LDWF News Release

LDWF, CPRA and DNR Visit Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Discuss Coastal Restoration

Release Date: 08/11/2016

Aug. 11, 2016 – Coastal restoration in southwest Louisiana and the importance of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in the process were the primary topics as the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA),  the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Chenier Plain Authority met Aug. 4 at the refuge.
Scooter Trosclair, program manager at Rockefeller Refuge, explained to the assembled groups why the refuge is such a crucial component to the hydrology of the Mermentau Basin in southwest Louisiana. The meeting was coordinated by Trosclair and Cameron Parish Administrator Ryan Bourriaque.
“What you’ll see here are the same coastal issues that are occurring in all of southwest Louisiana,’’ Trosclair said. “The ways we are trying to learn how to fix problems here could help Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes. The solutions we try to discover at Rockefeller not only help the sub-Mermentau Basin but are just as important to our neighbors all the way up to I-10.’’
In addition to discussing hydrological issues facing the Mermentau Basin, the group visited several projects at the refuge, including the new LSU-Tom Hess Water Control Structure, which fuses gravity drainage, estuary management and recreational fishing piers into one structure.
The group also visited the site of the upcoming ME-18 Shoreline Protection project. This project will build segmented breakwaters, or rock walls, 75 yards off the coastline in order to slow the rate of erosion and begin building land outward toward the gulf. This project will begin next spring, running from Joseph Harbor west for 3-4 miles.
Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes are located in a critical area for draining much of southwestern Louisiana. The Chenier Plain Authority, a tri-parish organization consisting of representatives from Cameron, Calcasieu, and Vermillion parishes, is involved working in the planning stages of these projects to ensure concerns are met on a local level.
For more information, contact Gabe Giffin at ggiffin@wlf.la.gov or 337-491-2000. 


Caddo Lake, Lake Bistineau Among Nation’s Top Bass Fishing Spots, According to National Publication

Release Date: 08/11/2016

Northwest Louisiana may be the bass-fishing Mecca of the Sportsman’s Paradise.  According to Bassmaster Magazine, three lakes located in that part of the state are among the top 25 bass fishing lakes in the central United States.

Toledo Bend’s reputation is well documented. For two straight years, Bassmaster Magazine named it the nation’s top destination for bass fishing (see recent story, Toledo Bend Reservoir: A Fish Dynasty). 

But two other northwest Louisiana lakes made the recent 2016 list as well, including Caddo Lake at No. 7 and Lake Bistineau at No. 16. (See full list at Bassmaster Magazine)

Quality fish and beautiful scenery make Caddo Lake a bass angler’s dream. A total of 129 bass weighing in double digits were registered with the Bass Life Associates Replica Program from this cypress-studded fishery from 2007-2016, including bass topping the 16-pound mark. 

It was one of the first water bodies in Louisiana to be stocked with Florida bass and has been stocked annually for nearly 20 years. The Florida gene has certainly changed the landscape of the lake, as it has been known locally for producing trophy bass for years.  

Caddo Lake, which straddles the Louisiana- Texas border, is managed by both the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. These agencies, in addition to some local organizations, have released nearly 12 million Florida-strain largemouth fingerlings into the reservoir.

For a lake that wasn’t even on the radar of the bass fishing world in the past, Lake Bistineau, which encompasses 17,200 acres in Bienville, Bossier and Webster parishes, is a rising star and provides a unique opportunity to anglers.

Unranked in previous years, the lake was listed as No. 27 on the 2015 list published by the magazine and maintained its elite status this year.

Drawdowns deserve all the credit for the improvement. That process exposes bottom sediments to oxygen and sunlight, increasing the decomposition of organic materials. This improves spawning habitat by solidifying the lake bottom, increasing available forage and releasing nutrients into the water when the lake refills. Improved spawning of all fish species provides greater food resources for the lake’s largemouth bass population.

In 2009, the lake was thought to be nearly lost as almost 7,500 acres were covered with giant salvinia. To combat the invasive weed, LDWF has dewatered the lake annually in the late summer. Lake Bistineau is a flooded swamp with acres of cypress trees lining old slough channels.

The current management strategy closely resembles the natural fluctuation of water in a swamp, has controlled the plant and has provided ample opportunities for recreation. 

Florida bass stockings have increased in recent years and the larger fish are beginning to show up. A total of 46 bass have been registered in the Bass Life Replica Program since 2007 and it typically takes more than 20 pounds to win a tournament. 

When the summer doldrums hit and fishing gets tough, come to Lake Bistineau and fish the lake on a drawdown. The weather isn’t the only thing that is hot. Whether you prefer to pitch to cypress trees, fish channel ledges with a crankbait or catch schools of three-pounders, Bistineau has something for everyone.



LDWF to bring back the Louisiana Conservationist

Release Date: 08/11/2016

Louisiana's longest running outdoor magazine will return to print in the fall of 2016.

