John's Journal...

A Look at the Hurricanes Effect on Gulf Coast Fishing

Click to enlarge More Louisiana Fishing with Captain Jeff Poe

Editor’s Note: After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the fishermen at Lake Calcasieu near Lake Charles, Louisiana, still had good lives and enjoyed outstanding fishing. The storm brought in plenty of speckled trout and redfish. Many of the tourist areas along the Gulf Coast had shut down, but the fishing business boomed. However, anglers knew that good times generally didn’t last, and bad times might follow. Four weeks later, Hurricane Rita jumped right in the middle of Lake Calcasieu. Although most people around the nation remember Katrina and its devastating effort on New Orleans, the anglers at Lake Calcasieu never will forget Rita. But, on the heels of Rita came some of the best trout fishing Lake Calcasieu has had in years. We’ve talked to two fishermen who guide and operate businesses on Calcasieu – Captain Jeff Poe of Big Lake Guide Service and Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod & Gun. Let’s listen to their stories about what happened and what you can expect this summer and fall, if you’rClick to enlargee planning a fishing trip to Lake Calcasieu.

“Even right now in June 2006, the fishing’s unbelievable,” Captain Jeff Poe reports. “I’ve been fishing and guiding on Lake Calcasieu for 25 years, and I’ve caught more trout since this April 1 than I’ve caught in any other year that we’ve fished the lake. From what I’m seeing, the trout seemed to have gotten off an extra spawn because we’re catching lots of little trout that are 6- to 8-inches long. Most of the fish we’re catching in the schools will weigh 2- to 4-pounds each, depending on the size of the fish in the school. But, I’ve been amazed at how many schools of small trout we’ve seen this year. We’ve also had a great spring run on flounder this year, and the redfish numbers seem to be about the same as always. If our area has good weather this summer, I expect us to have one of the best years we’ve ever had with speckled trout, redfish and flounder. I believe Hurricane Rita has been like a restocking program at Lake Calcasieu because fishing has just gotten better. StormsClick to enlarge are bad for the people and the coastline, however they’re really good for fishing. Our biggest problem after the storm hasn’t been fishing, but rather having housing for our guests. We’re fortunate; we got our housing rebuilt by mid-November. Our bookings have been full since the storm. Too, we’re having trouble finding enough highly-qualified guides to take the people out fishing. So, if you’re planning a trip to Calcasieu this summer or fall, you need to go ahead and book now. Since the fish have come back after the storm, so have the fishermen.
“Another advantage to the storm is that it really has cleaned-up the marsh for duck hunting. I haven’t had any type of debris problems in my marsh since my marsh is north of the intercoastal canal. If this region has a cool winter, we’ll have a great cast-and-blast season where you can duck hunt in the morning and fish for speckled trout and redfish in the afternoon. Even tClick to enlargehough Louisiana hasn’t set its duck season yet, cast-and-blast has become so popular that you may want to go ahead and book your hunting and fishing for the fall. Yes, we had a terrible year last year because of the storm. But the hurricane also made our fishing better than ever.
Anglers have learned about our outstanding fishing. If we don’t have a bad storm during the warm months of 2006, we should have a very-productive fishing season.”

For more information on fishing with Captain Jeff Poe at Big Lake Guide Service, call 337-598-3268, or go to

Tomorrow: Kirk Stansel on Calcasieu Fishing

Check back each day this week for more about " A Look at the Hurricanes Effect on Gulf Coast Fishing"

Day 1: Captain Jeff Poe
Day 2: More Louisiana Fishing with Captain Jeff Poe
Day 3: Kirk Stansel on Calcasieu Fishing
Day 4: More on Louisiana Fishing with Kirk Stansel
Day 5: Fishing Calcasieu with Kirk Stansel


Entry 359, Day 2