As the dog days of summer come to an end, there is a revived breath in Lake Pontchartrain. We’ve been through an abnormally hot summer with temperatures hitting the upper 90s for weeks on end and it’s had its effect on the lake, primarily with the speckled trout. Forrest Green of Lacombe has been fishing the Northshore for trout since he was a child and said October is his favorite month to target these fish. “When October rolls around, I’m like a kid in a candy store,” he said. “There’s nothing like catching big Lake Pontchartrain speckled trout in October.”

October is a great month to target trout in the lake because it’s generally when we get our first blast of cooler air. The oppressive heat that has plagued South Louisiana begins to lose its grip and gives way to air temperatures in the 70s which makes a huge difference for these fish. “Everything comes alive when the cool fronts start rolling in. The baitfish are more plentiful, there’s more shrimp in the water, and the trout are more active because the water temperatures are dropping,” Green said.

 

Fishing for speckled trout on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain

 

What to Expect

In late September these fish begin to make their way from Lake Borgne which is cooler because it contains deeper water. The trout move along the Northshore and slowly travel west feeding on baitfish and shrimp that have begun coming out of the marsh. “You’ll start to see more north winds and those winds push water out of the duck ponds and into the bayous which lead to the lake,” Green said. It’s that perfect mixture of cooler water temperatures and extra bait that creates what Green describes as a one-of-a-kind speckled trout bite! “Sometimes the action gets so fast that you can’t even leave your lure hanging in the water. They’ll swim up and grab it and before you know it your rod is in the water,” he said.

 

What Baits to Use

When targeting speckled trout along the shoreline in October there are a few baits that are popular amongst the locals. Of course, live bait works best. Live shrimp rigged three feet underneath a popping cork is your best bet for catching speckled trout. If you are using artificial bait, tie on a Matrix Shad. The great thing about these lures is that you can fish them underneath a cork or on the bottom. To find speckled trout simply scan the water along the shoreline and look for surface action such as mullet jumping or shrimp popping out of the water. Chances are, there’s a trout chasing them!

  

Catching speckled trout from Lake Pontchartrain is a breeze in the fall.

 

Where to Launch

One of the great things about the Northshore speckled trout run in October is that these fish are very convenient. The northern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain is peppered with rivers and bayous that have access to boat launches.

  • Bayou Liberty: Located in Slidell this bayou empties into Lake Pontchartrain and allows easy access to speckled trout. The nearest boat launch to the lake is the Bayou Liberty Marina located at 58047 Hwy 433 in Slidell. The launch is just 1.41 miles from the lake which is about a 5-minute boat ride.

 

  • Bayou Lacombe: Located in Lacombe the bayou offers easy access to Lake Pontchartrain from the public boat launch that is located at the end of Lake Road. The boat launch is only 0.63 miles from the lake which is only a 3-minute boat ride.

 

  • Cane Bayou: Located at 24380 Ronald Reagan Hwy in Lacombe, Cane Bayou offers kayakers a place to launch their boat. The launch is located just 1.53 miles from the lake, and it takes about 20 minutes to paddle to Lake Pontchartrain. The launch is a pay-launch and costs $3 per person.

 

 

  • Mandeville Lakefront: Located at 100 Jackson Ave. in Mandeville, The Mandeville Boat Launch offers two large back down ramps equipped with docks on boats sides. After launching  your boat you’ll have access to great speckled trout fishing along the northern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain.

 

  • Tchefuncte River:  Located at 2001 Main St. in Madisonville the Madisonville Boat Launch is a 2-minute boat ride from the lake and also allows anglers quick access to fish along the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway which is also a popular speckled trout fishing destination on the Northshore.

 

While October is a fantastic month to target speckled trout in Lake Pontchartrain, the bite won’t last forever and should start to decline as the colder weather arrives in late November. So, get out on the water and take advantage of the October speckled trout run on The Northshore!
 

Lake Pontchartrain's grassy shoreline in Lacombe, a good hiding place for speckled trout.

Story and photos contributed by Keith Lusher, Northshore Fishing Report.