May 17, 2018

How To Fish MRGO Long Rocks For Speckled Trout


Here's the best way to fish MRGO Long Rocks when speckled trout are running thick during their spring transition.


The months of April, May and June are when speckled trout begin making their transition to saltier water so they may successfully spawn.

As they do, they tend to pile up at this spring hot spot for a place to rest and eat.

Favorite Spring Hot Spot For Speckled Trout in Hopedale, Louisiana

A favorite spot to fish for speckled trout during the spring is the MRGO Long Rocks, accessible from Hopedale Marina, Campo's and Sweetwater.

It's great because it provides what trout need most:

  • uniform bottom structure going from shallow to deep
  • thick cover consisting of man-made rock piles
  • protection from most wind
  • straight shot to saltier water

Because of the MRGO's unique structure, speckled trout have a highway they can take to their summer spawning grounds and deep water to hide in when the weather gets bad.

Plus, the rock piles (aka riprap) offer excellent cover for demersal finfish like violet gobies, cocahoes, and small croakers, so there's plenty of food for them to eat.

MRGO Long Rocks

This stretch of the MRGO Long Rocks tends to be the most productive.

Nothing New

This spot is nothing new and, that it turns on in spring, isn't a secret either.

If this weren't the case everyone and their mom wouldn't show up every year.

MRGO Long Rock Spring Bite

Knowing that the MRGO Long Rocks turn on is easy, but catching limits every time isn't.

But what is new (or at least unique) is how I fish MRGO Long Rocks, bringing in limits of speckled trout and leaving them biting.

Before jumping into that, let's go over the "traditional" way most anglers fish MRGO Long Rocks, as well as how to safely get there.

Navigating To The MRGO Long Rocks

Hopedale Marina is the closest launch to the Long Rocks, with the Spoil Canal being the fastest route.

Spoil Canal Google Earth GPS File

Be warned! The Spoil Canal is a tough customer, leaving anglers stranded or worse.

It can be difficult to navigate, so be sure to watch this video of how to safely run the Spoil Canal.

After that, you can always take this route around the Rock Dam to get into the MRGO and head southeast to the Long Rocks.

Traditional Methods of Catching at the MRGO Long Rocks

Typically, boats anchor along the length of the rocks, about a casting distance away, and try their luck by chunking live shrimp under a cork.

Some do use soft plastic lures like Berkley Gulp Shrimp or Matrix Shad, otherwise that's pretty much it.

While this does work, it is not the most effective way to put limits of trout in the boat.

How is a cork and live shrimp not the best?
  • primary forage is not shrimp (in this location)
  • trout are not feeding away from the rocks where shrimp migrate

Somebody reading that just had a brain aneurism, so don't get me wrong:

There is no doubt in my mind trout would love to eat shrimp.

But tons of shrimp aren't regularly flowing through there on their migration to the Gulf.

If they did, we'd see shrimp boats with wing nets catching them, but we don't. 

Instead, we see them dragging the bottom of the ship channel, away from the rocks.

So if the #1 forage isn't shrimp then what is it?

Speckled trout are feeding on finfish like violet gobies and croakers that live on or near the rocks, not unlike their winter pattern.

speckled trout and croaker

Since croakers are in the rocks, that's where speckled trout are looking to get a meal.

That's why they're on the rocks in the first place, and why they're not looking in open water 20 yards from the rocks, but in shallow water right on the rocks.

  • Knowledge Bomb

It's important to know what speckled trout are feeding on not because we want to use that as bait, but because it tells us where we need to be casting our bait.

A cork really isn't the best way to put bait where it needs to be, because your main line only directly affects the cork while the leader line hangs limp under it.

You just can't get the same presentation as a jig.

Now, does this mean you won't catch fish at all with a cork? No.

You'll still catch fish, you just won't catch as much as you can.

This leads us to the less traditional way proven to yield a higher catch.

Less Traditional Methods to Catch Speckled Trout at the MRGO Long Rocks

I've taken an approach based on power fishing: using a trolling motor and artificial lures to cover a lot of shoreline.

Here are two combos used to fish MRGO Long Rocks:

Jigging Combo

  • Reel: Daiwa Tatula 100 8.1:1
  • Line: 12lb Stren Fluorescent Blue Monofilament
  • Rod: Daiwa Tatula 6'3", a medium power, fast action casting rod
  • Lure: Black Platinum Golden Eye 5/16oz jighead dressed in Ultraviolet Matrix Shad

Twitch Bait Combo

  • Reel: Daiwa Tatula SV 8.1:1
  • Line: 12lb Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon
  • Rod: Daiwa Tatula Elite Seth Feider Jerkbait Rod
  • Lure: Mirrodine 17MR in Shad pattern

    Jigs did most of the damage, but the jerkbait brought out the bigger girls.
Mirrodine CS27MR-SHAD

Techniques Used

The below video is from the 7/22/19 Fishing Trip Review to the Long Rocks, and you can see exactly how I "get the skunk out of the boat".

While you watch, note these things:

  • No anchor, just trolling motor.
  • Speed up the trolling motor when the bite slows down.
  • Slow down when the bite speeds up.
  • Hands are free with use of a foot-pedal, cable-steered trolling motor.

Here's another video when the bite was better, catching our limit of trout and then playing catch and release for a little bit:

You can see that we are casting to the rocks and working the bait back to the boat. 

By "to the rocks", I mean literally hitting the rocks with the jighead, swimming it back until it's clear of shallow snags and then begin reeling slowly or jig it back. 

where to fish mrgo long rocks
Does this really matter if you are going to fish MRGO Long Rocks?

Only if you like catching limits of speckled trout.

Remember, trout are feeding on finfish against the rocks, so that is where they are looking.

Yes, you may catch a trout halfway to the boat, but that fish was probably following the lure before deciding to commit to it. 

The Final Result

This fishing knowledge, combined with these lures, tackle and techniques, yielded a little more than 300 speckled trout over the course of four fishing trips in May of 2018 to fish MRGO Long Rocks.

Not bad.

limit of trout in cooler

And in April of 2019 we did the same thing with minor adjustments, catching a limit of 50 speckled trout before 9:30am on the 28th, then catching another 25 before leaving them biting.

So you see the knowledge in this article will help you fish MRGO Long Rocks. I hope you enjoyed it!

Sign up below if you'd like to get more inshore fishing knowledge just like it.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a veteran of the Iraq War and former fishing guide. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • Thanks!

    Yeah, I hope it cleans up more, but it is what it is.

    One day the river will go down and stay down.

    When it does, the fishing will only become better.

    Thanks for commenting!

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