More than 350 get out to fish in BREC event _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK Minnows, anyone? If you're wondering what bass are feeding on in ponds and other south Louisiana waters, check out this school of minnows found in the middle of last week on University Lake near LSU. Top minnows, shad and carp spawned a couple of week early this year across south Louisiana and are providing post-spawn appetizers for largemouth, spoitted and white bass, goggle-eye and bluegill.

The order of the day was Get out and Fish! and more than 350 anglers covering ages from 4 to 74 showed up last weekend at BREC’s Burbank Park to follow that order.

After Wildlife and Fisheries stocked in excess of a thousand pounds of catfish in the ponds earlier that week, Saturday’s catches went beyond expectations, LDWF program director Danica Williams said.

“There was no way we expected a young angler to come in with a catfish weighing over five pounds,” Williams said. “It was that kind of a day and there were lots of fish caught, not just catfish, but bluegill and bass, too.”

The top three in the Catfish category included:

In the Little Angler Division, 1, Zachary Nguyen, 4.65 pounds; 2, Blake Houng; 3, Leland Andrews;

In the Junior Angler Division, 1, Anderson Nguyen, 5.46 pounds; 2, Nathan Caillouet; 3, Trent Bergeron;

Adult Angler Division, 1, Thai Brandon Houng, 5.35 pounds; 2, Sharon Vincent; 3, Gregory Pikes.

Top catchers in the “Other Fish” category included:

In the Little Angler Division, 1, Kate Davenport, 2, Adelyn Combert; 3, Ellis Davenport;

In the Junior Angler Division, 1, Brian Balser; 2, Kevin Feng;

And in the Adult Angler Division, 1, Tri Lam; 2, Heather Martinez.

Williams said “fresh shrimp fished on the bottom proved to be the most successful bait of the day, and more than 200 catfish were reeled in. Despite Saturday’s hefty haul, there are still plenty of fish in the pond waiting to be caught.”

Event sponsors included The BREC Foundation, Coca-Cola Company of Baton Rouge, H&H Tackle, Louisiana Fish Fry and Bass Pro Shops,

To find out more about the Get Out & Fish! Program, or to organize an event in your community, email Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov.

In federal waters

A report came in late last week about state Wildlife and Fisheries agents citing four Louisiana men and an Alabama man for having red snapper in their boats in federal waters during the closed season on red snapper for recreational anglers.

According to the report, Carman Johnson of Mobile, Alabama, was found with eight red snapper, six more than the daily limit. Johnson was not fishing with the Louisiana men, who were fishing in two other boats and did not exceed the daily limit.

The LDWF release indicated the state agents were working as part of the Joint Enforcement Agreement with the federal government and issued the citations on three different boats some 15 miles off the Louisiana coast.

Louisiana’s recreational red snapper season is open with a daily limit of two red snapper meeting the minimum size of 16 inches long. For 2016, Louisiana state waters extends nine miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

The alleged violators face fines of $100-$350 and up to 60 days in jail for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed federal season and for possessing over the daily limit. The LDWF release indicated Johnson might have to pay $230 in civil restitution for the excess of red snapper

During the week, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, set this year’s recreational red snapper season in federal waters.

For the second year, the recreational red snapper allowed take will be divided into “private” and “for-hire” sectors, each with different seasons in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both seasons are scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m., June 1: “Private” recreational anglers will have a nine-day season closing at 11:59 p.m. June 9, while the “for-hire” sector, including charterboats and headboats, will have a 46-day season ending at 11:59 p.m July 16.

Don’t do this

Two Terrebonne Parish men had their trawls and boats seized and were booked into parish jail after allegedly being found shrimping and with more than 650 pounds of shrimp during the night of April 27 four miles inside the state’s coastal inside-outside waters.

The season currently is closed in state “inside” waters.

Tracey Trahan, 37, of Houma, and Sterlin Billiot Jr., 22, of Dulac, were arrested for the alleged violations.

The Enforcement Division release cited fines of $400-$950 and up to 120 days in jail for shrimping during a closed season.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is expected to set the spring inshore shrimp season during Thursday’s meeting at LDWF state headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Expect closures

The weekend rains more than likely will trigger another round of closures on wildlife management areas and other state lands.

Already closed are Boyce Tower Road south of Sorrento in the Maurepas Swamp WMA, and Oil Well Road on the Pearl River WMA.

Because the area is so popular with recreational fishermen across the state, note that Tom’s Bayou on the State Wildlife Refuge in Vermilion Parish will be closed through May 30 to allow for construction of two rock weirs.

Refuge managers said the project will be finished in about two months, that all other canals and public access on the refuge are open (from sunrise to sunset), and also cautioned refuge visitors to use caution around dredging activities in Fearman Lake.

Commercials in LC

Wildlife and Fisheries will issue commercial fishing licenses and renewals from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. May 10-12 at its Lake Charles office, 1213 North Lakeshore Drive, (337) 491-2575.

There are lots of rules and details. Go to the LDWF’s website: www.wlf.la.gov for more information. Or call the LDWF’s Commercial License Section (225) 765-2898.

A VanDam trip

Want to fish with Kevin Van Dam? Beginning May 8, Busch, the beer folks, will offer their product in cans decorated with fish, and there will be 100,000 special gold trophy cans in included in some packs.

Find one of the gold cans and you could be VanDam’s guest.

There will be four different cans represented the four trips an angler could win. The four include:

A redfish trip right here in our state in Venice;

Largemouth bass in Lake St. Clair, Michigan;

A Montana trip to take cutthroat trout;

And, a sockeye salmon trip to the Kenai River in Alaska.