<![CDATA[Fishing reports from Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Bonfouca, Tchefuncte River, Bayou Liberty, Rigolets, Pearl River, Bedico Creek, and more! - Northshore Fishing Report]]>Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:30:04 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Eden Isles Perch Jerkin']]>Wed, 21 Mar 2018 01:08:37 GMThttp://northshorefishingreport.com/northshore-fishing-report/eden-isles-perch-jerkin PictureKeith Lusher
Springtime fronts passing through are an obvious sign that spring is here. Roger Sissac and his friend Trentis White have been perch fishing in the Eden Isles Canals in Slidell and having good results. But on their latest trip, mother nature challenged them. They made their way to the first canal with 100 crickets. “Things started out very slow so we moved, and we moved, and moved some more,” Roger jokes. The team was struggling to find fish when all of a sudden the skies opened up! 

PictureRoger Sissac and Trentis White
“We looked like two drowned rats out there. The atomatic bilge pub came on and didn’t stop until the storm passed,” Sissac says. When the rain stopped Roger decided to try another canal because he didn’t want to go home empty handed. “Finally!  We started catching! It was slow but we stayed in the same spot until we has 35 bluegill,” Roger says. The team was fishing with crickets rigged 2’ under a small cork. Roger adds, “We don't need another trip like this!  We decided next time we're going to watch the weather closely before leaving.”

Muddy Lake Pontchartrain
With the opening of nearly half the bays on the Bonnet Carre Spillway, Lake Pontchartrain is slowly being filled with cold, muddy water from the bloated Mississippi River. Anglers are still finding clean saltier water on the northern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain from the Causeway Bridge east. Anglers can monitor the water clarity and the progression of the muddy water at a website provided by NASA. The SSEC MODIS Today resource provides satellite imagery taken from space. The map below taken from the MODIS map shows the effects of the spillway opening in Lake Pontchartrain. 

This satellite image courtesy of the SSEC MODIS website shows the southern portion of the lake with muddy water.

​Private Waters

The private waters issue that sportsmen are dealing with in Louisiana is unarguable the biggest threat to recreational anglers that we’ve seen in decades. What started in West Louisiana, has slowly creeped east. Cuts and canals that line the ICW  being deemed as private is an obvious sign that the problem is growing.  Bob’s Bayou Black Marina in Gipson is scheduled to close it’s doors next March because of the 300-yard stretch of waterway that leads to the Shell Barge Canal and the Intercostal is scheduled to be blocked off to the public according to Ben Weber and Daryl Carpenter of the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Coalition. The LaSC is spearheading efforts to garner support for HB 391 on March 12 by Rep. Kevin Pearson, a Republican who represents District 76 in St. Tammany Parish.  The bill would guarantee public access to certain tidally-influenced waters. LaSC representatives say they are working through the proper channels and requesting that some adjustments be made to the bill but even in its current form, HB 391 is a massive step in the right direction for the thousands of anglers and tourists who recreate on the waters. For more information on the legislation, or for information on how to contact your legislator, go to www.joinlacs.com.
<![CDATA[Causeway Rebirth?]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 01:45:36 GMThttp://northshorefishingreport.com/northshore-fishing-report/causeway-rebirthPictureKeith Lusher
Lake Pontchartrain may be the toughest body of water to figure out when it comes to speckled trout fishing. The reason for this comes down to the fact that it isn’t actually a lake, but an estuary. The dictionary defines an estuary as: “A partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open water. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments.” The word “transition” is the sole reason for the inconsistent patterning of speckled trout for those who fish the lake, more specifically the Causeway Bridge. The 24-mile structure that links the South Shore to the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain has been known for producing trout in the spring and fall seasons, however the bridge has been a non-factor for over a year. Captain Andy Jones of Wicked Charters has been fishing the bridge regularly and jokes “I unfortunately could fuel an aircraft carrier with the fuel used in attempts to locate Causeway Trout. I have been reminded of this often by my lovely wife who also reminds me of the definition of insanity frequently.” 

