I am a young hunter compared to most on here so was not around to see the great days of the 70s and the 80s but I have heard the stories of the great migrations back then. I have been blessed to have done the majority of my serious duck hunting down in Dularge, LA. I started hunting down there in 2010, and we had great years even some absolutely amazing seasons since. Surprisingly our marsh has seemed to get healthier and the water a bit fresher each year. We now catch a good amount of bass on the lease while trout and redfishing which was nonexistent a few years back. The one thing I focus on every offseason is the amount of feed that builds up in the ponds. It's very simple. The more feed that builds up in the area, the more birds. Last year we had a decent year but were plagued by low water due to our area being so tidal. This past year was awful for everyone in our area including myself. I shot just over 100 birds this year while past years we would average over 400 sometimes getting all the way up to 700. This is hunting the same lease, same ponds, and same types of weather.
There are several theories as to why this season was down statewide, but all I can do is explain what I saw with my own eyes. What I have noticed over the past few years is the decline in the greenwing teal migration in my area. The gray ducks always seem to show up in our marsh as it is known to be a gray duck area. I assume this is because the close proximity to the sandy coast, but the greenwing teal were what helped us really pump our duck numbers up in the past. Each year they show up later and later. In years past we would shoot easy teal limits on opening weekend. Then, they would stay in our area throughout the entire season. Last year they showed up thick for the last two weeks of the season, and this year nada. I maybe shot 10 teal out there this year while the rest were just gray ducks. If you don't have a hard north front to bring new birds down nowadays, it is really no sense in hunting. It used to not be like this. Although I do not have an answer as to why the teal simply don't migrate down anymore I do have an opinion on why the gray duck numbers were way down in our area.
Maybe these issues that Flyway Federation and many people in Louisiana are complaining about with flooded corn fields and more have some sort of merit, but I believe the coastal weather months before the season plays an integral role in the overall migration. Every year my lease and those around me get loaded up with mats upon mats of wigeon grass in the summer. It gets so thick that it makes sight fishing redfish a nightmare due to getting grassed up every cast. High water and storms cause issues, but most of the grass survives if the water resides shortly after a few days. This year the grass was thicker than I've ever seen it, however, we had abnormally strong south winds for weeks towards the end of the summer paired with tropical storms that may not have caused serious coastal damage, but it caused saltwater intrustion for extended periods of time throughout not only Dularge but all of southeast Louisiana. I have a marsh camp that is raised 5 or 6 feet off the water, and I saw the water 3 or 4 feet higher than normal throughout much of August. These strong south winds and storms kept the water high for a longer period of time than a big hurricane would have just blowing through. I've noticed over the years that wigeon grass is super sensitive to high salinity levels. Those mats of wigeon grass that we normally have during duck season that are always loaded with gray ducks absolutely vanished a few weeks after those high water levels. We still had some wigeon grass, but not what we normally do. The only ponds that had grass this season were the ones behind weirs. Those ponds held birds temporarily until we shot them out. I think that the high water wiped out a significant amount of feed in our area that the gray ducks and others rely on to make home during the winter down here. Having a little bit of grass is not enough hold birds all year when you go set up and shoot all of the birds off each spot. Every year since 2010 besides this one, we have massive mats of grass that cover the middle of big ponds and bays. Those of which allow the gray ducks to raft up in areas that are extremely difficult for hunters to reach and almost make them un-huntable. It acts as sort of a safe-haven/feeding area for the birds which keeps them around during stretches of warmer weather.
For example, I was riding around all of Dularge fishing last weekend from Lake Decade, to Sister Lake, all the way to Lost Lake. I may have seen a total of 30 or 40 ducks, and this was after a big front right before this huge arctic blast that just came through. This is unheard of for our area. What I also saw was the lack of any grass beds, which would normally be clearly visible when the water was that low. We just did not have the amount of feed for ducks in general in our entire Dularge area this year. My friends who hunt in Slidell that normally hammer the birds said the same exact thing. Birds on front days, but no feed to keep them around. I imagine it was a lot of the same in other southeastern Louisiana marshes.
