Louisiana Saltwater Fishing: February Recap / March Outlook
Posted Feb. 28, 2017
By Richard Fischer
LCBA Communications Manager
If you’re into catching Louisiana trout, there is no better time than right now to book a chartered fishing trip with one of our experienced, licensed and insured guides.
The mild and sometimes warm temperatures have frustrated many inexperienced trout-seeking anglers this winter.
The trout aren’t in the spots they normally occupy this time of year. Instead, many of them are acting like it’s spring-time already.
Fortunately, our captains specialize in finding the fish no matter what Mother Nature throws at them, and they’ve adjusted accordingly. Believe it or not, our captains are seeing diving-bird action this winter, and they’re finding quick trout limits when they change their tactics to a more spring-centered approach.
Although anglers have their own methods, and all of them can work depending on the conditions, heavier line and lighter jigheads appears to do the trick in catching trout right now. This drops the bait through the water column slowly, giving trout the best chance to nab it.
Despite the weird winter, anglers have praised the fishing in Lake DeCade as having plenty of keeper-sized trout. Experts expect the trout to migrate out some time in March, so time is of the essence here, but until then, there’s lots of great fishing to be had in this Central / Houma Basin jewel.
Over in the New Orleans East Basin, many captains have had success using Matrix Shad artificial lures. The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway brought lots of white shad in, and these lures mimic them.
Fortunately, the weather has not seemed to affect the redfish and black drum fishery throughout Louisiana. A quick glace on social media provides all the pictures of gigantic bull reds and black drum a fishermen could possibly dream of. Putting dead shrimp under a popping cork at the waterbottom is how many of our captains are boating these bad boys.
Over in the West / Lake Charles Basin, jetties have been killer for redfish action on the rare days that are too cold for trout bites. Just find the clear water, and the redfish will be-a-comin’!
In the New Orleans West and Central / Grand Isle Basins, among others, many of our captains have their eyes on current lines coming off the bays or cuts in the marsh moving water with the currents or winds. These current lines are known for collecting schools of bait fish, which, of course, means the redfish and trout aren't far behind.
As for a fishery that’s exploding due to the weather, many anglers are crushing the sac-a-lait right now. Dead-end canals have been the ticket, and with the weather not expected to cool off anytime soon, this should continue into March.
One final weather-related factor to keep an eye on: While we’ve had a much warmer than usual winter down here, the northern states are keeping more snow and ice than they usually do, which results in less freshwater from the Mississippi River. Higher salinity levels means more shrimp and more predators – great news for Louisiana’s speckled trout, redfish, bass and sac-a-lait fisheries in March and possibly beyond.
Many fishermen are rejoicing that the state red snapper season is in full swing, and many of our inshore guides can accommodate a brief ride off the coast (no more than nine miles) to quickly catch limits of red snapper. Due to the western Gulf’s vastly superior red snapper stock to our counterparts in the eastern Gulf, it won’t take more than minutes for everyone in your boat to catch their two-snapper limit.
As for our federally-permitted offshore fishermen, tuna season is on!
One captain out of Venice in our South / Mississippi River Basin recently brought home 14 yellowfin tuna in one day, all of which weighed more than 75 pounds. During three days of fishing, the captain’s group caught an astounding 33 yellowfin tuna. You just can’t catch tuna like this anywhere else along the Gulf Coast.
It takes hundreds and thousands of hours to master the techniques that can always produce fish, even during the warmest winter on record. Our captains have put in those hours, and booking a trip with one of them is a sure way to come home happy. Click here to find them by region.
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