The Mississippi River in New Orleans hit flood stage, 17 feet, at the Carrollton Gauge, Monday morning.
The Army Corps of Engineers opened additional sections of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in an attempt to keep the level at or below flood stage downriver. So far, 183 of the 350 bays on the mile-wide Spillway are open.
Fresh water from the river is now flowing at a rate of about 192-thousand cubic feet per second through the Spillway into brackish Lake Pontchartrain.
Stephen Dematteo ran his crab traps on Monday. He says the cold and dirty river water is pushing crabs out of the lake.
"It definitely dropped off right when they opened (the Spillway)," Dematteo said. "We're hoping that they close it within the next week or so."
Dematteo arrived at the dock in Kenner's Laketown with only two boxes of crabs.
"Normally, we'll catch anywhere from seven to 10 pans on a decent day," Dematteo said.
Slidell-based charter captain Mike Gallo says there are still fish to be caught in the lake, if you know where to look.
"It will be dirty on the south shore first," Gallo said. "There will be pockets of clean water along the north shore. It will confine those fish for a short time and then they'll move east as the dirty water moves east, also."
Coastal scientist John Lopez from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is monitoring effects from the Spillway opening.
"So, that plume is coming out of the Spillway and then moving eastward, kind of along the Kenner, New Orleans Lakefront," Lopez said. "The river water is starting to fill up Lake Pontchartrain. It's probably only half full of river water."
As the Army Corps of Engineers opens additional sections of the Spillway, Lopez doesn't expect any long-term negative effects on the lake.
"We are monitoring the basic water quality going in there," Lopez said. "We'll be monitoring for algae blooms in the next few months."
There's some evidence a Spillway opening can actually stimulate the lake fisheries. It's something Charter Captain Gallo is expecting.
"It sort of replenishes the lake and the bait supply which all of the predators that we tend to catch feed on," Gallo said.
Fish are expected to move into Lake Borne, then the Mississippi Sound and Biloxi Marsh until the Spillway closes and Lake Pontchartrain returns to normal.