Inshore Fishing 101

Understanding Moving Water Part 1

Lesson 50

Moving water is key, especially for trout. Without a tideline to form bait and give them an idea as to where to ambush their prey, trout will sit tight and won’t be “turned on.” While there are always exceptions it is generally known that you need moving water to catch fish.

To see what tidelines are and how to find them please refer to “How to Find Fishing Spots Using Google Earth” in this course.

How do you find moving water?

The answer to that question depends on the conditions at hand and is a long winded one. It is essential to understand the bigger picture of how tide and wind work together to move water inside the marsh. Making a decision based off a single condition can be fatal for a fishing trip. So let’s look at tide behavior and fluid dynamics to see the bigger picture.

First off, the tide does not move the same everywhere at once. It can be falling on one side of the marsh and rising on the other. It is totally possible for the water to literally be higher and only 20 miles away be lower. Knowing this can make you a rockstar of moving water! It is feasible to start fishing on one side of the marsh and work your way to the other side and not see a slack tide until much later.

For example, look at the two tide charts below. One is for Gardner Island on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) and the other is for Shell Beach, near Campo’s Marina.

You will see that the Gardner Island Tide Table is about four hours ahead of the Shell Beach tide table but both locations are only about 20 miles apart. It is smart to fish the MRGO before beating feet to Bayou St. Malo and catching the falling tide there as well.

This entire area stretching from Breton Sound to Lake Borgne is unique because the tide has to travel from Breton Sound to the Chandeleur Sound around the Biloxi Marsh to the Mississippi Sound and eventually Lake Borgne. As you guessed, it takes about four hours.

You may not have this uniqueness in your area, but you can certainly move with the tide and avoid slack water.

  • RodFather says:

    This has been obvious to me along Bayou Terrebonne…..nothing seems to match Cocodrie only a few miles away….same with Pointe Aux Chenes, can’t figure tides based on nearby tables….I always assumed it was lag time through the marshes and bays….thanks for a good discussion and explanation …

  • Devin says:

    And thank you for the comment!

    I agree and that’s why I preach this to people.

    Toss the tide app and just go fishing!

  • Bigjohnson says:

    First, thanks for your service. Two questions. The tide moves up from east to west right? And as the water travels around the Biloxi marsh at some point the water is coming in from Bay Eloi and Lake Borgne simultaneously?

  • Devin Denman says:

    It’s more like southeast to northwest.

    As for your other question, I’m not following you.

    Can you be more specific?

  • Bigjohnson says:

    Sorry, the tide is at it’s highest at Garner Island first , and the Shell beach roughly four hours later. Then it has to turn around at Shell Beach before it starts falling at Gardner Island is what I was trying to ask first

  • Bigjohnson says:

    The second question is: as the tide rises is there a time when the water is coming in from both sides of the Biloxi marsh at the same time. On the west side the water is coming in from the west and on the east side from the east?

  • Bigjohnson says:

    No worries, figured it out. I appreciate your patience.

  • Devin Denman says:

    Yes, you are correct.

  • Devin Denman says:

    Okay, yes I am tracking now.

    Yes, this can happen.

    If anything, as you run from east to west, you will see water levels changing.

    A great spot to see a “split” in tide tables is the Crash Intersection in Hopedale, where Baker’s Canal, Bayou St. Malo and Bayou LaLoutre create a four way intersection.

  • Pen