The forecast of westerly winds and light seas could be just what coastal anglers ordered for the weekend leading up to the three big Fourth of July saltwater rodeos coming for the following holiday weekend.

Light northwest winds are ahead Friday with a shift to the west Saturday and Sunday. It means light seas, mostly less than one foot, and mild offshore conditions just right to get after red snapper inside the nine-mile limit. Also, look for an abundance of mangrove snapper, cobia and king mackerel that have invaded the oil platforms and man-made and natural reefs.

The fly in the ointment is the invasion of sharks around platforms and reefs from the mouth of the river west into the East Timbalier, Ship Shoal and Eugene Island blocks. And pay mind to morning temperatures in the 70s and afternoon highs in the 90s to stay hydrated. Use sunscreen and dress in loosely fitting, light-colored clothing.

Big numbers of speckled trout seem to have left the Pontchartrain bridges only to take up residence in Lake Borgne, where rigs are providing near limits on live shrimp fished at various depths (but mostly on or near the bottom) during the morning hours.

Live bait is working in the Grand Isle, Elmer’s Island, The Fourchon and Timbalier waters, too, on trout. Spanish mackerel and gafftopsail cats like shrimp and when you encounter them, move to a different location. The rock jetties at Belle Pass and the barges are giving up trout, redfish and the tackle-cutting Spanish.

A solution to the mackerel problem is to use soft plastics and a wide variety of H&H, Deadly Dudleys, Gulp! and Egret lures (including the VuDu Shrimp), working from the beaches out to the barges and reefs.

Topwaters are working in the surf from east of Grand Terre Island west to the Last Island chain. Use darker-colored lures in the early morning, then switch to a lighter color, even to blue/chrome and black/chrome after the sun gets higher in the sky.

Like most summers, you can find action under the laughing gulls.

And remember your current fishing licenses expire June 30 and you’ll need a new one to fish on the Fourth of July holiday.

Big help with trailers

Ever had to register a boat with Wildlife and Fisheries, then turn around and head to the Office of Motor Vehicles to register your boat’s trailer.

No more.

In an agreement between LDWF and OMV, boat owners will be able to get boat and trailer registrations, process tax payment, boat number and trailer license at the LDWF’s Baton Rouge state headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive every Monday.

Bad news

One of the state’s most used wildlife management areas, the Jackson-Bienville WMA that takes in 25,274 acres in Jackson and Bienville parishes, is being removed from the WMA list.

“LDWF appreciates the long-standing partnership with Weyerhaeuser Company in providing access to this property,” LDWF secretary Charlie Melancon said last week.

Long a popular destination for small-game and deer hunters since 1961, the owners — the Weyerhaeuser Corporation — decided to make the acreage available for public leasing after Melancon said the LDWF and Weyerhaeuser “could not come to terms in an agreement to continue leasing the property.”

Calling wildlife artists

Greenwing teal are the subject for the state’s 2017 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp contest.

“Greenwings are the smallest of the dabbling ducks wintering in Louisiana and can be found in all of our wetland habitats from the reservoirs, grain fields and forested wetlands of north Louisiana to the coastal marshes, mud flats and flooded agricultural lands across the South,” state Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds said. “(Greenwings) are among the top three species in number harvested each season, and are an important component of Louisiana duck hunters’ waterfowling experience.”

Reynolds said artists must submit an original, unpublished work of art, along with a signed and notarized artist’s agreement and a $50 entry fee between Oct. 10-18. The entries will be judged Oct. 19 at state headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Need more? Call Reynolds at (225) 765-0456 or email: lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.