Louisiana is know for good red drum fishing and Grosse Savanne Waterfoul and Wildlife Lodge is known for big ones. Anglers can choose a day trip with a professional guide or stay overnight and fish the next morning. The overnight package includes comfortable lodging, beverages and snacks, and a dinner to die for. The following morning a continental breakfast is provided before launching on a 4- to 6-hour, guided saltwater fishing trip. Anglers can bring their own tackle or have it provided. At the end of the trip fish are processed and anglers settle in for a gourmet lunch where they can tell tall tales of the days adventure.
As luck would have it on my trip I paired up with a friend from North Carolina. Jeff Dennis is a seasoned outdoor writer, photographer and blogger. Our hopes and plans were to put some big Louisiana redfish in the boat and get a few photos.
Our guide for the day, Capt. Blake Miller, launched the 20 foot jon boat and all our equipment just about sunrise. We were entering a 10,000 acre private marsh full of big red drum. It was a short ride through the marsh canals to our targeted fishing grounds.
A flock of hovering, diving birds made it easy to spot some redfish activity. Capt. Miller used the trolling motor to move the boat into casting distance. After a few casts bull red number one was “fish on.” A good choice of tackle for these Grosse Savanne reds is a medium-heavy rod and a 4000 series reel. Spool with 20 pound braid and add a 30 pound mono leader.
Capt. Miller chose jigheads pinned with a chartreuse Gulp Swimming Minnow, his bait of choice for the reds. We applied a little action to the bait with a simple reel and twitch to trigger the bite. Jeff brought the first fish to the boat, a nice 32 inch red. A few minutes later I was hooked up to what turned out to be a 30 inch fish. These reds were beefy, broad shouldered and spunky. They did not give up without a really good fight.
Before the day was over we had hooked and landed several reds in the 30 pound-plus category. Fishing is a year-round activity, but Capt. Miller explained earlier that October fishing in the marsh was mostly about the reds. We did manage one nice flounder, but the best flounder fishing doesn't really get cranked up until after the first good cold spell and it was a little late in the season for trout in the marsh. There was no disappointment at not catching flounder or trout, the reds were just too much fun.
Nevertheless, variety is part of the deal at Grosse Savanne. If freshwater fishing is your cup of tea you can enjoy that too. Another writer in our party fished for bass with great success. The lodge offers 484 and 70 acre fresh water impoundments that are loaded with bass and bull bream. Fly fishing anglers can be accommodated in either the fresh or saltwater environs.
Anglers should know that fishing licenses are not available at the lodge and should be purchased before arriving. They can be obtained online at http://www.wlf.state.la.us/licenses.
There is much more to Grosse Savanne than the fishing. The meals, all prepared by an in-house chef, have to be listed towards the top. Our evening meal was filet mignon with Cajun spices, skillet potatoes and sumptuous carrots followed by a luscious cheese cake for dessert. A continental breakfast sent us off to the water and a lunch of crawfish etouffee awaited us at lunch.
The wildlife in the area is outstanding too. An ecotour was added to the lodge offerings just this year to take advantage of the many birding and wildlife opportunities found on the property. Their website reports, “Grosse Savanne’s vast property of over 50,000 acres is nearly split in half by the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a nationally acclaimed “Louisiana Outback” wildlife and photography trail. Grosse Savanne Eco-tours has unlimited access to a multitude of various ecotypes including both fresh and salt water marshes, cypress swamps, native coastal prairies, pine forest plantations, and agricultural lands.”
For more information on fishing, hunting and ecotour packages available at Grosse Savanne visit their website at http://www.grossesavanne.com. For more information on the Lake Charles area visit http://www.visitlakecharles.org.