Outdoor Corner: The Rainbows Return

Lyle Johnson

Back a few years ago when someone around here talked about rainbows, it was often after a rain, and a beautiful bow was seen. God gave us the multi-colored bow back in the days of Noah after the flood had accomplished its purpose. “ I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

This is my first rainbow trout, a 19 incher caught in Geskakmina Lake fishing in Alaska.

The other rainbow talked about was a world class vacuum cleaner that goes by the name “Rainbow.” But that changed for me in 2008 when my wife and I took our first trip to Alaska to visit my daughter and her family on Eielson Airforce Base in Fairbanks.

That’s when I was introduced to the other rainbow; the rainbow trout. My son-in-law and I chartered a float plane to fly us to Geskakmina Lake to try our luck at rainbow trout and silver salmon.

After an incredible flight of 75 miles west of Fairbanks over some the Alaskan bush we spent 24 hours after being dropped off at a cabin and experienced some great fishing.

We stood on the bank for about 15 minutes, awestruck at our surroundings before one of us came to our senses and realized we had some fishing to do. My first cast resulted in hooking up with a 19” rainbow trout that jumped four times out of the water before I landed it. I was hooked (pun intended) for life.

I had a couple of more opportunities to repeat my trips to Alaska and catch more rainbow trout visiting my family. That got a little far to travel so I would have to find other ways to do that after they got transferred back to Eglin AFB in Florida.

My partner on Ascension Outdoors TV Show, Goosie Guice had never caught a rainbow trout so he put catching one of the beautiful species of fish on his bucket list. He’d heard the BREC parks in Baton Rouge stocked them every winter so we headed out one Saturday afternoon a few years ago in search of the rainbow colored trout at a couple of the ponds.

So after a big flop on our first attempt at catching a rainbow trout there, we came up with a pretty good idea. “Why can’t we just get them stocked somewhere in Ascension Parish. So we approached then parish president Tommy Martinez about the possibility of that happening here. He directed us to our councilman at the time, Chris Loar and the rest is history.

The first year of the stocking program netted the bank anglers 500 rainbow trout stocked at Lamar Dixon. They are purchased from a fish hatchery in Missouri and trucked to wherever they are purchased. A hose is connected on the truck and placed in the pond. A valve is opened causing the water and trout from the holding tank into the water.

Stocking always takes place in the winter as rainbow trout are cold water fish. The water temperature has to get in the low 50s before they are shipped and stocked. The fish last until spring until the water heats up above 70 degrees. At that time their chance of survival becomes very slim.

In a year of a lot of disappointments and other stuff happened that I won’t mention, our great parish government opted to continue the stocking program. Last Thursday 1000 lbs of rainbow trout were dumped into the big pond, ready for the public to go after them once again.

Rainbow trout are pretty aggressive feeders and not terribly hard to catch. But they are fish and don’t bite sometimes as good as others. Artificial baits work well sometime and is my preferred method. Small spinners work well but a variety of small bass lures such as a rattle trap are effective as well.

Jaci Lavigne killed this 7 point buck hunting with her dad Ty in St. Gabriel. She killed the deer with a 7mm-08 and made about a 50 yard shot.

Bait on a hook is the most productive, being the preferred method of most folks and easiest for a kid to use. A sinker heavy enough to cast out with a small hook is pretty much all you need to catch them. Tight lining is the easiest way. They can also be caught under a cork.

Bait selection is pretty unusual. Marshmallows (mini) work extremely well; that’s right marshmallows especially pink but white and green will work as well. Canned corn and night crawlers will work pretty good as well. They will probably eat just about anything with smell.

The most popular is the manufactured baits available at just about any tackle store. Berkley produces Power Bait and Gulp in pink, orange and chartreuse colors that are in different shapes, even corn. Salmon eggs that are pink or orange are effective as well.

The pond is very accessible to get around and plenty of room for bored kids to run and jump if they get a little antsy. I highly recommend a few hours of trying this out even for someone with little or no fishing experience. The folks fishing around you will be glad to give you tips if you are a little uncertain of just what to do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my loyal readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah remembering that Jesus is the real reason for the season. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloth, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Hope to see you soon out at the pond. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard, be safe in the outdoors and may God truly bless you!