Catching On at Lake Calcasieu
Bob McNally 07.22.15
Lake Calcasieu, Louisiana has always been a light-tackle saltwater fishing Mecca, located just inland from the Gulf of Mexico west of New Orleans and about 20 miles east of the Texas border. It’s 8 miles wide, 21 miles long, mainly shallow, somewhat off the beaten track, and it has some of the best, most reliable spotted seatrout, red drum, and flounder fishing in America.
But in 1997 Louisiana passed legislation severely restricting inshore gill netting. While inshore sportfish catches improved almost immediately, it has taken until now that the numbers and sizes of fish–especially spotted seatrout–caught from Calcasieu are nothing short of sensational.
In a normal day of casting jigs and plugs for trout, Calcasieu anglers commonly boat 20 to 50 seatrout averaging 2 to 3 pounds. Thousands of seatrout weighing over 5 pounds have been caught since the net ban, and more trout in the 8 to 10 pound range have been collected by Calcasieu regulars than anyone can remember.
Red drum fishing also has improved dramatically. Sizes of reds still are about the same, since large fish over 10 or 12 pounds “escape” to the open Gulf once they reach that sexually mature size. But the numbers of redfish in the 5 to 10 pound class has exploded in Calcasieu.
While fishing can be done on Calcasieu year-round, prime action is found from April through October. In good conditions, it’s not unusual for Calcasieu anglers in 17-foot skiffs, using electric motors, jigs, and light spinning tackle, to catch 100 fish in a day. The Louisiana limit on seatrout is 25 fish per person, per day. The limit on redfish is five.
The Hackberry Rod and Gun Club offers excellent guided, fishing, on-the-water motel-type lodging, and abundant and superb food. For more information and reservations, contact them at Hackberry Rod & Gun Club, 485 Lake Breeze Rd., Hackberry, La. 70645, phone 318-762-3391.