PictureAndy Jones had to take a few seconds to stop and stare at his first trout caught off the Causeway in quite some time
But Jones also says that there may be hope for the Causeway to once again be a popular trout destination for anglers. Jones and his wife Alana, made a trip recently to the bridge but admittedly thought it may be more of a joy ride than a fishing trip. “Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of fish. All of us that fish the bridge know it’s been less than desirable over the last year and a half for trout,” Andy says. They started there “boat ride” at the first call box on the west side of the bridge and trolled south. The conditions were perfect for trolling with winds out of the southeast and a light chop on the water. Andy had thoughts of trolling the entire bridge. “As I stared down the bridge contemplating how mad she would be if I trolled the whole thing, she suddenly screamed - Fish on! Fish on!” Jones says. The shocked fisherman scrabbled for the rod and began to reel in the fish. After a short fight he boated a 20” speckled trout. “After I recovered from my heart palpitations all I could do was stare at the fish and admire the familiar thickness and girth that these fish are known for. 

PictureAlana Jones is all smiles after NOT having to troll the entire bridge
The wife snapped me out of it by asking ‘Are you going to put that back in the water or just look at that fish’?  So I threw the green and silver Mirr-O-Lure back into the water and we continued to drag,” Andy says. The couple caught 2 more trout and missed another one before the winds picked up and forced them back to the launch and while the trip wouldn’t be considered a successful one for most speckled trout anglers, it’s definitely a great sign of things to come for those who fish the bridge regularly and appreciate the size of these fish. Captain Andy adds “Although they’re spread out, it looks like the trout could be making a push west. But overall this is a very good sign for us on the Northshore!”

Bayou Bonfouca Marsh Restoration 
There is good news for those who fish the south end of Bayou Bonfouca in Slidell. The $28 million project to restore the lakes shoreline rim at the mouth of Bayou Bonfouca has come to an end. The shoreline was breached when Hurricane Katrina hit, subsequently, the freshwater interior marsh began eroding at a rapid pace. The project that started in the summer has hampered anglers who have been dealing with muddy water from the dredging and constant airboat traffic. 
Crews work to refill sediment lost along the shoreline of Bayou Bonfouca at the mouth of the waterway.
George Nunez made a trip to Bayou Bonfouca to inspect the area and to try for a few bass. He was greeted by less than favorable water conditions when he launched at Bayou Liberty Marina. “The water at launch was so-so at best, and when I arrived at  my go-to spot the water was down right nasty,” he says. He started throwing a Baby Brush Hog but all he could manage was a 2.5 lb. catfish. He decided to fish a different area. “I changed spots to an area in main bayou that is usually too grassed up to bother with, but the big freezes trimmed it down to nothing,” he says. George made a passes and had a few hits on the Baby Brush hog. “I knew something was there so I made another pass with a black and chartreuse triple tail jig on a gold spinner and that was apparently the menu for the day! I picked up 2-3 bass on every pass. Some right up against shore and others over what was left of grass bed,” Nunez says. As the wind picked up during the day George struggled with keeping the his boat away from the shore but with 9 bass in the box, he was too close to catching a limit of bass to quit. “I figured I had enough battery for one more pass and pick up #10,” George laughs. “I lost the first #10 when one in upper range of size jumped and spit hook. About 30 ft. down the shoreline the second #10 hit. I got him alongside the boat and he came off,” George says. By that time the trolling motor was slowing down and George was spending too much time off struggling against the wind so he decided to call it a day with 9 bass and 1 catfish. “It was nice to be out there without the constant flow of workboats,” George adds.

<![CDATA[Maximizing Electronics in Cold Weather]]>Tue, 30 Jan 2018 02:38:00 GMThttp://northshorefishingreport.com/northshore-fishing-report/maximizing-electronics-in-cold-weatherPictureKeith Lusher
The cold temperatures that swept the North Shore has taken a toll on anglers psyches. Add to it the masses of fishermen that dawn camouflage outfits and take to dry land for there sport, and you get an invitation to fishing in solitude. Chris Basey has been fishing the rivers and bayous on the North Shore all his life and says, “I like the laid back pace of this time of year. I can take my time and cover long stretches of water without worrying about anyone getting in my way.” Along with the lack of fishing pressure that is associated with fishing during this time of year comes the fact that there are less fish being taken from the local tributaries. Basey says this is the perfect time of the year to get out there and not only catch good numbers of fish, but  also to learn how to target fish with your electronics. “With colder temperatures the thermocline that forms in the summer disappears forcing the bass to stay deeper than they do when the weather is warm,” the bass angler out of Mandeville says.

