Fishing excellent in Atchafalaya Spillway

Louisiana’s hottest fishing hole is the Atchafalaya Spillway.

A secret for the first days after the Atchafalaya River started its rapid fall from nearly six months of on-again and off-again flood-stage levels, the vast basin is giving up daily limits of bass and sac-a-lait.

That good news should help offset the summer doldrums setting in along the coast on speckled trout. Catch rates usually fall in August, and while you can expect to find and catch trout, don’t expect limits.

Redfish will provide most of the coastal catches, and while there’s some rock-n-roll conditions ahead for the offshore folks, there’s plenty of action on billfish, bull dolphin, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, amberjack, grouper and mangrove snapper to make deepwater trips worth the expense.

Weather

A tropical wave is predicted to move through the central Gulf on Friday through early Sunday. We can expect southeast winds to jump from 5-10 knots to 10-15 knots with 1-3 foot seas along the coast and 3-4 footers offshore through Saturday, then calming Sunday.

The heat wave will continue with afternoon hitting the mid 90s in the Capital City area and into the low 90s along the coast.

The major rivers are falling and should be down to summer lows by Monday.

Freshwater

Spillway bass action is so good, you should be able to catch largemouths and spotted bass on your favorite baits, although color might make a difference.

Everything from frogs, buzzbaits and topwaters early in the morning to spinnerbaits and crankbaits and soft plastics are working.

One note: Bass caught this week were full of 2-3 inch shad and red crawfish, so black and other dark-colored soft plastics did not work as well as watermelon/red glitter or pumpkinseed-colored baits. And use a crawfish-colored crankbait.

Bass moved from the backs of dead-end canals to the points near bayous (cooler, moving water) and are eating shad and crawfish moving to deeper water, too.

First-rate sac-a-lait catches are there: They’ve moved to the bayous, too. The only difference is that this species is hanging in deeper water than most of the bass.

Another note: There’s lots of black, void-of-oxygen water moving through the spillway. It’s best to find areas of mixing water (black water meeting muddy water) or to find green water for the most action.

Along those lines, the best reports are coming from the Pigeon-to-Grand Lake areas and waterways out to the Atchafalaya River. Catches are not as good in the Spillway’s southern areas in the Flat Lake area.

The coast

Live shrimp and cocahoe minnows continue to be the best for speckled trout and redfish, but nobody is able to predict shrimp days nor minnow days. Action in the Timbalier area is spotty. Trout action is better east of Grand Isle and out into Lake Borgne and the platforms in the Breton area.