Cold weather means good fishing, that is… When it’s actually cold

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Warm weather has changed fishing patterns locally.

Locals hope the new year brings a new weather pattern to the Houma-Thibodaux area, as an unexpected warm spat in the past 2-3 weeks has made for inconsistent fishing.

The fishing report isn’t as promising locally as it’d been in recent weeks as a shift in the jet stream has prevented cold fronts from sweeping through the area, thus keeping temperatures warm — in the 60s and 70s throughout the start of 2019.

When the weather gets warm, fish scatter and swim freely. When it’s cold, they clump together in holes in Louisiana marshes, which allows savvy anglers to catch their limit sometimes in just a few minutes.

A moderate front swept through the weekend over the weekend and dropped temperatures, which put a smile on the face of anglers hungry to snatch up trout and reds.

But this week calls for cloudy skies and high temperatures again in the 60s and 70s which could slow down activity on the water.

“For us at this time of the year, it’s best when it’s cold,” Houma native Ross Theriot said. “The fish are there and you can still catch them from time-to-time, but they just are scattered. If it’s cold and you know what you’re doing, you can find them and catch or get bites almost every cast. Right now, it’s more of a needle in a haystack, which is frustrating, because they said over the summer that this had a chance to be a really cold winter and it’s just never happened.”

In lower Lafourche Parish, anglers are having success with redfish and trout early in the morning and before and after cold fronts. Anglers say that redfish are far more plentiful than speckled trout right now — the warm weather being a culprit behind that.

A lot of the reported luck came in holes in the marshes for boaters. Those with just a rod and a little spare time have filled up ice chests off La. Highway 1 in the marshy brackish water between Leeville and Fourchon and between Fourchon and Grand Isle.

“It’s best to go very early in the morning,” Golden Meadow native Ross Picou said. “When it’s really cold, it doesn’t matter as much, but right now, it’s a pattern where it’s chilly in the morning and warm during the day. If you beat the sun, you can still find them schooled together in the holes and slips. Later in the day when the shadows are shorter, you have less of a chance.”

Picou said minnows are his preferred bait right now. 

In southern Terrebonne, the warm weather has been more of a nuisance. Theriot said the past few weeks have been a “perfect storm,” adding that warm weather is a nuisance. But recent rains also have made fishing an inconvenience and have muddied waters. 

“It’s just not been great lately,” Theriot said. “Muddy water, low water levels. It’s not been pleasant. But it’s still a ripe time of the year. We just need for a stretch of that consistent cold and it can come back in the blink of an eye — just like it was for a lot of November and December.”

In Lafourche, bayou fishing has stalled out a little. In recent weeks, locals were catching bass and catfish, but reports are that activity has slowed to perch and sac-au-lait. 

Grand Isle native Jake Besson said his nephew had taken to the bayous throughout autumn for perch and catfish fishing, but added that those trips have become fewer and far between because of a lack of catch. 

“It’s a slow time in the bayou right now,” Besson said. “In the spring, we will see it come back.”

In Bayou Black, the weather has also halted fishing with low water levels and muddy water causing havoc on those wishing to catch bass and other freshwater fish.

But all hope is not lost.

Louisiana winters often strike throughout January and into February which means that there can easily be another 8-10 fronts before spring warms us up for good.

The key for anglers is just to make sure they’re ready to take advantage of all of them when they hit.

“It’s a simple recipe right now — attack right before and right after the front,” Theriot said. “If you can get the timing right, you can get your limits pretty quickly. The challenge is just to make yourself available when the weather is ready to hand you a good day. And right now, there just haven’t been as many of those good days as we’d all want.”


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