My point behind this post is that maybe we shouldn't be so quick to lash out and blame farming practices up north among other things. There were several detrimental factors this year that were all up to mother nature. I agree, the coastal zone opens a few weeks too early, and there are some changes that could be made. But, it makes sense to believe that ducks move south following only two things: (1)weather and (2)food. This is not the first year that we have had warm weather during duck season in south Louisiana. On opening weekend this year we had one of the strongest cold fronts that I can remember coming through that early. That leaves us with the issue of food. Also, this is not the first year that hunters up north have been growing corn and other crops then flooding them to hunt and hold birds. This has been going on for years north of us. The exponentially high water late this summer that caused major saltwater intrusion wiped out a significant amount of food source that all of these birds travel to south Louisiana for. It is known that the marshes down here are key to the migration of almost all kinds of ducks. The birds show up to the marshes in the beginning, find their food source, then develop their winter patterns from there. Those ducks move back and forth from the marsh to the fields of middle and north Louisiana due to weather throughout the season, but they always come back to the marsh. I have noticed that especially gray ducks only want to be in ponds when the water is a certain depth. They congregate on certain grass beds depending on how visible the grass is due to water depth. Specifically, birds want the grass to be an inch or two below the water at most in our area. The tides and north winds play a role in which grass beds are visible. It is like clockwork every single year, when the south winds blow the water high into the marsh, the birds move out and into the fields north of us. When the north winds blow the high water out of the marsh, the grays and other birds come right on back. But it is clearly obvious to me that they show up in our marsh in droves early in the season then develop these winter flight patterns from the marsh to the fields based off of the food source available in the marsh. Gray ducks, spoonies, pintails, and all kinds of birds roost in our marsh year after year. You can hear them each night throughout the season when the generator is turned off. They use the marsh as their home during the winter. My theory is the lack of food source in the southeast LA marshes prevented the birds from developing their normal winter patterns in our state as a whole. The birds most likely noticed the lack of feed and caused them to completely change the migration patterns further west this season towards more unaffected areas.
I apologize for the novel, but I've been following all the facebook rants and arguments for months now. I've been in college and grad school since 2012 so I have had plenty of free time to get away to Dularge and watch with my own eyes the changes from year to year. Let?s not let one bad year lead us to believe that duck hunting in Louisiana is dead or a thing of the past. There are multiple legit reasons as to why our duck numbers were lackluster this year. The most important of which is the lack of FOOD in the marshes that these birds heavily rely on. We had very similar issues with lack of feed back in 2011 or 2012 which yielded similar results. However, this year was by far the least amount of feed I have seen in my time hunting in Dularge. The shift of the migration towards the west is real, but is not necessarily permanent. There will most likely not be any big changes to regulations north of us, but this does not mean that Louisiana duck hunting is doomed. The feed in the marsh will grow back, and the birds will find it. Lets just hope that the high water holds off next year.
I just wanted to give my 2 cents. Take it for what its worth.
Whats up guys, its been a while, I used to be all over this website until they changed the format, but just checking in to see how many of my Dularge/cocodrie people are looking forward to the trout bite thats about to blow up. Shouldn't be long until we can go offshore to the islands and rigs. Has anyone been out to raccoon point, the pickets, or mardi gras recently? just seeing if anyone knows what the water looks like as of the past few weeks.
I just got this Minn Kota Copilot for my boat and after getting some work done to it, I mounted it on the boat and it worked fine last weekend down in Fourchon. Had no issues and was very impressed with it. Went down to the camp in Dularge this weekend to do a little fishing. Got to the first spot, plugged it in and heard the normal 'BEEP' it always gives then started to use the remote and everything was fine until I lowered it into the water and it worked for a few seconds then just quit on me. I messed with the trolling motor as much as I could on the water and nothing was happening it just would not work. Pushed the 'test' button on the trolling motor and it showed full battery. It was working fine and then all of a sudden nothing.... no beeps no nothing.... Has anyone ever had this issue before?? I am hoping it is just a dead remote battery because all of my connections seem to be fine. any help is greatly appreciated because it put a huge hamper on the fishing trip.... can't do much sight fishing without a trolling motor
Had the first trip of the year south of dularge at the rigs and islands. Fished with Zebco's and jumbo frozen shrimp from Rouse's on the bottom and slammed 95 nice trout. Sure was a good feelin' getting back out there!
