If you’ve had any seafood dishes from Louisiana, you’re probably familiar with speckled trout.
This delicious gamefish inhabits brackish and saltwater across up and down the state’s Gulf Coast, ready to put up a spirited fight before becoming tasty fillets.
Not only is this an incredibly popular fish to serve on a plate, but it is also the subject of many tournaments and competitions in southeastern states, including Louisiana.
Probably the most common fish after mullet or minnows in the brackish and salt waters of Sportsman’s Paradise, speckled trout also are so fun to hook into for anglers of all skill levels.
This article will reveal the top places in Louisiana where you should go to catch speckled trout.
I am making these recommendations partly based on my own fishing experience and that of family members, including my grandfather, Thom Pelle. He’s been fishing these waters for over 60 years and knows a thing or two.
When you get to one of these great fishing spots, you’ll want to come equipped with all the right tackle, from popping corks to fish with fresh shrimp to soft plastic lures you’ll need to hook them in the marshes, around the platforms, and over the oyster beds.
You might even get the chance to lure a big speckled trout (a.k.a. spotted seatrout) to the surface by using a torpedo-shaped topwater lure.
Once you’ve read this article and have a great idea of where you can catch plenty of speckled trout, you’ll also want to check at the bottom for a link to our simple-to-follow how-to article that will give you the expert scoop on when, where and how to catch these amazing gamefish.
Where to Catch Speckled Trout in Louisiana
Hopedale comes in at the number one spot for two reasons. The birds and prime locations.
The birds are crucial to locating shrimp and baitfish.
Anglers hitting the water from late spring through early fall can find success by first spotting the birds. Like a homing beacon, birds bring anglers to schooling bait, and where there is bait, there are speckled trout.
And then there are not one but two excellent locations in Hopedale that anglers should hit up.
I mentioned that my grandfather, Thom Pelle, has been going after speckled trout for over six decades. Still, it’s a special day for him when it works out like one of his outings in a recent season.
Thom limited out on specks in under two hours at Hopedale, throwing a chartreuse Matrix Shad under a popping cork at the end of the long rocks.
An excellent bet for late fall and early summer fishing, the trout bottlenecked the shrimp near the rocks, and the fishing was fierce.
“The shrimp worked, but I decided to throw the Matrix Shad, and I was pulling in three to everyone else’s one.”
Earlier that year, Thom hit the Holy Cross rig, farther out than the long rocks, and had a different but still satisfying result. “We didn’t limit out as fast, but we threw Carolina rigs with shrimp and caught some monsters.”
Tight-lining and cork fishing are solid tactics when working the rocks, but deeper water dictates deeper rigs.
Hopedale is about an hour southeast of New Orleans, heading out the Hopedale Highway.
Next to Hopedale, Shell Beach is also an excellent location for trout fishing in this area.
Venice historically is known for its strong speckled trout population.
With prime fishing holes spread throughout its bays, marshes, and beaches, Venice also has rigs, and its rock formations are often underutilized when fishing for trout.
This location is solid from the beginning of March till early fall, with live bait running the first half and plastics coming in handy on the back end of the season.
In Venice, the key to finding specks is chasing clear water. With the Mississippi River’s flow fluctuating seasonally, anglers here look for murky green saltier waters instead of the common chocolate milk complexion of muddy river water to locate speckled trout.
Fishing shelves and tide lines, anglers using popping corks and shrimp can hammer the specks all season long.
Locations such as the Coast Guard Cut and Blind Bay’s northeast pass often yield an excellent crop of specks, while the cuts around Tiger Pass can also fill an ice chest with fish.
Venice is along the Mississippi River, about an hour and a half’s drive from New Orleans down Louisiana Highway 23.
I cut my fishing teeth here angling for specks.
The waters around Delacroix contain various species besides speckled trout, and there also is excellent fishing for redfish, as well as drum, sheepshead, and bass. So it’s the perfect place to change tactics and fish for different species if your target fish isn’t biting.
Fishing for speckled trout is all about tides and river water in Delacroix. Falling tides mean it’s time to hit locations like Stump Lagoon, Grand Lake, and Lake John.
Meanwhile, rising tides mean Bayou’s Terre, Gaudet, and Black Bayou will be rich with shrimp. Speckled trout will be in hot pursuit.
Delacroix’s waters are mostly silty brown from the Mississippi River’s strong influence, so finding green water on its own or just beneath the chocolate is a godsend.
If anglers can find the shrimp, they have struck gold in Delacroix. Shrimp, either the artificial plastic or live variety fished under a popping cork, is like angling with a fish magnet.
Delacroix is under an hour from New Orleans, taking Highway 46 before cutting down along Lake Lery.
Note: For spring and fall fishing, a warm front directly after a cold front is the best time to hit the marshes as the trout return to shallower water.
While Grand Isle is as close to a destination beach as you can get in Louisiana, the brown sands pale in comparison to the trout fishing each summer.
With plenty of structure and beach line to angle, Grand Isle has some of the best trout fishing in Louisiana during the warmer months.
Additionally, this barrier island is one of the few places in Louisiana where putting a croaker on the end of your line makes it criminally easy to catch a speck using a cork or Carolina rig.
Of course, you also can do no wrong with a shrimp as the trout are hungry and aggressive.
Bird spotting on the beaches of neighboring Elmer’s Island is an excellent way to spot droves of shrimp and the trout feeding on them.
The wooden tower, referred to as Middle Bank, sits on a 300-foot reef perfect for popping corks and Carolina rigs. Additionally, trolling the outer rock barriers on the northern side of the Isle with croaker and shrimp under a cork can lead to a healthy crop of specks.
Grand Isle sits directly south of New Orleans, but the route will take a couple of hours.
