There are rainbows heading to Chalmette, but don’t look to the sky to find them.
State fisheries biologist Danica Williams is taking the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Get Out & Fish! crew Saturday to Sidney Torres Memorial Park in Chalmette for a shot at catching rainbow trout.
Williams said the LDWF Inland Fisheries will stock 600 pounds of rainbow trout in the Torres pond. The fish were donated by Greer’s National Fish Hatchery in a coordinated effort by the LDWF, its foundation, St. Bernard Parish and the St. Bernard Sportsman’s League.
Best of all, there’s no fee, participants don’t need a boat, and anglers will be able to take their catch home, so bring an ice chest. Rainbow trout are terrific when cooked in a smoker with apple wood.
Williams said the aim of Get Out and Fish! is to increase access to quality fishing days, “to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations.”
The day begins at 7 a.m. and runs until noon. You can register from 7-10 a.m. Fishing runs from 7-11 a.m. with lunch provided by the St. Bernard Fire Department, served from 10 a.m.-noon. All registered will be entered for giveaways and the awards ceremony is set for 11:30 a.m. The first 100 preregistered anglers will receive what Williams called a “goody bag.”
Related activities, things like a mobile touch tank, casting instruction, fish identification and fish prints, will run from 9-11:30 a.m.
It’s the fishing that will dominate the morning: Rainbows provide one category and there’s an “other” category for all other species caught. There are first, second and third places in both categories for Little Angler (8 and younger), Junior Angler (ages 9-15) and Adult Angler (16 and older) divisions, along with a note that all fishermen ages 16 and older must have a current and valid state fishing license.
Williams made sure to say fishermen must bring their own gear, bait and tackle — earthworms, whole kernel corn and pink marshmallows are good for rainbows on a No. 4 or No. 6 hook — and there’s a limit of five rainbows per fisherman.
Others rules include:
Youngsters 15 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times;
Fishing on the “honor” system that demands fish entered must be caught by that participant;
One award per angler, and winners must be present to receive prizes;
It’s from-the-bank-only fishing;
And, a fish may only be entered in only one division and only one category.
To preregister, go to the LDWF website: www.fishla.org/community-ourerach/getfish/
Other sponsors include Hook and Line Sporting Goods, Studio Inferno, St. Bernard-Arabi Kiwanis, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and CCA-Louisiana.
Baton Rouge rainbows
BREC Conservation Director Amanda Takacs confirmed Thursday that BREC and the LDWF will team for another winter of stocking rainbow trout in as many as four BREC ponds in East Baton Rouge Parish in the coming weeks.
The key is waiting for water temperatures to dip well below 65 degrees, the survivability of rainbows.
Takacs said Get Out & Fish! is also coming April 23 to the pond on the Burbank Soccer Complex. This pond is stocked twice a year with adult catfish.
Duck hunting note
With the close of the first split of the duck season in all three zones, and with the second split opening Dec. 19, veteran waterfowl guides advise hunters to remove their decoys during the splits, and possibly, establishing another site to hunt for the second split.
Fred Laborde had to give up duck hunting because of failing eyesight, but his more than 50 years in the marshes and rice fields taught him to change tactics for later-season birds.
“By this time during the season, ducks have seen blinds and decoys from Canada all the way to Louisiana,” Laborde said. “Lots of hunters are talking about how ducks flare when they get too close to their blind.
“My answer to them is to get out of that blind and move about 75 yards away to the other side of the decoys and put up a makeshift blind. That way the ducks are looking at the blind and see no activity there and might come on into the decoys.”
Another tip is check surroundings to make sure your blind is blending with the surroundings. A blind that looked good in early November might stick out like a sore thumb after cold front brown-up nearby vegetation.
And another old-timer, Nolan Gaspard, working at Oak Grove years ago pointed out, “You have to make sure the blind does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s to keep the ducks from seeing you,” then added another piece of advice before placing decoys for the second split.
“When ducks first come down here, they come in big groups and land in big groups,” Gaspard said. “As the season moves on and we take some ducks and ducks spread out, the ducks don’t bunch up as much. After the first of the year, we start thinning out our decoys (spreads) and we’ll end the season with about half of the decoys out there (near the blind) as we had to start the season.”
Another Gaspard tip is to change decoys: After using teal and gray ducks in his early season spread, he adds bigger species decoys — mallards and pintails — to gray duck decoys to end the season.
Dewey Wills access
More and more folks are using public lands to hunt waterfowl, and the Muddy Bayou impoundment on the Dewey Wills WMA (in LaSalle and Concordia parishes) is getting more than a fair share of attention. With road closures limiting some access, the LDWF issued an advisory about access from Diversion Canal Road. The notice stated, “Until further notice, all vehicles must be parked along the Diversion Canal Road with wheels on the roadway and not in the grass along the shoulder of the road. This requirement has been implemented to minimize damage to the levee system.”
It further stated that hunters using the boat launch at the new impoundment must park vehicles on Diversion Canal Road after launching.
Independence Reef, Phase II
CCA Louisiana’s latest artificial reef work along the coast added four acres using 7,000 tons of limestone to the Independence Island Artificial Reef site north and east of Grand Isle.
The project is a joint effort of CCA, the LDWF, Shell Deepwater and Bertucci Contractors and added to the original site laid down in 2011. It’s CCA Louisiana’s 18th reef project in the past 13 years.
Funding sources are the LDWF Artificial Reef Development Fund, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, which includes Shell’s gift, and continued funding from the Paul Candies Family.
After deposition is complete, marker buoys will identify the site. CCA provided GPS coordinates at 29-18-29.4 and 89-56-00.24.