Saltwater or freshwater? That is the question

By Bruce McDonald

April 22, 2010 at 10:37 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Bruce McDonald holds up a catfish caught in Lake Cataouatche. It was one of 18 caught during the morning.
Bruce McDonald holds up a catfish caught in Lake Cataouatche. It was one of 18 caught during the morning.
At this time of the year, many fishermen are asking themselves whether they should fish saltwater or freshwater.

Depending on the weather, most speckle trout fishermen are starting to get out and try saltwater. 


Last week, I took a ride down to Grand Isle to look at the beach and check out the condition of Bridgeside Marina. 


Gretchen and her father-in-law, Carl Toups, made the 90-mile ride to keep me company. Arriving at Grand Isle around noon, we visited Bridgeside Marina to find Buggie Vegas and his employees cleaning the live bait tanks. 


He informed me a 6 pound, 7 ounce speckle trout had been caught over the reef on plastic baits. Buggie expects big schools of large trout to show-up in the last week in April. He was starting to catch live bait, including shrimp, cocahoe, and crabs for fishermen wanting to purchase live bait. 


"Caminada Pass still has a lot of bullreds and black drums,” he said. “Fish them with a Carolina rig with a 1-ounce weight using cut mullet and crack crab. Many people think speckle trout is the only fish to catch and forget about redfish and black.”

 

Freshwater fishing


Andrew Callais and myself made a freshwater trip to Lake Cataouatche last week.  


A strong east and southeast wind made the entire lake look like a chocolate milk drink. We decided to abandon trying to catch sac-a-laits and bass for some blue channel catfish.


I had to check the Davis Pond Diversion flow and it was running around 2,500 cubic feet per second, which is a good flow.


We launched the Kenner VX around 8 a.m. and headed out of the Sellers Canal, also known as Bayou Verret on the map. 
The lake was to muddy with a 10 to 15 mile per hour east to southeast wind.  Along the northern side of Lake Cataouatche, there are seven cuts allowing water from the Davis Pond Diversion. 


All seven cuts have 10 to 15 feet holes on the lakeside of the cuts. Anchor parallel to the deep hole and throw a Carolina rig #4 hook with at least a ˝ ounce weight, baited with earthworms, shrimp, chicken liver, or a small piece of the cheapest red hotdog into the deep holes.


Keep a tight line if you expect to catch catfish.


Some catfish can weigh up to 20 pounds, but most are running between 1 to 2 pounds.


We managed to catch 18 during the morning.


One of the most interesting catches was a gaspergou. 


This fish is the first cousin to the saltwater black drum except it lives in fast moving freshwater, like the Mississippi River. 


Because of the Mississippi River flowing through the Davis Pond Diversion, gaspergous and freshwater drum will gang-up in running  water and deep holes with catfish. 


It has a silver look without any markings. 


We caught several but threw them all back. 

The Louisiana Fishing Regulations creel limit is 25 per day with a 12-inch minimum length.  The gaspergous can be caught the same way as catfish.  They fillet very well and taste good fried. 




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