Calcasieu River Saltwater Barrier
A barrier designed to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles, this structure has become a haven for various brackish water fish ranging from bass to crevalle jack (jack crevalle).
The fishing here is excellent during the summer and early fall, when salinity levels peak, making it prime speckled trout real estate.
Big speckled trout, some weighing over 6 or 7 pounds, are caught regularly around the barrier.
Specks and the anglers pursuing them find plenty of structure on both sides of the barrier and enough bait fish to go around. However, when the shrimp move in, the saltwater side truly shines.
Anglers can throw topwater lures and work them away or along the weir walls or throw jig heads along the rocks during spring and fall months to great success.
During the summer, anglers throwing popping corks with shrimp will rip lips on massive trout on both sides of the barrier and probably snag a few bass and reds along the way.
The Calcasieu River Saltwater Barrier is slightly over an hour west of Lafayette.
Fishing for speckled trout in massive Lake Pontchartrain is all about finding structure. Filled with reefs, pilings, trestles, and more, boaters must be careful on the lake. However, with these risks come trout. Sometimes lots of them.
Depending on the salinity levels of the water, Lake Pontchartrain can be home to hordes of monster-speckled trout during the summer or be a wasteland.
The latter occurs when managers open the spillway, and the salinity content drops, as do your hopes of landing a speck.
Winter months are not as hit or miss. Speckled trout are no longer as active or spawning in colder water, so the trout don’t mind the freshwater as much.
Anglers looking to crush the specks in Lake Ponchartrain can fish the Causeway Bridge and around a few boat launches. Or do some homework and locate underwater reefs that are sure to be loaded with trout.
Jigging off the structure or throwing popping corks with shrimp are excellent techniques when hitting the lake.
Cocodrie can be hit or miss for speckled trout, depending on the weather.
I’ve been out and slaughtered specks in the morning, followed by bass and reds before lunch. But I’ve also spent half a day staring at calm water with light cloud cover and caught one gaff top every 30 minutes.
On top of that, the stingray population here is out of control.
To get after Cocodrie’s specks, anglers need to pay attention to the tide and time of year. Though anglers often find action in the marshes, the monsters lie closer to the beaches and open water.
Cocodrie’s southern islands like Timbalier and Coon Point are rich with trout during the summer months.
Anglers should fish further from shore during the falling tides, but the real key is finding cuts in the sand bars and working them with plastic single or double rigs.
During colder months, anglers should head up into the marsh where they can find big speckled trout in ponds alongside redfish.
Cocodrie is about 45 minutes south of Houma.
Everything has a starting place, and Lake Charles is a nursery for bait and small fish … all of which get eaten by larger predators.
During the winter, Lake Charles is one of the best places in Louisiana to catch speckled trout.
Though Lake Charles lacks a massive footprint, it makes up for it in depth, which means there is plenty of water that becomes much clearer during the colder months. Besides the depth, the water clears because algae stop blooming in the winter.
Together, these conditions make the lake an ideal wintering ground for specks. Look for speckled trout at depths of 15 to 25 feet when the water is colder.
The trestles of I-10 and the old river channel are the best locations to hook into some trout, especially during the colder months.
Bottom rigs and tight-lining work well when the trout sit at the lower end of the thermocline, but warmer months make it easy if anglers follow the birds and work shrimp under popping corks.
The speckled trout fishing in Buras revolves around the Mississippi River running through, so fishing here can mean a long boat ride or a 5-minute sprint to your spot.
Spring usually means that the trout have left their winter hideouts in Delacroix and will head to Buras.
Rich with rigs and islands, the waters surrounding Buras are often topped with fresh muddy river water but beneath is the salty green habitat where trout thrive.
Locations like Stone and Lonesome Island and Black Bays platforms are all solid fishing spots where the layer of freshwater begins to dissipate.
The beautiful thing about the rising river is that it forces the fish to congregate in waters that are higher in salinity and warmer. These conditions help narrow down the fishing locations.
Then when the birds start working the water towards the latter part of spring, anglers can quickly lock in on schools of speckled trout in the waters around Buras in no time.
Buras is a little over an hour from New Orleans.
Golden Meadow is marked with PVC pipes and oyster reefs, making it the perfect trout haven.
One of the best locations to use minnows for speckled trout fishing, Golden Meadow is the rare exception where shrimp take a back seat to another species of prey and, therefore, natural bait selection.
Cocahoe minnows hatch in early spring, and until the shrimp arrive in force, anglers can do no wrong baiting a popping cork with the small fish.
The minnows are a speckled trout’s primary meal from March into early May. Using minnows for bait during the first half of spring works magic over oyster reefs, grass beds, and the shores of the surrounding bayous.
Once the shrimp begin arriving in May, anglers can switch to shrimp, both plastic and live versions, to liven up the action.
Locations anglers should fish around Golden Meadow include Catfish Lake, Bay Courant, and the cuts running into Bayou Blue.
Golden Meadow is just past Galliano, on the route to Grand Isle.
Catch More Speckled Trout
Follow the timing and techniques for each of our favorite speckled trout fishing spots in Louisiana and you’re almost sure to catch some of these great fish.
But we also suggest that you up your game and read our more detailed how-to article on fishing for speckled trout. It’s filled with simple techniques, lure and bait suggestions, trip timing, and other tips to catch more of these spotted sea trout.
Angling for speckled trout in Louisiana is among the most popular pastimes on the water.
Each fishing spot I shared has its unique flair, and local and visiting anglers can find the right place to limit out on specks any time of the year.
Always check to see the salinity levels of the waterways where you’ll be fishing, as this can drastically affect the success of your trip. If there’s too much freshwater coming in, look to one of the spots on the list that is less impacted by high rivers.
Also, make sure you understand the fishing regulations for the area you’ll be fishing. And good luck!