You already know a lot of water is coming down the pipe, but how it will affect the fishing here in Louisiana's inshore waters?
The Bonnet Carré Spillway & Louisiana's Marsh
By now the Bonnet Carré Spillway has been roaring for a bit, dumping massive loads of trout repellent into Lake Pontchartrain.
Obviously this isn't ideal, but it's worth taking a closer look at the overall impact of this record-setting opening.
After all, seeing the bigger picture is what smart inshore anglers do to keep catching when everyone else is whining about the spillway.
How Bad Will This Hurt Our Fishing?
It really depends on how long the spillway is open and how hard it flows.
There are 350 bays total, and they are rarely all opened at once, with 1983 being the last time that happened.
According to this bulletin at Louisiana Maritime, there are 148 bays flowing at 133,000 cubic feet per second, or cfs.
Bonnet Carré's max output is 250,000 cfs.
Furthermore, according to this article, the Army Corps plans on operating the spillway until the end of this month.
It's safe to say (you may want to sit down) the spring run of speckled trout in Lake Pontchartrain isn't going to happen.
Even with last year's opening I remained optimistic, but the trout never really arrived in force and, with the current opening taking place, there's no reason to pretend otherwise.
The Trout Spawn Will Be Affected, Too
Speckled trout need, at a minimum, 15 - 17ppt saltwater to spawn.
If they don't, they will keep swimming until they do.
Places available for spawning during saltier times (i.e. Rigolets Pass, Mississippi Sound) may not be viable at all this summer.
Even last summer I found it difficult to find a good trout bite without making a long run outside of the marsh.
Redfish Will Be Fine
Given that some of the best redfish action is had near river water, I'm sure our favorite marsh donkey will do just fine, especially considering the increase in cover for themselves and their forage.
More Grass Will Grow
Areas saturated with freshwater (especially those near the Mighty Mississippi) tend to grow aquatic grasses in places they would not if the salinity were higher.
Grass is good! It provides a place for forage to feed and hide, and acts as a "filter", cleaning water that flows through it with the tide, just like what you see in this video.
But Pray For Saltwater Anyway
I think our inshore fishing in Louisiana is great due to river water, but only when it mixes with saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico.
Our awesome inshore fishery is like a tasty cocktail, blended with saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico and river water from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.
But what happens when the ingredients are out of balance?
It makes for a not-so-tasty cocktail and, in our case, tough fishing.
Simply put, without the right amount of saltwater, our "inshore cocktail" is going to see major changes in fishing patterns with this major influx of river water.
Keep That Good Attitude
I see a lot of y'all on social media and am pleased to see inshore anglers with a good, upbeat attitude.
Yes, there are the Debbie Downers and Negative Nancies, but that's life and we're all better off ignoring them.
This is Louisiana, a great state with an awesome fishery that has been through a lot worse than this.
In fact, there's a lot of positive things to look forward to, and that's what the next blog post is all about.
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