Hey guys I've got a camp in the middle of the marsh that is essentially a metal shack kinda like a quanza hut on posts 10 feet off of the water. We noticed how unbearable it is to be in the camp during the summer when it is so hot even with two air conditioning units and in the winter when it is very cold it is impossible to keep the heat in from a small heater. We sprayed foam insulation all over the metal walls and thankfully the camp is only about 20 feet long and 15 or so feet wide but we came up short on our spraying. There is probably about a 5th of the metal wall on the camp that needs to be finished sprayed. We also walled in the front and back walls with the pink roll up insulation and covered with plywood. We have noticed a huge difference in keeping the cold air and warm air inside from the insulation but still when the sun comes out, it is noticeable that the remaining metal walls warm up the inside of the camp a good bit. I was wandering if you guys knew of a cheaper alternative to finishing the spray insulation other than spending another 500$-600$ on another purchase of spray insulation because we just don't need that much more. We would probably only us a 1/5th of that purchase to finish the camp. And being that we are in college the cheaper alternative is almost a must. If you guys know of anything else we could do or find a smaller amount of spray foam insulation please let me know!
So I borrowed a buddy's 25 horsepower yamaha 2 stroke outboard a while ago to use during teal season once and since then it has been sitting at my dad's house in the shed. I go to check it out not to long ago and the cover of the motor is missing..... How? I have no idea. The only thing I can think of is that it got stolen maybe but the motor has not been used at all since last time I put it in the shed. Everything on the motor works great its the most reliable little motor I have ever been around but now I am in the predicament of having a borrowed motor with no cover for it...... I feel awful and need to replace this cover before I give it back to my buddy but have no idea where to find a late 90's model 25 horsepower 2 stroke Yamaha outboard cover..... Is there anything I can do? Can I buy one brand new from somewhere? or does anyone know of a place that I could maybe find one?? thanks guys and god bless. I feel horrible that I borrowed someone's stuff and something happened to it, I need to fix it!
I've always used just the average decoy spread with groups of big ducks and other groups of teal on the outsides spread out accordingly around the blind with a few landing strips in front of the blind. What decoy spreads to ya'll throw out in the marsh? Im sure ducks have to get used to seeing the same ol thing and i think i'm falling victim to this at times with gray ducks getting smarter and smarter with no fronts pushing new birds down. I'm looking for some ideas for a game changer guys lemme know what ya'll think
I'm heading down to the camp this weekend with a few friends to do some fishing and hang out. I have been fishing around mud lake, deer bayou, and lake merchant recently with little luck. I am going to wake up saturday morning early and go try some new areas. My first move is heading straight for Taylor's Bayou, Bayou D'west, and fishing areas in there. Does anyone have any advice for this area? I'm going to be fishing it hard around Mudhole Bay, I've never fished out here before so any input is greatly appreciated thanks and god bless
Been a while guys but I got a chance away from school and made a quick fishing trip Friday down to Dularge in search of some trout and reds in the marsh. I've heard some good reports the past couple weeks of trout showing up in good numbers in the marsh and lakes in Dularge so I had to go give it a try. We started fishing some reefs and cuts in Lake Merchant picking up a few fish here and there but most were small school trout. As the day went on we moved down to Sister Lake and Bayou Saveur with very little luck. We then made the move to some of my spots in Deer Bayou and started pecking away at some nice trout, reds, flounder, and bass. Even though the day was slow over all I still saw some good signs of the fish moving in. I guess the warmer weather and small tide had things messed up a little bit, but we ended the day with 15 nice trout, 1 red, 1 bass, and 2 flounder. The water looked nice and all the ponds are loaded with grass so I've got high hopes for this duck season. Saw some nice flocks of teal but we've still got a month and some cold fronts to push down those big flocks of gray ducks. All the fish were caught on matrix shads either tightlined or under a cork. Hopefully I can get back down there next week sometime cuz its only a matter of time until they start showing up thick. Anyone else been catching lately?
