There’s more to the bayou than “Choot ‘em!” In fact, “Catch ‘em” might be more appropriate.

Bayous are slow moving streams that filter through the swamp and marshlands of the Southern United States, and anyone who’s ever watched Swamp People knows there’s ‘gators in them dirty waters. However, that’s not all there is lurking under the surface.

Bayous linked to marshes can be extremely productive for speckled trout fishing if anglers know how to target them.

Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun on Louisiana’s famed Lake Calcasieu says that under the right conditions bayou fishing can be fantastic.

“It’s all about being there at the right time, when the conditions are just right,” he said.

The No. 1 time for bayou trout is within a few days of the first strong cold front of fall. Pacific fronts don't count. You want the big Canadian fronts that really make a difference. With the right front, barometric pressure starts falling the day before it arrives and a strong south wind bends the reeds and grass. This is prime time, as the trout that have been living the good life in the backs of the marsh begin to pour into the bay. Normally these fish get aggressive and feed heavily on shrimp.

The day after the front blows through is normally a tough bite, so skip it. Stay home and catch an early season football game. Typically, though, two days after the front hits is the best bayou bite. This window of opportunity routinely produces the biggest quality and quantity of the fall season.

Shrimp are the primary forage. Key technique is live bait or a soft-plastic shrimp under a popping cork like the Paradise Popper Xtreme, which creates the sound of a trout feeding on the surface and causes a competitive predatory instinct to kick in. Pop the cork quickly three times and let it sit for five seconds. Keep repeating this process, although many times the fish will hit as soon as the rig hits the water.

Another underrated but effective tactic for catching trout in this scenario is rigging a soft-plastic shrimp directly to the line with no cork. Throw it out and reel it on the surface. Keep the rod tip high and the shrimp moving. When shrimp are agitated or frightened you will often see them swimming in the surface, and when trout are in a frenzy, this drives them crazy. The key is to be careful on hookset. You will get many blowups but wait for a trout to pull it under.

Anglers do not have to wait until fronts arrive to catch trout in the bayous. They simply have to be aware of tidal movements and presence of baitfish (shad/menhaden and shrimp) and work key locations in the bayous. If the bait are thick and there is a moving tide, especially an outgoing tide or a very strong incoming one, the trout fishing can be dynamite.

The first thing to look is an eddy or area of slack water. This water feature forms at the mouths of bayous and are often very pronounced -- particularly on incoming tides. The baitfish moving into or out of a bayou seek refuge in the slack water and are easy prey for these voracious predators.

The second spots to look for are stands of roseau cane, which often grow around the mouth of bayous and bay shorelines. That is the tall cane that duck hunters use for their blinds and it often signals a change in bottom composure. Cane needs a slightly harder bottom than the marsh grasses to grow. On high tides its intricate root system draws in baitfish, and when it starts to drop the predatory fish like trout move in.

Search out the first big "S" turn the interior of bayous as a secondary location. This is usually the deepest spot in the coastal bayou and any drop-off there will potentially hold trout. Many coastal bayous feature manmade canals and square lakes created by petrochemical companies to make levees and roadways, and at times these spots can make for sold trout fishing. High tides and big south winds bring many fish into these spots as the fish are almost pushed in by the forces of nature. A good way to check if the fish are in these spots is the presence of alligators. A lot of gators normally means there are a lot of fish there, and although they may steal a few from you, their presence can be a positive.

Something else to consider is the manmade cover found in these ecosystems. Bridges, pipe stands, boat wrecks and other trash is welcomed by fish, which all cling to the cover. Any kind of cover in a barren area can be a hot spot.

The best of this type of cover and structure are bridges with multiple pilings holding them in place. The pilings provide current breaks and great ambush locations for trout. The fish like to body-up on the down-current side of the cover and attack the bait that moves through. This is another great location for a popping cork because lures designed to be worked on the bottom often catch more snags than fish.

It is also a great spot to throw a topwater like a Badonk-A-Donk or Walkie Talkie, especially if you see a lot of bait moving through on a big tide early in the morning.

Position your boat up-current of the bridge and work your offering under the bridge and tight to the edges. If this does not pay off, move to the other side and work your lure across the flow of current. Using a walk-the-dog retrieve in a medium pace usually gets the job done and may even draw in a few redfish.

 Bayous are unique ecosystems that span thousands of miles from Florida to Texas. Learning how to properly utilize them can help anglers catch a lot of fish. There are usually few giant specks caught in the bayous, however, so don’t expect many head turners.

Bayou fishing is all about numbers and supplying the family with the chief ingredient for a dinner you don’t have to “Choot!”