Southwestern Louisiana is bayou territory and the Lake Charles area is home to plenty of redfish and trout in the marshes of Big Lake. Traveling to the end of Big Pasture Road in Calcasieu Parish brings the traveling angler to Grosse Savanne Lodge. There are still plenty of cattle in the big pasture but the real wildlife treasure lie in the several thousand acres of bayou that holds large and aggressive redfish.
Guide Blake Miller has been at Grosse Savanne for a few seasons now, and he says that October and November are particularly strong months for redfishing. Miller whisked my fishing partner and I down a channel in the bayou under dawn's early light in a standard 18-foot john boat. The 20-horsepower engine rigged with a tiller steer is perfect for navigating the canals put in place here by big oil for their pipelines.
Using a Shimano light tackle spinning rod and reel combo, I tied on a Gulp swimming minnow in chartreuse with a twister tail. The seagulls were barking just above some nervous water and after a few casts to that area I was hooked up with my first redfish. What a fight! The 32-inch, bronze-colored game fish showed off his muscles by thrashing the water and pulling hard before coming to the dip net. This fish ended up being the biggest fish of the day, but just barely.
We were fishing in water just 2 feet deep with a muddy bottom when Ron Presley twitched his jig and another large redfish inhaled it. This redfish measured 30 inches and in short order we had each released several more redfish just shy of this same length. On one cast and retrieve Presly picked up a nice flounder, but he remained shut out by the trout and was not able to tally an inshore slam.
After a 20-minute run through the bayou we were back at the lodge for a Cajun lunch of crawfish etouffee. A panoramic view of the marsh can be viewed from the screened wrap-around porch at Grosse Savanne, offering sun weary anglers a place to relax and reminisce about the wonders of the marsh. Every trip here is an eco-tour with sightings of wading birds like the roseate spoonbill and migratory waterfowl like specklebelly geese.
The water is teeming with wildlife and all the blue crabs, shrimp and herring keep the redfish fast-growing and healthy. A fresh fish dinner is part of your stay, with a heaping helping of Cajun spices too! Grosse Savanne literally means Big Pasture, but this is also the place where the redfish roam. They roam through the canals and creeks, and into the marshes, giving anglers a bounty of reasons to come to the bayou.