The combination of strong east and southeast winds and April’s increased tides forced state Wildlife and Fisheries managers to close portions of Maurepas Swamp and Joyce wildlife management areas just days before the spring squirrel season begins.

Boyce Tower Road past the bridge off U.S. 61 in lower Ascension Parish and the nature trail off old U.S. 51 near LaPlace are the areas affected in the Maurepas Swamp WMA.

The “Swamp Walk” at Joyce WMA south of Hammond is also closed.

WMA manager Forest Burks said LDWF personnel will inspect both areas, and repair any damage, before these areas can be reopened to public use.

Earlier last week, the LDWF reopened Hunt Road in the Dewey Wills WMA located 20 miles northwest of Alexandria, but continued flooding problems have left the heavily traveled Sandy Bayou Road and Muddy Bayou Road closed on the WMA.

Florida’s reds

The latest from Florida is a one redfish daily limit in the state’s “northwest red drum management zone” effective May 1. The zone includes waters from Escambia County (Pensacola) through Fred Howard Park near Pasco County, basically the entire Florida Panhandle.

This revised regulation means anglers can take only one red per day in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico waters.

The vote by Florida’s commission reflects public comment along with Florida Fish and Game staff data showing “stock assessment population estimates indicate numbers may have seen a decline at the conclusion of the assessment period (2013). The stock is still exceeding management goals.”

Florida’s statewide redfish size limit regulations are 18-27 inches total length.

Louisiana has a 16-inch minimum total length requirement with a five fish per person daily bag limit with not more than one exceeding 27 inches.