March 27, 2018

How will Lake Pontchartrain’s algae bloom affect the trout bite?

Nature throws another curveball at inshore anglers. This is how to adapt.

Lake Pontchartrain Algae Bloom

Well, there's an algae bloom in Lake Pontchartrain. :/

Now, I'm no marine biologist, or a botanist or whatever is a subject matter expert on algae blooms.

(Okay, I just Googled it and that person is known as a phycologist, specializing in phycology, or the study of algae.)

Anyways, I'm certainly not a phycologist. Having dropped out of college I'm not qualified to make public and/or official comments on the matter. I'll leave that to the pros.

But, I am smart enough to know that trout don't really swim in toxic algae, nor do they swim in areas with low DO levels (which can occur after algae dies).

While it's no fun that Nature has taken this course, it is obvious the algae bloom is simply eliminating water I need to fish to discover where speckled trout are holding for this spring run. 

After all, speckled trout have the wherewithal to leave conditions not suitable for them.

Where will I fish?

Anywhere algae isn't present. 

This could be the eastern end of Lake Pontchartrain or could mean trailering to another location, like Hopedale or Lafitte.

Otherwise, beating myself over the head that Lake Pontchartrain may be unfishable is unnecessary and takes away from the entire point of going fishing in the first place.

How do I know where the algae will be?

This is really the question we need to be asking.

The answer: the same place river water from the spillway will eventually go.

This is from the west side of the lake through the Rigolets and maybe even Chef Pass, like I explained in this article.

The difference between the algae and river water is that the river water originated on the south shore and the algae on the north shore.

Take a look at this imagery dated March 23rd, 2018.

Lake Pontchartrain Algae Bloom

The algae will most likely take the northern shoreline to Rigolets pass, whereas river water will take the southern shore.

algae bloom direction

Of course, wind can play a "tug o' war" with the algae, accelerating or slowing its exit from the lake, as well as spread it to the southern shore.

This is all IF101 knowledge, understanding where water will flow based on the conditions, not tide tables, and knowing which bodies of water to identify as "highways, streets and sidewalks.

That's reflected in this fishing report from Rob at LAFB Inshore:

I thought this was pollen, but saw an article saying algae bloom.

This was from Sunday 25th. Some parts were so thick I think the boat actually picked up speed when we hit the thick pockets.

Needless to say, got the hell out of there. No fish, tried trolling and flipping the pilings.

Water was moving, it looked like clean water was underneath the fishable parts. Not a single bite. Whatever this stuff is, it got thicker right off the north shore.


This algae bloom is not signaling the end of the world as we know it.

Rather, it's a natural process that will come and go and, once it has gone, speckled trout will still be here and so will inshore fishing.

Yes, some will be affected more than others, but as it pertains to inshore anglers our solution is simple: getting the most information to make the best possible decision to keep on doing what we love.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. 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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