If it wasn’t so hot, the discussion would’ve been made much better around a campfire.
The topic was speckled trout, about how best to go after the most popular coastal fish Louisiana offers its fishermen, and about how the state’s eastern-most and western-most waters have outpaced the Central Coast action in recent weeks.
The consensus was that Breton Sound, Lake Borgne, Battledore Reef and the adjacent waters consistently gave up limits of trout running up to three pounds. Sure, there was the occasional giants, the ones we’re seeing at the top of the S.T.A.R. leaderboard — Dr. Bob Weiss’ 8-pounder leads the East Division — from Lake Pontchartrain, but most folks are happy with 25-trout limits of the “eaters.”
And all agreed that out west, where target waters are in Calcasieu Lake (“Big Lake” to most folks) is producing, too, and where Troy Thibodeaux’s 8.16- pounder leads the S.T.A.R.’s West Division. Big trout hang out in Big Lake, which is one of the reasons there’s a 15-a-day limit and a two-per-day take of trout measuring longer than 25 inches in that daily catch. Finding smaller Big Lake trout is to chase diving laughing gulls all day. The gulls point the way to school trout across the expanse of the state’s largest western estuary.
Much smaller trout rule the roost in the Southeast and Southwest divisions, and for the past three weeks, have been harder to corral.
Deeper water in eastern and western waters was mentioned. All heads nodded agreement that the 14-foot waters in Lake Pontchartrain and around the more productive Breton Sound oil and gas platforms were holding more trout than the shallow-water shell beds, reefs, sandbars and beaches along and around Grand Isle, Elmer’s Island, The Fourchon and the Timbalier area.
In the west, the depth of the Calcasieu Ship Channel is the secret. Trout move in and out from the channel throughout the day. The depth apparently is holding more shrimp and mullet than the broad, flat bays along the lake’s edge, and it’s those food sources, and cooler waters temperatures that are holding the larger trout.
The latest Big Lake report is that trout up to five pounds are moving to the shallows in the early morning and are taking topwater plugs along the lake’s western boundary. After the sun gets up, folks are moving back to areas around the channel and using live shrimp under a cork to take specks.
Finally, a winner
Bruce Honore’s family has a camp at Hackberry for generations, which explains why he’s more than willing to make the hours-long trip from Pearland, Texas, for weekend trips. Usually, it’s a trip with a friend, and that’s what send him out Saturday into the Intracoastal Waterway near the Calcasieu Ship Channel south of Lake Charles.
Honore, 22, caught a specially tagged redfish from the area and became the big winner in the summer-long S.T.A.R. He will receive the keys to a 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup. The tournament runs through Labor Day.