The Louisiana Conservationist had been the long-standing outdoor publication for Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries enthusiasts.   For decades the magazine was mailed to the home of every hunting and fishing license holder in the state.  In 2011, the production of this historical publication ceased due to proliferation of less expensive information vehicles, particularly online content distribution.

“For generations, the Conservationist’s descriptive sto­ries and informative features have resonated with families across the state”, said Governor John Bel Edwards. “When the magazine was discontinued in 2010, it left a void in both homes and classrooms that benefited from the bridge it created between the state and the public.

I am thrilled that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is reviving this 87-year-old tradition. The Conservationist serves as both an educational asset and a treasured portrayal of Louisiana’s wondrous outdoors.”

“I grew up reading the Louisiana Conservationist and credit this publication for my interest in the Louisiana outdoors as a kid,” said LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon.  “Many sportsmen and nature lovers across the state have a very close connection to this magazine and have requested we revive this historical publication.  This is not only a great educational resource for our constituents, it’s a tremendous introduction of the Louisiana outdoors to our youth.”

The Louisiana Conservationist is a 90-year-old publication that began in 1917 when Lucy Powell Russell became the first female to serve as the Secretary of the state's wildlife agency.

During her progressive tenure, she led the Louisiana Fisheries Commission in publishing its first wildlife magazine. Its first issue was titled Louisiana Conservation News. Over the years, the magazine has taken several forms, all the while, maintaining its mission of serving as a medium between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the residents of Louisiana.

The magazine will return to print this fall on a small-scale basis as the magazine reestablishes writers, photographers and other contributors. The long-term goal of the magazine is to serve as an educational outlet for anyone yearning to know more about Louisiana’s outdoors, especially students. 

The print publication will be a product of existing Department staff, and available free of charge on a quarterly basis from LDWF field offices across the state. The current issue, and archived issues back to the magazine’s inception in 1927 will be available on the Louisiana Conservationist website: http://LAConservationist.wlf.la.gov in the near future.

LDWF Schedules Drawdown on False River

Release Date: 08/10/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in conjunction with the False River Watershed Council and Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury, has scheduled a drawdown for False River on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, as a management tool to improve water quality, decrease sedimentation and improve sportfish habitat.

The lake will be lowered at a rate of 1.5 inches per day to a maximum of 6 feet below pool stage.

The drawdown structure is scheduled to close on January 15, 2017, and the lake will be allowed to refill.

Property owners should take necessary action to secure or remove vessels, floating docks and other items potentially impacted by the drawdown prior to its commencement.

The lake will remain open to fishing and other recreational use during the drawdown. However, caution is advised for boaters during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance of underwater structures.

For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Brian Heimann, LDWF Biologist Manager, at bheimann@wlf.la.gov, or (225) 765-2337.  



Drawdown Announced for Bayou D’Arbonne Lake

Release Date: 08/10/2016

Drawdown Announced for Bayou D’Arbonne Lake

(August 8, 2016) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has announced a drawdown for Bayou D’Arbonne Lake in Union Parish.  The drawdown is scheduled to begin on September 6th and continue through November 15th, 2016.  The lake will be lowered to a level of 5 feet below pool stage at a rate of approximately 4 inches per day.

The LDWF action is taken in coordination with the Bayou D’Arbonne Lake Watershed District to allow for maintenance of shoreline properties and to provide control of nuisance aquatic vegetation.  The Bayou D’ Arbonne Lake Commission adopted a policy in 2004 that provides for drawdowns every 4 years for these purposes.   The lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown, but caution is advised for boaters during the low water period as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions. 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.


For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Ryan Daniel in the LDWF Monroe office at (318) 343-4044.

LDWF to Hold Lake Bistineau Public Meeting

Release Date: 08/09/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will conduct an informational meeting concerning Lake Bistineau.
Who:  LDWF Inland Fisheries Staff
What:  Public information meeting on Lake Bistineau
When:  Tuesday, August 23, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.
Where:    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Region 1 Office
                Jonathan Glasscock Memorial Classroom
                9961 Hwy. 80
                Minden, LA 71055
The meeting will include an update on the current status of the lake, and LDWF staff will field questions concerning the management of the lake and giant salvinia.  Everyone interested in Lake Bistineau is encouraged to attend. 
Space is limited to 100 individuals, so please keep this in mind when making plans to attend.  
The current LDWF Lake Bistineau Management Plan can be viewed at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/waterbody-management-plans-inland
For additional information regarding the meetings, contact Jeff Sibley, LDWF Biologist Manager, at jsibley@wlf.la.gov or (318) 371-3066.

