September 21, 2018

Where are Speckled Trout in September?


Locating speckled trout in September can be difficult, so where are successful anglers finding them? Read on to find out.

It's that time of year, the trout are done spawning and fall is not quite here.

This makes catching limits of speckled trout tough, because they're transitioning from the "outside" of the marsh to the "inside".

This can spread them out, so finding a school of trout ready to eat up isn't exactly easy.

But, every year is different and 2021 is no exception!

Finding Speckled Trout in September

I like to cover a lot of water during this month, from Chandeleur Sound to Lake Pontchartrain.

Some trips I only catch a few, but others see limits of specks hit the deck.

This is great! And I've found the key is focusing on what they really want.

What do speckled trout want?

It's simple. They want two things:

  • to be comfortable
  • have something to eat

What makes trout uncomfortable?

We already know they do fine in relatively cold or hot water, but they don't care for extremes and certainly don't enjoy rapid changes in water temperature.

Remember: Speckled trout are cold-blooded and must change chemical processes in their body to match the ambient temperature.

If there's a rapid change in water temps, up or down, trout will need a "timeout" to adjust.

During this timeout, they're not actively feeding in huge schools, they're literally chilling out.

So where is "comfortable" water found?

The answer is "deeper water".

deep vs shallow water speckled trout

Deeper water isn't affected as easily as shallow water is.

Shallower water dirties more easily, and can be quickly cooled down, or heated up.

Cold fronts have this effect, but so do a string of bright and sunny days during hot weather, or even a lingering hurricane, like what we saw last year with Harvey.

What will speckled trout be eating?

Anything that fits in their mouth, but for the most part you can depend on them to concentrate on the most widely available forage at the time.

And right now, that forage is white shrimp.

Where can we find a lot of white shrimp?

Let's gloss over the life cycle of white shrimp to answer this question:

  1. adults spawn in the Gulf of Mexico
  2. fertilized eggs enter the marsh
  3. eggs hatch and shrimp larvae grow to sub-adults
  4. sub-adult leave the marsh to spawn in the Gulf

It's this time of year white shrimp begin migrating to spawn in saltier waters "outside" of the marsh.

Now, if you've ever seen a swimming shrimp, you know they are not powerful swimmers.

Simply put, they can't cover as much water or resist current like a trout or dolphin.

They'd wear themselves out if they tried, so instead they use the tide to take them out.

White shrimp will ride the tide, letting it take them out, like a conveyor belt. 

There's one more concept to make all of this clear.

Not all "conveyor belts" are the same size

A trenasse, or small cut, will not yield as many shrimp as say, a dominant bayou connecting a bunch of lagoons and ponds.

trenasse drains white shrimp 600
lagoons ponds and bays empty into bayou 600

Taking it a step further, such a bayou will not transport as much water as a large pass.

white shrimp feed through passes 600

Does this make sense?

If not, please use the comments section below.

Or comment if you have something to add!

The Passes Have It all

Passes tend to be deeper, because all the water moving through scours the bottom.

Because they're deeper and tend to have more moving water, they are cooler and oxygenated, being a great place for speckled trout to be comfortable.

The icing on the cake is that these passes move the most white shrimp of all the types of water bodies in the marsh.

Some Examples

Here are some examples of these kinds of passes.

Chef Pass

The Chef drains a whole lot of water, and you can expect to see diving birds at its mouth in Lake Borgne when shrimp really begin pumping through there.

chef pass drains lake pontchartrain
Crooked Bayou at Lake Eugene

Technically not a pass, I am still using this as an example because the mouth is deep and it drains a lot of marsh.

crooked bayou shrimp migration falling tide

Let Me Teach You Everything I Know

Inside my course Inshore Fishing 101 I teach anglers how to find fish from scratch, safely navigate the marsh, select the best tackle and more.

An LAFB Elite membership is cheaper than learning it the hard way, and will help you catch fish more than anything in your boat.

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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  • Juan, you’re not wrong, but white shrimp have been pushing out of the marsh since August.

    People focus on the cold fronts because that’s the thing they see, kind of like cover that sticks out of the water for “bank beaters”.

    Some of the best fall fishing you can do is right now, fishing a hard falling tide, especially the tail end of it.

    Cold fronts play a part in that because they help drop water out of the marsh.

    But if you’re waiting on a cold front to get onto good fishing then you’re going to miss a lot of great speckled trout action.

  • Devin what I have found along with what you have also said, shrimp really push out after a cold front. The wind is blowing hard out of the north pushing water. The water tends to be cloudy giving the shrimp some cover.

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