spinnerbaits in the Atchafalaya are the best bet. There’s some early morning action on buzzbaits, but chartreuse/white Humdingers and Egret spinners are best. With bluebird days dominating, soft plastics are best for midday action. Try swimbaits around grassbeds, or punch the edges of heavy grass lines with crawfish imitations (black/red flake, California 410 & redshad colors).

Some bass have been showing up in Belle River/Intracoastal Canal in the Stephensville area on shad-colored crankbaits.

Use the same tactics for marsh bass as for redfish and trout. Find moving water over points and in runouts and use small swimbaits and plastic worms.