Happy Easter, and with most youngsters free of school during the next days, a day of fishing is in order.
From the forecast, make them Monday and Tuesday before predicted thunderstorms roll through the southern parishes Wednesday and Thursday.
Don’t expect a reprieve from the winds: After the cold front clears, look for 10-15 knot north winds Monday with a shift to the east and southeast Tuesday. That means choppy waters along the coast. The continuing winds will not give much of a chance for water in the marshes and open bays to clear to lead us to believe we could find limits of trout and redfish. And we’re coming off a full moon.
The hope is sunshine Monday and Tuesday will send bluegill racing to the banks to provide a rare chance for a post-Easter fish fry. The freshwater marshes appear to be ready to do accommodate that wish. There is an inkling of bluegill movement in the Verret Basin, but for every productive day, there has been two days when they’re off the feed and aren’t willing to bite.
We’re celebrating this Easter Sunday early in the spring cycle. We need to be patient, need to let winter lose its grip, to let the winds subside, let the rain come warm on gentle breezes and give water a chance to clear.
But there’s something else nagging fishermen these days and it doesn’t involve wind or cold or dirty water.
It’s access stemming from the desire by landowners to block canals, some of which have been open to fishing and fishermen for decades.
Fishermen’s protests aren’t to dispute the rights of landowners. Rather the question is whether it’s legal to bar access to waters and what swims in those waters.
The usual landowners’ reply is they’re concerned about folks gaining access to their lands, and they’re using every available means, including threats and citations issued by one or another law enforcement agency, to deny access to canals.
But those landowner concerns involve trespass issues, not access issues, and they’re not the same.
What was written in this column 20 years ago can be a talking point today: There are stacks of documents on coastal land loss that trace a certain percentage of our state’s coastal land loss to the dredging of canals throughout the coastal plain.
It’s irresponsible to declare the entire land-loss problem is the result of dredging on private lands, and it’s always been a mystery why the federal government hasn’t taken some measure of ownership, and financial responsibility, for dredging the Intercoastal Waterway across our state. The ICWW has contributed to our state’s problems.
There are other factors, but dredging on private lands has contributed to a problem affecting all Louisianans, and there are two ways landowners, who profited from that activity, can compensate for our loss — either return the canal to its original, pre-dredged state, or allow access as mitigation. Happy Easter.