LDWF to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Cervid Carcass Importation Ban

Release Date: 08/09/2016

Aug. 9, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will conduct six public hearings beginning Aug. 22 to discuss a proposed cervid carcass importation. The ban was proposed to assist in preventing the introduction of chronic wasting disease (CWD) into Louisiana’s white-tailed deer population.
Meetings include:
Aug. 22 at St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers, 21490 Koop Dr., Mandeville, 7 p.m.,
Aug. 22 at Lake Charles’ LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles, 6:30 p.m.,
Aug. 23 at LDWF Monroe Field Office, 368 Century Link Dr., Monroe, 6:30 p.m.,
Aug. 23 at USGS National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette, 6:30 p.m.,
Aug. 24 at LDWF Minden Field Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden, 6:30 p.m.,
Aug. 25 at Woodworth Outdoor Education Center, 661 Robinson Bridge Road, Woodworth, 6:30 p.m.
An importation ban on carcasses of cervids harvested out-of-state was proposed by LDWF during the July LWFC meeting and is in the public comment period. The ban defines a cervid as animals of the family Cervidae, including but not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer. 
The proposed ban would prohibit the importation of cervid carcasses except for deboned meat, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.
This proposed ban is strictly for the purpose of reducing the likelihood that CWD will enter Louisiana through carcass importation. Approved parts and deboned meat from other states must contain a possession tag with the hunter’s name, out-of-state license number (if required), address, species, date and location (county and state) of harvest.  Each state has different possession requirements for game once processed.

To view the full notice of intent, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
Public comment can be submitted in writing by mail to: Johnathan Bordelon, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to jbordelon@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2016.
For more information, contact Bordelon at 225-765-2344.


Four Men Cited for Illegal Shrimping in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 08/08/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited multiple boats for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 6 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Billy Pansy, 51, of Port Sulphur, and John F. Parker, 50, of Boothville, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents seized and sold 655 pounds of shrimp from this vessel.

Agents also cited Don A. Barthelemy, 53, of Harvey, and Rodney S. Andry, 33, of Buras, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents seized and sold 630 pounds of shrimp from this vessel.

The agents were on patrol after receiving complaints of illegal shrimping taking place in the Buras area.

Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violators may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violators may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Senior Agents Travis Bartlett and Blaine Wagner.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Recognizes National, World Archery Champions from Louisiana

Release Date: 08/08/2016

Benton Middle and Elementary archers were honored by the LWFC and LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon.

Aug. 8, 2016 – The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission honored Louisiana archers who earned titles in this year’s National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) World and National tournaments during Thursday’s monthly commission meeting in Baton Rouge.
The students are part of the Archery in Louisiana Schools Program (ALAS) administered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). ALAS is part of NASP, which teaches international target archery to students in grades 4-12.
Benton Middle School was recognized for winning the NASP world and national championships as well as the 3-D world title. Benton Middle successfully defended its world championship.
Benton Elementary won the 3-D national championship and finished second in 3-D at the world tournament. Kingston Elementary was third in 3-D in the world tournament.
Madeline Lowry of Benton Elementary placed second in the elementary 3-D national tournament and Eden Old of Benton Elementary was third.
Emma Bunch of Benton Middle captured the world title in the 3-D middle school division and Kaitlyn Misenheimer was third. Aiden Haire of Benton Middle was third in the 3-D middle school division. And Kennedy Halsell of Kingston Elementary was fourth in the 3-D elementary division.
Louisiana, which sent 14 schools to the national championships, was one of 41 states and the District of Columbia to compete in the national championships. A total of 12,897 students competed in the national tournament, including 198 from Louisiana.
Three countries and 27 states participated in the world tournament, which included 4,135 competitors. Louisiana was represented by six schools and 103 students.
The ALAS/NASP program is available to all schools in Louisiana and grants are available to assist with funding. For more information regarding the ALAS program, please contact NASP State Coordinator Robert Stroede at rstroede@wlf.la.gov or 318-484-2276.


Fall Shrimp Season Opening Dates Announced

Release Date: 08/05/2016

For Immediate Release

(8-4-16) - The opening dates of the 2016 Louisiana fall shrimp season were announced at the August 4 meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The Commission set the dates based on information provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and public comments.

The opening dates for the 2016 Louisiana fall shrimp season are as follows:

·      The portion of state inside waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel Buoy Line to open at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 15

·      The portion of state inside waters from the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel Buoy Line westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line to open at 6 a.m. on Monday, August 22

The Commission granted authority to the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to delay these opening dates if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so; and, to close any portion of Louisiana's inside waters to protect small juvenile white shrimp if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so or enforcement problems develop.  The Secretary is further granted the authority to open any area, or reopen any previously closed area, and to open and close special shrimp seasons in any portion of state waters. 

For a map detailing these openings, click here.

Tow Time Regulations Reminder

Federal Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations require skimmer net fishermen to limit tow times.  Maximum tow times are 55 minutes from April 1 to October 31 and increase to 75 minutes from November 1 to March 31.

Please Report Hangs


The Fishermen's Gear Compensation Fund is for fishing gear lost within the Louisiana coastal zone due to unreported obstructions.  Only one application is taken for a given location.  Application packets are available, and the known sites are published, on the Department of Natural Resources website at: http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=100, and recent sites are listed in the Louisiana Lagniappe newsletter of LA Sea Grant.  Only commercial fishermen earning more than 50% of their income from fishing are eligible for application.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Marx (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov

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