John's Journal...

A Look at the Hurricanes Effect on Gulf Coast Fishing

Click to enlarge Kirk Stansel on Calcasieu Fishing

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, HurricClick to enlargeane 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’re planning a fishing trip to Lake Calcasieu.

“Our lodge dodged Hurricane Katrina, but we took Rita on the chin,” Kirk Stansel explains. “Before Rita hit, we were in kind of a down-turn on our fishing cycle. Fishing had been tough for the last three years in Lake Calcasieu. However, Rita hit in September, and by mid-October, there Click to enlargewere fish all over Lake Calcasieu. That’s the good news. The bad news is our dock was blown away, and our lodge was torn up so badly that we had to completely demolish it and rebuild. But our lodge should be back up and ready real soon – sometime in July, 2006. By mid-October 2005, we were taking people fishing. However, most of our business came from people driving in, instead of staying in this area. There just wasn’t any place down hClick to enlargeere for them to stay. Our guides brought in large numbers of fish. We didn’t see many really-big fish, but all the fish we caught were a good grade, with most of them being in the 14- to 16-inch lengths. The lake’s a little more stained than it has been in the past, probably because of all the silt that’s been stirred-up by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the last three or four years, to catch a lot of trout, we’ve had to use live bait. But since Rita, we’re catching all of our fish on artificial lures.

To learn more about fishing at Hackberry Rod & Gun, call 888-762-3391, or visit

Tomorrow: More on Louisiana Fishing with Kirk Stansel

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 3