In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. – Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Obviously, Alfred Lord Tennyson wasn’t from Louisiana.  For me, Spring time in Louisiana conjures up images of trout…big trout exploding on topwater.  It is our final escape from the doldrums of February and our last true refuge before the heat of the Louisiana summer.  There’s no better place I like to chase big trout in the Spring, than Golden Meadow.  And when the trout aren’t biting, the redfish are usually very active throughout the day.

Located about an hour and a half outside of New Orleans, Golden Meadow is within striking distance for most anglers and offers a variety of different options for fishing, whether it be for trout, redfish, flounder and even Jack Crevalle.  Although fishing in Golden Meadow is good year-round, fall and spring are the best times to target trout and explore this vast lake.

The epicenter of Golden Meadow is Catfish Lake.  Surrounding the lake are various canals, marsh and assorted structure.  With so many options, it would take any angler years to fully explore and learn this area.  Fortunately, there are fish in just about all directions.

Most anglers fishing Golden Meadow put in at the free public launch located on the East side of Catfish Lake. T-Pop’s, the local gas station, bait store and tackle shop, is located along Hwy 1 and marks the turnoff to get to the public launch. Simply follow the road across the levee to the launch to put in.  There is ample free parking on the opposite side of the levee from the launch.

Game planning is essential for fishing Golden Meadow.  The area is massive and typically once you pick a direction, you will be fishing that area all day.  Particular importance should be given to the wind, especially if you are considering crossing the lake or fishing along the outskirts of the lake.  If there has been a consistent strong wind for a few days, the better strategy might be to fish the marsh and look for clean water rather than targeting the wide-open Catfish Lake.

Catfish Lake and The Reef

If the wind is right, get to the lake.  Trout can be found around the entire lake, though of course, some areas are more productive than others.  Typically, trout can be found all along the east side of the lake.  Fish the fringes of the lake where the various canals empty into the lake and the points and the middle portions of the canal, working your way from canal to canal.  Popular areas to fish include the oyster reef along the north east section of the lake.  The reef runs a few hundred yards along the lake and trout can be found anywhere from a few yards off the bank to a hundred yards or so off the bank.  When fishing this area, fan cast a topwater towards the bank and out to open water.  You might also consider trolling an artificial under a cork to help locate the trout.  If the wind is right, you can drift along the reef covering a lot of area until you find the trout.

Grassy Marsh

When the trout aren’t biting or if the lake is too dirty, I like to duck into the marsh and sight fish for redfish.  The marsh in between the oyster reef and the levee offers prime red fishing.  This section of the marsh is similar to that of Delacroix in that it has grass flats and offers some nice sight fishing opportunities. You will want to make sure to bring weedless baits when fishing this area, such as weedless spoons, in line spinner baits, etc.

As an added bonus, trout sometimes stack up in the marsh, especially when you can’t find them in the lake.  Look for deeper water, two to three foot, and water moving around points on the various islands of the marsh.  Typically, you will find the trout along these points rather than in the flat calm ponds.

The Spoils

Heading South from the launch, I like to stop at the spoil area on my way down to look for trout.  This is an area you can usually cover quickly to see if the trout are around.  You will want to use topwater or artificial under a cork to avoid losing tackle to the trash on the bottom.

South Side

The south side of the lake can be very productive for redfish and trout when they are cruising along the shoreline looking for bait.  If you can get there early enough, topwater is a great option for both species.

West side of Lake

One of the best areas to fish in Golden Meadow, is also the longest and most challenging to get to.  The west side of the lake contains just about every possibility for fishing trout, redfish and flounder.  The marshes are more akin to Highway 23 than Delacroix/Reggio.  There is far less grass and small ponds but more small winding canals through the marsh that offer excellent choke points for fishing.  Additionally, there are rock jetties and damns that hold all three species.  Finally, Bayou Blue has numerous camps with pilings that are great areas to target big trout and flounder.  If you decide to fish the west side of the lake, try to do so with a friend and make sure to pick calm days.  The lake can get rough quickly.

In short, Golden Meadow is a great area to fish in a kayak. Whether you enjoy throwing topwaters for trout, sight fishing for redfish, or just blind casting artificial under a popping cork, chances are you will come home with fish.

-Sean Rastanis