St. Charles Herald-Guide

Take a break from woods by catching catfish, bass in Cataouatche

Bruce McDonald - January 20, 2013

Many hunters have been in the woods since October tracking down deer, rabbits, squirrels, doves and ducks. But those who want to take a break from the woods can find plenty of catfish and bass in Lake Cataouatche.

On a recent fishing trip with Tyler Hebert, Jake Noel and Hunter McDonald, we managed to catch several big catfish, some bass and a lonesome carp.

It was a cold 45 degrees, with a northeast wind blowing at 10 miles per hour on an overcast day. Every year at this time, big channel catfish enter canals in search of small bream to feed on. With the Davis Pond Diversion running between 1,200 to 1,500 cubic feet per second of Mississippi River water, many big blue channel catfish enter these canals to find a meal.

Entering Lake Cataouatche, we headed west along the northern shoreline towards the La. Cypress Canal. There are seven cuts in the marsh, which empties water from the Davis Pond Diversion into Lake Cataouatche. We chose the seventh cut to fish and our location was 50 yards below the rocks to anchor.

We rigged our rods Carolina style with ¾ ounce egg weights and Eagle Claw chrome No. 4 hooks to fish on the bottom. We baited our lines with earthworms and market shrimp. Setting out the lines down current and reeling in the slack allowed us to feel the bite and then set the hook.

Without any bites, we moved closer to the rock on the right side where the water was eddying. Within a few minutes Hebert hooked and landed a nice 5-pound blue channel catfish. Without catching any more, we moved into the La. Cypress Canal in search of clear water.

We were looking for bass and sac-a-lait.

We found clear water at the corner of the West Canal and La. Cypress Canal. Hunter and Noel managed to each catch a bass on blue/chartreuse mini-jigs under a cork. Hunter hooked a 5-pound carp on the dorsal fin with a ¼ ounce blue/chrome rattletrap. He thought he had hooked a large bass until Tyler netted the big carp.

"I thought this was going to be the biggest bass I ever caught and it turned out to be a big carp." Hunter said.

North winds have pushed a lot of water out of the canals and the water conditions made fishing very difficult. We didn’t catch sac-a-lait, but moving mid-way through the La. Cypress Canal, we found moving water near opposite cuts and dropped the anchor.

We set out the catfish rigged lines down current with earthworms and shrimp on the bottom. It wasn’t long before one of the rods bent over. On today’s trip, I had brought the light rods rigged with 10-pound Stren not expecting to catch any big fish. After a 10-minute battle and dancing around the boat, Noel netted an 11-pound big blue channel catfish. Everyone on the boat managed to catch a fish on a cold, overcast winter day.


Lake Cataouatche

The Limited Access Area, which includes the Tank Ponds and the Fields, will re-open to motorized boats on Feb. 1. This area has been closed to motorized boat traffic since September. Fishermen will soon have access to great fishing areas.

Luling’s Hunter McDonald with a nice bass.
Luling’s Hunter McDonald with a nice bass.