John's Journal...

A Look at the Hurricanes Effect on Gulf Coast Fishing

Fishing Calcasieu with Kirk Stansel

Click to enlargeEditor’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 Click to enlargeweeks 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’re planning a fishing trip to Lake Calcasieu.

“One of our best and most-successful fishing trips has been our night boat trips,” Kirk Stansel says. “The fishermen eat dinner with us at the lodge and then board a 40-foot houseboat that carries six people out fishing. We put out lights over a reef and anchor-up, and as soon as the bait shows-up, the trout start following them. After dinner, the boat Click to enlargeleaves the dock, and the fishermen stay out until about 4:00 a.m. The night boat usually brings in mostly trout with a few flounder and redfish in the catch. With all the fish in the lake now, the night boat should really be a great way to catch a lot of speckled trout and redfish and dodge the summer heat at the same time. The night boat, which usually runs through October, has been so popular that most of our weekends are booked-up already through the summer. But we still have some openings during the week.
“Hackberry Lodge starts its cast-and-blast trips for ducks and trout with teal season inClick to enlarge September. Our big duck season generally begins the middle of November, depending on when the state sets the season. We have a lot of people who like to get up in the morning, eat a good breakfast, shoot ducks, come in for gumbo at lunch, and then fish for speckled trout and redfish until dark. A cast-and-blast trip is a before-daylight-until-after-dark hunting and fishing trip that everyone really enjoys. Based on the numbers of fish we’re seeing now, I predict that this summer and fall, we’ll have the best fishing year that we’ve had in the last five or six years.”

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

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 5