Basey points out bass along the bottom at one of his favorite spots on the Tchefuncte River
​The thermocline is the transition layer between the mixed layer at the surface and the deep water layer on the bottom. Basey says when targeting bass in colder temperatures, it’s all about scanning the river bottoms with your depth finder. “After a large drop in water temperature like we recently seen you will find the majority of the bass on the bottom. It’s tough to see them sometimes because they blend in with the bottom. I suggest setting your sonar to 200 kHz or 'high chirp’ if you have a chirp sonar. This will give you a smaller cone and add more detail so you will be able to separate the fish from the bottom,” says Basey. 

Of all the months in calendar, January is one of the most important months to utilize our depth finders. Basey says that when he thinks of wintertime fishing, there is one trip that comes to mind that spurs him on and forces him to fish even though the air temperatures make him want to turn on the television and throw another log on the fire. “I was fishing a Bass Assassins Tournament at Lock One. I was fishing an area that had a deep hole. It was about twice the size of my boat and 18’ deep. The bottom 2’ of my graph was solid fish so I dug in the rod box and pulled my drop-shot rig. I dropped it down and watched it bounce up and down on my screen. I saw a line come out of the pack of fish and I got ready for the strike. I felt a bump, set the hook and landed a large sac-a-lait over 1 lb.” Chris says. Basey caught one after another as he watched each one come out of the pack and strike his worm. “It was so much fun watching those fish on the depth finder! It felt like a video game!” he says. 
Basey caught these fish mid-winter with air temperatures in the 30's

​Trips like this one are not rare for this time of year. Basey says your depth finder is your best friend in cold water. For starters he says it’s important to pick specific areas of the bayou that these fish congregate. “I look for areas of water that have deep water access nearby. Also underwater objects such as stumps, trees, or rocks that fish can hold tight to,” Basey says.
And finally, when you do find the fish Chris says to “record your catch and assign it to the waypoint where you caught the fish. Bass will tend to follow the same migration routes every year. you may be able find them in the same place next year.”

<![CDATA[Casting and Blasting!]]>Sat, 13 Jan 2018 01:46:29 GMThttp://northshorefishingreport.com/northshore-fishing-report/casting-and-blastingPictureKeith Lusher
Most of us in South Louisiana are familiar with the term “Cast and Blast.” It’s a title given to describe a hunting trip in which fishing is also involved. Luke O’Neal of Mandeville and his friends, Devin Ricks and Cole Morerre, made a hunting trip recently where he had to remind himself of the old wise saying “from pain will come pleasure.” Their day started at 3:00 a.m. It was a cold, raw morning that offered no encouragement as they prepared for the trip. “The alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning and we loaded the truck in the cold drizzle,” O’Neal says. After they prepared the truck they headed down Chef Highway from Slidell into Chalmette where they transferred the hunting equipment into the boat. “We stepped out at the launch and reluctantly loaded the flat boat with all our gear and headed out in the dark mist,” He says. They arrived at their duck blind with 15 minutes to spare before legal shooting time. After setting up in the blind and getting situated the ducks started flying in and suddenly the air didn’t seem as cold and wet as it did just a few minutes ago. “The birds started coming in immediately! I missed a lightening teal right off the bat. After getting that bad shot out of the way, I knocked down the next bird that landed in the decoys,” he says. The whole morning was non-stop action and the friends constantly watched ducks fly overhead. “There were birds flying steady all morning until 9:00 a.m. We ended up knocking down 18, but lost a few after taking our eyes off them for a few seconds while we paddled to retrieve them.  We also had a couple of them burry themselves in the marsh before we could get to them,” Luke says. The team decided to call it quits and ended the morning a few teal short of a 3-man limit. 

