Let’s face it; this summer has been a bust for Lake Pontchartrain fisherman. A cold spring followed by high river levels in the Pearl and adjacent rivers has put the kibosh on what is normally known as a great time to catch speckled trout. It just goes to show how things can change from year to year. It was just last year that I can recall a certain trip where I “only” caught 12 trout in the mouth of the Tchefuncte River. A double digit trout trip these days would be considered a successful trip and have me heading back out as soon as I saved up another sick leave day. Things are changing for the better however. Salinity levels are ticking up and anglers are starting to see a more active scene on the water’s surface. Baitfish running and shrimp popping are some really good signs that we are in store for a great fall speckled trout run this year. Jeff Cook of Covington is an avid Lake Pontchartrain speckled trout angler and he has been noticing a change lately. “I am seeing more bait around as the month progresses. Mullet are everywhere as well as small schools of glass minnows. Small crabs are all over the place. I’ve even had a shrimp jump into my kayak. I finally started catching ladyfish west of the Causeway this weekend and last. They supposedly only like salt in their drink so maybe good times are near!” Jeff said.
One thing that has been consistent this summer is the redfish bite. Anglers are routinely limiting out on redfish along the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Duck-ponds, small cuts, and sandy shorelines are proving to hold high numbers of reds and should be targeted. Below are some hotspots that could help you on your next trip.
Treasure Island Shoreline
The shoreline that runs in between the Hwy 90 Bridge and Treasure Island subdivision is producing good numbers of redfish and is a perfect stretch of water to escape the west winds we have been having lately. Sight fishing has been the preferred way to catch redfish here. Anglers are wedging the nose of their boats into the marsh and fishing away from the bank. Look for redfish cruising the shoreline approximately 20 yards out. Throw Matrix Shad Ultraviolet on a 1/4 oz. jig head. Gold spoons have also been a favorite as of late. This is a great afternoon fishing spot when the west winds are howling due to the fact that the clean water attracts the fish as the day progresses.
Located two miles west of Bayou Lacombe, Goose Point offers anglers a hard sandy bottom which often equates to cleaner water. Redfish cruise this stretch routinely in search of small crabs, mullet, and cocahoe minnows. Fish the edge of the sandbar where the water drops from 4-6 feet to 12-14 feet. Anglers are finding success with live mullet, cracked crab, and live shrimp under a popping cork.
On a high tide, there’s nothing better than easing into a duck pond and sight fishing for reds. Bayou Bonfouca is peppered with small cuts and ditches that lead into shallow duck ponds that provide anglers solitude away from the crowds. Look for grass growing in these ponds. With the grass comes cleaner water and a sanctuary for smaller bait fish and crabs. Redfish scour these grass beds in search of food and you’ll be able to spot them “tailing.” In these shallow ponds it’s important to fish with lighter lures. Toss the jig heads to the side and rig your lures weightless. Throw Matrix Shad in the Shrimp Creole color on a bare hook accompanied by a gold clip-on spinner and hang on!
Matt Strunc won first place in the 2013 Madisonville Garfish Rodeo. Matt brought in a monster garfish weighing in at 121 lbs. Eric Dumas came in second with a fish that weighed 109 lbs. Darren Welch finished close behind with a 108 lb. fish.
Ricky Benitez won first place in the Bass Assassins tournament on Bayou Liberty. Ricky turned in a bag weighing 8 lbs., 8 oz. He also tied for big fish with a bass weighing 3 lbs., 6 oz. Lee Hillman also brought in a fish weighing 3 lbs., 6 oz.
Bass Assassinss will be holding their next tournament on August 18. The tournament will take place on Lock One. For more information please call Chris Basey at 985-707-7857.
The Wednesday Evening Bass Club is holding bass tournaments every Wednesday evening on the Tchefuncte River. For more information call Tommy at 985-807-6249.
Liars and Lunkers is holding their bass tournaments every Thursday on Lock One. Call 985-502-3217 for more information.
Monday Afternoon Bass Tournaments are being held on Bayou Liberty. 5 p.m. until dark. For more information call Lee at 985-774-3121.
(Keith Lusher Jr. writes a weekly column. For more info, visit NorthshoreFishingReport.com. Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.)