Hey guys I've got a question about my Boat and motor so if anyone else has a Honda 225 four stroke please feel free to chime in. I've got a 22 foot Triton LTS bay boat with a 225 Honda Four stroke on it. Since I have gotten the boat three years ago it has treated me very well. I always go easy on the boat never pushing it above 30 to 35 mph but I have a question on how many RPM's I should be pushing at that speed. Running the boat at 30 Mph my boat runs at about 4300 RPM's and at about 4800 RPM's the boat runs at about 33 to 34 mph. Is this normal? I know the Triton is a heavy boat and the top end speed of the four strokes isn't very fast, but I am hoping that running my boat at 4700 RPM's all the time isn't putting too much strain on the motor. I have only pushed my boat wide open maybe a handful of times and it goes about 47 mph, but speed is not my concern. 30 mph gets where I need to go safely and just fine to me. My question is, what is the safest RPM's to be running my motor while cruising to my fishing spots for the motor's sake? Is 4500 RPM's on average normal to be running these motors? The reason why I am asking is because I am just a college kid trying to prolong the life of my motor as long as possible. Thankfully our good Lord has blessed me with no issues with it so far, but if anything catastrophic were to happen to it then I would definitely be in a serious bind financially, which is why I am searching for a little advice. Any input is greatly appreciated. Also what RPM's for these big four strokes is the most fuel efficient? I have been searching online trying to get answers but not finding much. Thanks guys in advance for the any help or input ya'll have. God bless and happy fishing fellas
What's happening guys, I am looking for some advice on bringing back the color of my fiberglass bay boat. it is a red and white triton bay boat and the red coloring on the boat is faded pretty badly. I am trying to bring back the color myself. What would you guys recommend to get the faded oxidation spots off of the red paint on the sides of the boat and also on the center console? I have tried buffing it a while ago with a cheap chemical i bought at academy but It didn't last very long. Is there more I need to do to restore the gel coat other than buffing that liquid onto it?? thanks guys and god bless
For those of you that have camps out in the marsh or even anywhere in the swamp, how Do you guys go about disinfecting and cleaning out a little camp that hasn't been used in 3 or 4 years? We have been sleeping in it fine but still I would like to get it a little more sanitary. It is just one open room
I'm heading offshore out of dularge and planning on hitting a section of rigs in about 50-55 feet of water around 35 or so miles out because I'm limited to a small gas tank in my bay boat. Can anyone give me any information on what kinds of fish we could possibly catch in 50 feet of water around these rigs? We've caught cobia out there before but just interested if there is anything else out there worth fishing for
Haven't been down to Dularge in over a month due to some issues that have been going on back here in Baton Rouge, but with all those settled and solved I decided last friday was a great day to get back on the water. Myself and two friends from home picked up my boat and got caught at the bridge by Falgout's opening twice.... So we got a late start, didn't start fishing until 7:30ish. We headed out to Lake Mechant and were greeted with perfect warm weather, calm seas, and beautiful water so my hopes were high. We bounced around almost every reef I know of in Mechant and Mud Lake and only managed to pick up a few trout at every stop. Surprisingly the water was extremely low but very clean. We managed catching 17 nice trout on Matrix shads but nothing like I had hoped. We would pull up to a reef, catch a few real quick then it would die down. Did not see a single flock of birds diving in the lake and didn't see a single shrimp popping. There was a falling tide all day with great conditions but I guess everything is about a month late due to the late, cold winter. I am still waiting on the shrimp to show up in the lakes then it should be game on. Before we left we did a little sightfishing in the shallow ponds off of Mechant and managed 9 quick reds and a nice bass. All of these were caught on spinnerbaits right next to the boat. With the low water the reds were a little more spooky than usual, but there's always some willing to eat no matter the conditions. I am hoping to get back down there this weekend to catch a few fish. Has anyone else been fishing down there lately with any success on trout?