PictureLuke O'Neal, Devin Ricks, Cole Morrere

They drove back to the truck and removed their hunting equipment from the boat as they contemplated heading back out to do a little fishing. “We were back at the truck by 10:00 a.m. and soaked up the heater inside while is rained for about 30 minutes. The truck thermometer temperature was holding at a whopping 40 degrees with a stiff North wind,” Luke says. When the rain slacked off they headed dow the ICW to what locals refer to as the “Great Wall of Chalmette.” The cold dreary day had it’s affect on the number of boats at the popular fishing structure. "We didn’t see another boat for at least an hour. Thats the fewest amount of boats I’ve seen in that area in a long time,” he says. The friends poked around and finally hit the mother load. It was a deep drop-off next to a shallow flat. The water temperate ranged from 50 degrees to 55 degrees. Luke says they were tight-lining Matrix Shad and the bite was not subtle. “These fish were hungry! We caught them very steady until we had a limit of 75 in the ice chest,” O’Neal says. They headed back the launch and were driving home by 3:00 p.m. There trip was the epitome of a successful blast and cast. One that Luke and most sportsman dream about. It’s this kind of day that memories are made of and Luke adds “Today was a day I'll never forget.”

<![CDATA[Great Wall of Chalmette]]>Wed, 03 Jan 2018 03:14:01 GMThttp://northshorefishingreport.com/northshore-fishing-report/great-wall-of-chalmette1460785PictureKeith Lusher
Robert Perilloux has been fishing Lake Borgne and the surrounding marshes for quite some time but has never fished the iconic trout fishing destination known simply as “The Wall.” On his latest fishing trip he decided to venture down the ICW to fish the structure that is on most trout anglers top-5 list of places to catch specks in December. He started his day at 6:00 a.m. with 25 live shrimp and when he arrived at the wall, he quickly learned how important it is to arrive early. “There were a lot of boats lined up on the wall and down the rocks.  I found a spot between a couple of boats and decided to try my luck there,” the Mandeville angler says. Robert started with a live shrimp on a drop-shot rig and on his first cast caught a 13” speckled trout.  The action slowed afterwards so he then decided to switch over to a 1/4 oz. jig-head with live shrimp. Robert says that was the ticket! “They wanted the bait on the bottom and moving slowly. The bite was very soft. Not much more than a light pressure as if it was caught on something. When I felt that I just eased back on the rod and set the hook,” Perilloux says. For the next 25 minutes Robert caught 7 more trout before he ran out of shrimp. “It was almost time for me to head back so I decided to try a hard bait but the only one I could find on the boat was a chrome Rat-L-Trap.  I caught two more on the Rat-L-Trap and lost a third before I had to head back,” he says. Robert ended the day with 10 trout but more importantly, a much needed speckled trout fishing destination to add to his wintertime list. 

PictureRoss Harmon with his deep water bull red
Biloxi Marsh Big Fish
Ross Harmon made a trip across Lake borgne to the Biloxi Marsh to try and catch some big sheepshead and redfish. He wanted to put his friend, who just moved back to Louisiana, on some big fish. The friends were using live shrimp on a Carolina rigs and found plenty of action. “We found them in water in the 12’- 20' depths associated with sharp corners, intersections, and drains,” Harmon says. They were using 17 lb. leaders but Ross says it wasn’t enough as the some of the fish were breaking their lines. “ We definitely needed some heavier leader line because we broke off almost as much as we caught. They were some real freight trains!” Ross says. The big fish even tested the hooks themselves.   "Twice the sheepshead bit the 1/0 hooks flat, pinching the point to the shank,” he says. Ross warns others about the low water that has recently plagued the area. “If you take the Baker's Canal Route to the South side of the Rocks, beware in half moon bay.  It's really low. I have a little aluminum boat and skipped over it like a stone, but one wrong turn had me mudding,” Ross says.

PictureJohn Zeringue caught this rainbow trout by the Burbank Sport Complex in Baton Rouge
Rainbow Trout 
The North Shore is a popular destination for Baton Rouge fly fisherman John Zeringue. John fishes Bayou Lacombe and Bayou Cane almost exclusively but in December he has made it  a tradition to fish the ponds in Baton Rouge that BREC operates. The day before work he put his fly rod and backpack in his work truck so he could stop and try his luck on the way home. “I finished up my work right before lunch so I decided to stop at the pond by the Burbank Sports Complex. It took a few minutes, a few different spots, and a few fly choices, but I eventually I found the trout,” John says. Zeringue was using a Beadhead Hares Ear Nymph under an indicator. “In about an hour and a half from the time I parked, to the time I left, I caught 8 trout and lost 3 more at the bank,” John says. This is the 11th year that BREC and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have brought in the rainbow trout and stocked the local ponds. The fish can survive water temperatures under 75 degrees so BREC urges anglers to take advantage of the opportunity to catch the trout before spring arrives.