- Water Temp: 74°
- Water Level: High
- Tide: Predicted to fall until 1pm
- Wind: 5-12kts, E to SE
- Wild Card: Way high water due to the rain and E winds of previous days. Tide predictions indicated falling tide until around 1pm, then rising tide, but in reality, water levels fell the whole day, about 1.63 feet from the time we started fishing till we stopped.
Wednesday: After having a couple of weeks of annoying calendar conflicts and weather related groundings, I was pretty happy to get back out on the kayak this week. To be honest, I was in the mood for more of a change of pace, but there was so much doubt in my mind about the water conditions, that I decided to head back to the area that has been fairly consistent for me; the marsh around Breton Sound Marina and the rock dam at the MRGO channel. Just a couple of days before, we had a huge amount of rain combined with steady E winds, and I knew the water levels were extremely high, even covering the road in parts of the Hopedale and Delacroix areas. I wasn't sure how that would affect sight-fishing conditions, so I opted to look for trout on a falling tide. I knew the water flow would probably be extra strong because there was so much water stacked up, the tide was predicted to fall AND the wind had shifted to the W. There was indeed a great deal of current, and the trout were predictably turned on. Josh Reppel and I launched right at daybreak, and fished for a few hours, all practically within sight of the marina. The trout hit on a few things, but live bait on the bottom was the winner. We got a lot of blowups on topwater, but few hookups; it seemed like most of the smaller fish were higher in the water column. The best fish I caught went just under 20". We stopped back by the marina for a beer and a few more minnows, and hit the dam, which was surprisingly slow action. Unfortunately, my new anchor system including a dive reel (to wind up the line) and folding anchor somehow came lose from it's float (I suspect the carabiner). I guess everyone has to donate an anchor to the dam at some point. Our plan had been to hit Lena Lagoon if the dam was slow, but we had wasted a bit too much time in the marsh in the morning, and the wind had picked up quite a bit. I had quite a few trout and 2 redfish in the cooler, and the paddle straight into the wind to Lena Lagoon did not seem appealing. Eventually what seemed like a school of bull reds made an appearance, and we each caught a few. I think I caught 4, and one went home with me only because it was hooked extremely badly and I didn't think it would live if I put it back in the water. All of them seemed to be right in the 27-30" range. A small irritation at the dam was a boat that kept pulling in reds and giving them away to the other boats around instead of putting them back in the water. Eventually we got tired of fishing the bottom (you know it's Louisiana when you're bored catching 30" redfish), and we made a slow and painful paddle into the wind and current and back towards the launch. Fish madness set in, and instead of going home like normal, sane people, we hit the marsh again in search of that one trophy trout Josh is looking for to win him the Massey's fish pic tournament, and my first trout limit (fish fry coming up). The trout were still there, and still eating, and we foolishly fished until sunset and the mosquitos arrived. I had forgotten to keep count of my fish, so I stopped keeping them, but I ended up with 23 specks, 3 white trout that I kept because they swallowed the hook, 3 reds, and a flounder. I also caught a few other undersized reds, an undersize flounder, and a southern kingfish (also known as channel mullet). All in all, a great day, and I think that will be the cap of a small run of fishing at the dam. Time to hit Hopedale Lagoon, the lake, and some other new spots.
Thursday: I had almost forgotten that I had committed to going on a scouting trip with a friend with a brand new skiff who is learning the marsh in St. Bernard. We did more exploring than actual fishing, but that was the idea. We did manage to land a few reds on the fly, which is always a challenge, and I got a chance to pole the boat around a bit (also a challenge, particularly as the wind picked up). The water was disappointingly dirty, and amazingly low, considering how high it had been inside the marsh just a few days earlier. My best theory is that the massive flush of water out of the marsh after the high water and rain is what is making the water dirty. We actually found a couple of ponds with great numbers of fish but couldn't pole even the shallow drafting skiff close enough to reach them with the fly rods. I was dearly wishing for my kayak. Saw tons of porpoises, and it was really cool to see the outer islands of the marsh. I can't help but think that a mothership setup would be amazing out there - even an aluminum flat boat could reach most of the areas we fished, and could easily be modified to carry a couple of kayaks. I like the concept of the poling skiff, but it is painfully slow moving at times, and the kayak can fish so much quicker and more efficiently in windy conditions. It pained me to look at those huge fish and know I could be tearing them up if I had the yak with me. The boat is super slick though, and that viewpoint from the poling platform sure is something you don't get in a kayak. All in all a successful day with plenty of chances to learn and progress in understanding the marsh and fly fishing in general.