After Spillway Opening, Will Speckled Trout Move From Lake Pontchartrain?

By on February 1, 2016

It’s remarkable how manmade structures can affect the behaviors of fish. In Lake Pontchartrain, one big structure to keep an eye on is the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which typically stays closed until late spring to keep the lake separated from a nearby marsh.

But this year, things are different. The spillway had to be opened up a bit earlier than usual to let the overflowing Mississippi River reach the Gulf of Mexico more easily. And all the buzz, for anglers as well as researchers that track fish in the lake, is centered on the movements of speckled trout.

The theory so far is that the trout will have migrated from Lake Pontchartrain into the marsh because its waters are more saline at the moment. But that remains to be seen, as scientists from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be heading out on the lake to gather trout tracking data from receivers around Pontchartrain in the next few weeks.

It’s unclear what the analysis will find. History would dictate that the trout have indeed migrated away from the lake, but there’s no knowing until all the data have been collected and analyzed.

The Bonnet Carre Spillway had to be opened early this year. (Credit: NASA Suomi NPP / Viirs satellite I)


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