Made another one of my frequent fishing trips down to dularge this morning because I had to drop my boat off at Pellegrin Marine in Houma this afternoon to get its annual service. Headed down early this morning with 3 friends from Baton Rouge, Elliot Diel, Corey Holmes, and Logan Messina from Dallas. We launched the boat at 6am and we were off to fish the bayous and marsh on the northeast end of Lake Mechant. We started off fishing the same spots we have been fishing since duck season ended that have been producing a bunch of redfish and occasionally some good trout bites. Today was all trout, by 9 am we had 40 in the boat then I decided to go try an area that I bass fish during the summer. Found a good canal with plenty current flowing through it with the incoming tide and plenty of cuts leading into the marsh. We started catching nice 16 inch trout consistently in the deeper water using green hornet matrix shads bouncing them off the bottom in the middle of the canal then made our way to the cuts leading into the marsh. It was game on from that moment on. I switched over to a green tsunami swim bait and we all began hammering the trout every cast in the shallower water. With 10 fish left to fill our 4 man limit I hooked into the biggest trout I have ever caught personally and just as my buddy Corey got him in the net the bait flew out of his mouth. God must have answered my prayers this morning when I woke up haha the trout was 25 and a half inches and anywhere from 5 to 6 pounds. Had a great trip out there today and can\'t wait for this weather to warm up and hit the lakes for some fast trout action. In a matter of 10 minutes I caught a bass, redfish and a 5 pound trout.... Nothing better than the DU! Ended the day with 100 trout, 2 reds, and one bass
Good luck out there and go get on those trout while this weather allows
Had a great time fishing beside Captain Rob Dupont and Captain Marty Lacoste early in the morning, they're always feeling Froggy lol Marty take care of my spring break glasses
Fishing in Dularge lately has been very good recently with the cold weather and now with some warmer weather approaching I am excited about what Spring time has to bring for down there. Most of the fishing I have been doing has been on the Eastern region of Dularge. Launching at Jugs and fishing bayous and canals anywhere from the Eastern end of Lake Mechant, mud Lake, and around the Bayou Saveur area. I do a lot of sightfishing for redfish during the late summer around Lost Lake and Lake Carencro in the surrounding duck ponds. I always see far fewer boats in these areas when I am out there. I have to think that these areas just don't get as much fishing pressure especially this time of year. I am fishing saturday and am planning on trying to find some good canals on the south end of Lost Lake.
Do any of ya'll have any experience fishing this area during the winter months and early spring like it is now?? I am hoping to find some good canals for trout fishing. I am going to start at Rice Bayou, and make my way East fishing areas such as Eagle Bayou, Eagle Lake, and Lake Pagie. I have never fished these areas before But I am just looking to explore a little and hopefully find some new areas with not as much fishing pressure. Very happy with the results we have been having lately around Lake Mechant but I'm eager for a day of exploration. Let me know if any of you guys have any experience fishing these areas this time of year
Made a trip yesterday with a couple of my buddies from Baton Rouge that normally join me down in the DU. On the way down we were excited about the warmer temperatures outside and the rising water temperatures. We were hoping so smack the trout like we did last monday but things didn't exactly play out that way. We launched at Jugs and were on our way for another day of fishing. We hit a number of canals from around Bayou Saveur, Mud Lake, and Lake Mechant with the same results. Picking up a few trout quick then everything would die off. The water was very clean and the tide was falling all day but for some reason the trout just didn't want to cooperate. After finally realizing the trout didn't want to bite for some reason we headed for the marsh around noon. Fished for a couple hours in shallow duck ponds and managed 18 redfish to salvage the day. All fish were caught on tsunami swim baits, H&H swimbaits and green hornet matrix shads in about a foot and a half of moving water outside of the grass lines. The sun stayed behind the clouds all day so sightfishing wasn't a possibility but we still managed to fill up the Yeti. Had a great time as always on the water even though the fishing wasn't amazing. Biggest surprise of the trip was when my buddy caught a tagged redfish that said Call this number for a reward! Going to call it in today and see what that has to offer. First tagged redfish caught out of my boat and hopefully many more to come
