Mid-Winter Perch Piled Like Cordwood in St. Tammany Canals



Posted on January 27, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 27 at 7:33 PM

Frank Davis / Fishing Expert

Occasionally the word gets around that lots and lot of perch are holed up in one particular canal that's easily accessible to the public just off a major highway. Well, that's what Capt. Kenny Kreeger and I stumbled upon this Thursday....and the action at all these locations promises to continue throughout the entire weekend and much beyond.

"By 15 to 20 minutes after 10 o'clock, we had pulled 45 really nice perch-and I'm talking bluegills, lakerunners, pumpkinseeds, chinquapins, and several other species-out of a canal perpendicular to U.S. Hwy 11 in St. Tammany Paris," Capt. Kenny admitted with a sense of pride. "And catching 'em was kinda like a walk in the park-we were using both a 30-inch drop leader under a popping cork as well as a bottom rig made up of a 12-inch leader, a split shot, and a perch hook.

"And to make the simple even simpler, we baited both terminal riggings with halves of large live nightcrawlers. By the way, over a half dozen varieties of sunfish, at least, were in the creel."

Since we are still in the throes of winter and since the water flowing out of Lake Pontchartrain back into the marsh drains is in the high 40's and low 50's, these clusters of perch and goggle-eyes are in the deepest sections of these drains.

"Those we caught Thursday," Capt. Kreeger noted, "were taken from the center line depths of these canals. For example, let's say the canal you're fishing in has a mean depth of 8 feet with a max depth of 12 feet in spots right down the middle of the canal, dropping off from a 2-foot-deep shoreline, these sunfish will be clustered all in a pile right at the 12-foot level. It's the warmest water around and the one spot where they feel most comfortable.

"It's just basic biology," Capt. Kenny, reminded.

Now, while we indeed were fishing one of North Shore's predominant canal drains off U.S. Hwy 11, other freshwater canals can be just as productive, places like Carr Drive, Borrowed Bayou, Irish Bayou, Bayou Liberty, Oyster Factory Canal on U.S. 90 in Orleans Parish, Lake Road in Lacombe, East Pearl, West Pearl, and Middle Pearl River, and hundreds of other heretofore un-fished water ways.

"Oh-get this," Kreeger added. "As a professional guide, I not only guide from a boat, I can take folks interested in learning how this bank-fishing stuff works and guide them-and teach them-all about shoreline fishing at a number of popular and productive spots. Setting up a trip works the same as reserving my boat-just call me in advance at 985-643-2944 and we'll set a date. Of course, it's always first come first serve. . .but some bank spots allow for more than one fisherman at a time. That's why I make group guiding available."

Next week we head down to Cocodrie for the first time since the BP spill brought Terrebonne Parish fishing to a screeching halt. My crew and I will meet up with Johnny and Michael Glover from Coco Marina and see what's out there to catch. I'll give you a firsthand accounting of the available action the moment we set foot back on Terra Firma.

Till then, don't catch all my perch this weekend, okay? Frank Davis

P.S. I've saved the fish we caught today and I'll cook them for you on the Morning Show a week or so after the Superbowl.