Bonnet Carre Spillway is one-stop-spot for outdoors fun
Stacey Delatte with crabs caught in the Bonet Carre Spillway.
The answer in the tri-parish area is the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which is located in the northwest section of St. Charles Parish. The spillway has 7,623 acres for recreational use and more than 400,000 visitors enjoy the spillway each year.
Park rangers are on site to assist and manage The Bonnet Carre Spillway and getting there is easy. From Boutte, cross the Hale Boggs Bridge and exit onto Airline Highway and drive west towards Norco. It's only a 15-mile ride from downtown Boutte.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway offers retriever training, remote control airplane runways, camping, boat launches, biking trails, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, picnic areas, and ATV riding. On any given weekend, hundreds of ATV enthusiasts have miles of trails to ride. Riding trails are set-up for the novice to the expert.
On a recent trip with my nephew, Cliff McDonald, we went out to The Bonnet Carre Spillway trying to catch a few fish and crabs.
We didn't bring the boat, so we were restricted to fishing the banks. Armed with two rods-n-reels and four drop nets, Cliff and I headed out from the project office.
Our first stop was at the ATV parking lot to check out the maps, which indicate the open and closed areas. There, we talked to Crecencio Garcia who had been riding his dirt bike.
"The course is very dry," he said. "I like riding in a lot of mud."
The second stop was the big boat launch across Airline Highway. Robert Lejeune was catching big crabs off the dock at the boat launch. He was using cut up turkey necks on a hand line.
His catch consisted of 14 big crabs.
Cliff and I made a few casts with the rattletrap without catching anything and decided to move on to Lake Pontchartrain. The 3-mile ride on top of the levee didn't take long to reach the peninsula at the Wetland Watchers Park.
We walked out to the peninsula and saw that the water in the lake was very low. The fishermen on the lake were not catching any crabs on hand lines.
Robert Coronna, of Norco, was fishing for redfish and flounders using market shrimp on the bottom. Two days before, he had caught three redfish and two flounders.
"Today the fishing has shut down," he said.
So Cliff and I decided to go back to the boat launch near Airline Highway. We baited our dropnets with catfish heads and put them out. Stacey Delatte, of Norco, had caught two crabs using chicken legs.
"If I can catch a dozen, I'm having a good crab boil tonight," she said excitedly.
Without catching any fish or crabs, Cliff and I decided to call it a day.
"Uncle Bruce, we spent a great afternoon,” Cliff told me. “Ya'll have a tremendous area in St. Charles Parish. The Bonnet Carre Spillway is more than I expected and I want to come back to ride the ATV area, fish and crab."
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