Now with duck season over I decided to get the dust and cobwebs off of the bay boat and take her out for a day of fishing in dularge. We left Baton Rouge at 4 am and got on the water around 6:30 and we were off for another amazing day down in paradise. We hit a few holes where the reds were biting extremely well towards the end of duck season and we didn't manage a bite the entire morning. The tide wasn't moving very well so we decided to make the move further south around Bayou Seveur and still nothing for a couple hours.... Then finally the tide started moving right around noon when we were thinking about heading back to Baton Rouge and we found a cut with good water movement and it was on. Started slinging in reds consistently for the next hour and a half until we finished our 4 man limit. We also managed to catch 4 nice trout and a flounder amidst the school of redfish. I had my buddies from Dallas with me who don't ever get to do much saltwater fishing so they wanted to try and get on some big fish before we went home. I went into a deeper canal and we just let the matrix shads sit on the bottom until something came along and picked them up. Sure enough we got two nice bullreds in about 15 minutes and then we called it a day. Great way to get the bay boat geared up for the long fishing season ahead of us. Every single fish was caught on either the green hornet matrix shads or the tiger bait matrix shad.
It is amazing how many ducks I saw down in dularge yesterday. Driving through Lake Mechant and Mud Lake I was jumping thousands and thousands of birds all day long. I guess the ducks are smarter than us, they know when its safe for them to finally make it down. Perfect timing....
All in all I can't really make any complaints for the past duck season we just had in Dularge. The season most definatley had its ups and downs but I got to go on some great hunts with some of my closest friends and whether you are killing or not we all know its almost always a great time in the marsh. I made a total of 39 hunts this year and we ended duck season with 396 birds. Kind of wished we could have broken the 400 mark but beggars cant be choosers. Of course the most success was had hunting the days of the front down in dularge but we also had some outstanding hunts on those calm sunny days. The secret to hunting this year for us was to hunt mid day and hunt smaller ponds where those grays have to fully commit to the decoys instead of landing 30 yards outside of them. I don't have the exact numbers on me but of those 396 birds it wouldn't surprise me if 300 to 320 of them were gray ducks. The rest were mainly teal with 3 pintails, 1 green head, 1 wigeon, and a couple redheads, dos gris and canvasbacks mixed in. Did anyone else this year notice the significant decrease in the amount of dos gris that made it down to the marshes?? last year it seemed as if we couldn't keep them off of us and this year we seriously may have killed 5 or 6! The second split was by far better for us than the first split but the last week of the season was about as slow as it gets. Thank goodness for redfish to salvage the day because the birds must have caught on to our 8 decoy spread in smaller potholes because they wouldn't come near us last week. Im sure some people had great seasons and others had bad ones but I hope ya'lls season was as enjoyable as mine. I didn't get to make hunts this year with my friends Capt. Marty Lacoste or Capt. Chris Venable but we will for sure be going on a few next year. Taking a few weeks off to concentrate on school and then time to get the Triton ready to go for fishing season.... also that means time to really empty out my wallet on gas
So far this season has had it's ups and downs but things are looking great for the rest of the year down in the DU! Hunted the front this morning with my buddies Dylan Fellipe and Elliot Diel and we had flocks of 10 to 15 grays coming in the decoys non stop all morning. We finished at 7:30 with our 13 gray ducks and 5 teal. Should have passed on the teal to shoot some more big ducks but hey beggars can't be choosers. Taking the day off tomorrow and Wednesday but we'll be back at em from Thursday morning on. Good luck to everyone and enjoy the last couple weeks of the season, it goes by quick!