John's Journal...

The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu

More Trout and More Reds on an Ill Wind

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Last week, I fished the Speckled Trout Capital of the world – Hackberry, Louisiana, located on Lake Calcasieu in the western section of the state. In 2005, Hackberry Rod and Gun was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. However, in 10 months, with a lot of hard work and sweat, it was restored. Today, it’s better and stronger than ever before, and the lake homes giant speckled trout, big redfish and plenty of medium-to- small fish. This week, we’ll take a look at fishing from Hackberry Rod and Gun. But I won’t be able to show you the delicious food I ate – gumbo, fish and all your favorite vegetables, meats and desserts. Life doesn’t get any betteClick to enlarger than it is at Hackberry. Kirk Stansel, one of the owners of Hackberry Rod and Gun, was my guide this past week on Lake Calcasieu.

Question: Kirk, what happened when Rita hit?
Stansel: A 9-foot storm surge came through Hackberry and wiped out the docks, the lodge and everything we owned. The surge was powered by 100- to 150-mile-per-hour winds that pushed the water right through our building.

Question: What happened to the fish?
Stansel: We had a fish kill right after the storm, but when all the organic matter from the banks was flushed back into the lake and started decaying, the numbers and varieties of fish returned with a vengeance.

Question: What is speckled-trout fishing like now at Lake Calcasieu?
Stansel: All the new vegetation in the water has stimulated the baitfish and the shrimp, and this region really has started on an upward trend of not only seeing larger numbers of speckled trout and redfClick to enlargeish, but bigger speckled trout and redfish than we’ve seen in recent years.

Question: How big are the trout you’re catching now?
Stansel: We’re catching 7- to 9-pound trout regularly. Some days, you may only catch one that size, and some days, you may catch three or four that size, if you fish for big trout instead ofClick to enlarge schooling trout.

Question: How many guides do you have at Hackberry Rod and Gun?
Stansel: On an average day, we’ll send out 14 to 15 boats with guides, but we can run as many as 20 with two or three fishermen in each boat, plus the guide.

Question: How are you finding and catching the fish?
Stansle: Right now, to catch the big trout, we’re fishing the shoreline. We also fish under working birds and drift over oyster reefs. We’re fishing with many artificial lures or live bait. The fishing has been so good that you can catch specks and reds with any kind of bait you want to fish. There are plenty of fish right now, and most of our customers are catching and releasing trout and reds each day, keeping the bigger fish to eat. However, we do release our trophy fish.

To learn more about Hackberry Rod and Gun, go to, or call 888-762-3391.

Tomorrow: Big Trout on the Shoreline

Check back each day this week for more about "The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu"

Day 1: More Trout and More Reds on an Ill Wind
Day 2: Big Trout on the Shoreline
Day 3: Trout Fishing Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This
Day 4: What about the Redfish?
Day 5: What about the Birds?



Entry 408, Day 1