Tchefuncte River Fishing Report – April 05
Following the storm that passed through the Covington/Madisonville area on Monday, April 03, the water level of the Tchefuncte River is higher than normal, and the water is very muddy.
Typically, the water is muddy from Friday afternoon through about mid-day Monday (on a weekend wherein the weather is pleasant) from all the boat traffic. Both non-fishing boat traffic and fishing have increased at least tenfold since Hurricane Katrina, and in the opinion of this author the river is being over-fished.
I live on a bayou just off the Tchefuncte, and every day there are at least a half-dozen boats that pass up and down the bayou using their trolling motors fishing for bass mainly. I’ve counted as many as 24 boats one Saturday. Perhaps there was a tournament that day?
Every now and again I’ll see someone using live bait, which could technically put them in play for just about any species of fish found in the river. I would estimate that nine out of ten are using artificial baits, which would strongly suggest their target is largemouth bass.
The fishing report for April 05, 2017 is as follows:
- Water Clarity: Poor
- Water level: High
- Outlook for bass: Below-average (see below for additional info)
- Outlook for catfish: Below-average (see below for additional info)
- Outlook in general: Poor
Largemouth Bass Outlook, Advice
If targeting bass and determined to fish today or tomorrow, I’d recommend planning the trip for early morning or late evening. Water clarity is so poor right now that sight-baits won’t bring much success. Use something that makes noise or chops up the water to alert the bass to its presence. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits along shorelines and over lily pads, weedless top-water frogs (and any other weedless top-water bait that can be fished over lily pads), chatterbaits and even diving top-water minnows that have a rattle inside them to make some noise. If the fish can’t hear or feel the vibration of the bait, you’ve got very little chance because unless you happen to place it literally right in front of the fish’s face, it probably won’t see it.
Catfish Outlook, Advice
If fishing for catfish, I’d strongly recommend chumming your fishing spot and being patient. Fish near the chum or past the chum in whichever direction the water is moving that day. Magic Bait makes a good catfish chum that I’ve had success with before. Combine one bag of chum with one bag of their actual catfish bait into a perforated minnow bucket, add weight to the bucket and wait for the fish to arrive.
Traditional tactics like using jugs or noodles (pool flotation toys cut into pieces) may bring success due to the amount of space covered by this technique, but the degree to which the water is muddy is making it difficult for the fish to smell in addition to making it virtually impossible for them to see. If fishing with a rod and reel, I would definitely chum and wait at least an hour before declaring the day a failure.
One last note: the catfish in the Tchefuncte have been more aggressive in their feeding of late right at dusk and dawn. I regularly feed them cat food in my bayou and I’ve noticed they completely ignore it if I throw it out at any point during the day when the sun is up. At dusk, or after dark, the demolish every morsel that lands in the water. Take it for what it’s worth.
As you can see in the above photo, the turtles are gorging themselves while not a single catfish is anywhere in sight. Worth noting is that this is the same spot I feed them every day. This time it just happened to be a few hours earlier than normal, and the fish were nowhere to be found.
This is a relatively new development for me. I’ve traditionally had success fishing for catfish in the Tchefuncte mid-day during all seasons of the year. I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind why they seem to be feeding less aggressively during the daylight hours, but whatever the reason that is my observation and I hope the above outlook and advice help make your next fishing trip a success.