Big shrimp return to Lake Pontchartrain in big numbers

Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 2:37 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - People who like big shrimp are rejoicing. That’s because some of the biggest white shrimp many have seen are now showing up in Lake Pontchartrain.

Old-timers say it’s like the good all days. Shrimp like they’ve never seen before in Lake Pontchartrain instead of offshore, and they credit a number of factors.

“These shrimp are primo the best we’ve seen around here since 2010,” said shrimper Paul Newton.

For the last several weeks, shrimp boats have been a common sight on Lake Pontchartrain.

“I went out three days ago and caught 500 pounds,” Bill Thonn said.

Experts believe the shrimp are a payoff for having to dodge so many tropical storms this hurricane season.

“Mostly because of the storms pushed the salt water, and the white shrimp like the freshwater so they run all the way up to Lake Maurepas,” Newton said.

Such catches used to be commonplace in Lake Pontchartrain but now they are rare.

Even though the storms are long gone persistent easterly winds have kept the lake level up, and the shrimp in Lake Pontchartrain.

“When they close the Mr. go the Lake got fresher but it’s also what the white shrimp like,” said John Lopez, the director of coast and community programs, for the Pontchartrain Conservancy.

Many boats are around right now because it’s daytime. It’s at night that the real shrimping activity picks up on Lake Pontchartrain.'

“At night they feel like they’re less likely to get eaten by speckled tropical redfish,” Lopez said.

Here’s the bad news.

“If I could sell my boat right now I would get out of it,” Thonn said.

Paul Newton says he’s only getting $1.50 a pound for the most beautiful shrimp he’s ever seen.

“It ain’t worth me selling to the dock it’s a waste of my time,” Newton said.

For now, he and others say they will share the shrimp with family and friends as they enjoy one of the best Lake Pontchartrain shrimping seasons they’ve seen in a long time.

“I was born doing it that’s why I’m doing it now I love it,” Thonn said.

Many people say they are catching speckled trout and shrimp on many of the sea walls surrounding Lake Pontchartrain. The Dept of Wildlife And Fisheries Says the shrimp catch is up but they do not have official estimates at this time.

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