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The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu

Trout Fishing Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Last week, I fished the Speckled Trout Capital of the world – Hackberry, Louisiana, located on Lake Calcasieu in the western section of the state. In 2005, Hackberry Rod and Gun was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. However, in 10 months, with a lot of hard work and sweat, it was restored. Today, it’s better and stronger than ever before, and the lake homes giant speckled trout, big redfish and plenty of medium-to- small fish. This week, we’ll take a look at fishing from Hackberry Rod and Gun. But I won’t be able to show you the delicious food I ate – gumbo, fish and all your favorite vegetables, meats and desserts. Life doesn’t get any better than it is at Hackberry. Kirk Stansel, one of the owners of Hackberry Rod and Gun, was my guide this past week on Lake Calcasieu.

Question: Kirk, tell me about a really-good day of trout fishing you’ve had recClick to enlargeently.
Stansel: I have a place in mind where I can catch some big trout. I usually stop 200- to 300-yards short of where I want to fish and use my trolling motor and the wind to get closer to the spot where I think I’ll catch the trout. We have to be extremely quiet and not spook the fish. Big fish are extremely spooky, because they’re older, have been around for a long time and know what happens when a boat comes by and slows down. You really have to stalk them as you do a whitetail to get close to them. You want to make as little noise as possible, if you’re trying to reach an area to fish for big trout. When the fish are holding in only 2 or 3 feet of water, they’re much-more spooked than they’ll be if they’re concentrating in deeper water. So, I always use the wind to set up and drift my boat into the place I want to fish. I use my trolling motor as little as possible to drift along the shoreline. Once we start fishing, my anglers and I will be fan casting. Some of my fishermen will be casting away from the shoreline, some will be fishing parallel to the shoreline, and others will be casting and retrieving to the shoreline to find where the fish are holding.

Question: Why are you having some of your clients cast away from the shoreline, even thClick to enlargeough the fish are holding on the shoreline?
Stansel: Because you never know where the trout will be. Sometimes, the trout will be holding tight to the shoreline, but oftentimes, the fish will be holding 50- to 75-yards off the shoreline. Therefore, by fan casting all the way around the boat, you can locate and take trout that are related to the shore, even if they’re not holding immediately against the shore. The shoreline is the structure you’re fishing, but the fish aren’t necessarily holding right up against the shore. The bait will move into the shore and out away from the shore, depending on whether the tide’s coming in or going out.

Question: Tell me about this great day of fishing you had.
Stansel: On this particular day, we went down this one shoreline and had trout blowing up on our top-water lures, but not taking them. We started catching a few trout that weighed 3- to 4-pounds each. We were catching just enough fish to keep fishing on the shoreline. We were making our third drift down this same shoreline, when the trout really turned-on to the bait. The drifts may take an hour, and we were in our third hour of fishing before the action really picked-up. We haClick to enlarged several fish on, but lost the fish that would have weighed in the 7- or 8-pound range. However, we did boat a 9-pound trout that was 31-inches long. We caught a large number of big redfish, but the bite didn’t really turn on until about 10:00 am. I believe the fish were there the entire time because the bait was in that area, but they just finally turned on to the bait.

Question: How do you get a big fish to the boat?
Stansel: Remember that trout are very soft-mouthed, so you want to set your drag lightly and really play the fish. Don’t get in a big hurry to land it. You want to have your drag set lightly, so when the trout makes a run, it can pull the drag off easily without tearing the hook out of its mouth. You don’t want to horse the fish in like you will a bass, a red snapper or even a redfish. You really need to have a light drag and a rod with a really-light tip. Then when the fish makes a run, the line will have some give in it, and your hook won’t break or tear a hole in the fish’s mouth. I like light- to medium-tackle when we’re fishing for big fish. Remember, even though the fish may be big, they have soft and tender mouths, so you don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them.

To learn more about Hackberry Rod and Gun, go to, or call 888-762-3391.

Tomorrow: What about the Redfish?

Check back each day this week for more about "The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu"

Day 1: More Trout and More Reds on an Ill Wind
Day 2: Big Trout on the Shoreline
Day 3: Trout Fishing Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This
Day 4: What about the Redfish?
Day 5: What about the Birds?



Entry 408, Day 3