Trout run could be delayed further _lowres

Photo provided by LA. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES Improved launching ramps, handicapped-reserved parking areas, and a new floating pier are part of $765,000 in improvements for the Bayou Sorrel launch on the east side of Atchafalaya Spillway. The expansion is on a 10-acre site, and the new launch is north of the old launching ramp. The recently reopened launch provides access to the upper Bayou Sorrel, upper Grand River and the Intracoastal Waterway,

How much stranger can our weather get?

The procession of cold fronts that began in November just won’t stop, not even in the middle of May.

So, when you awake Thursday — May 15 — to a morning low in the low 50s, you’ll know that Friday’s violent weather and inches of rain wasn’t as much a transition between the longest and coldest winter and spring in more than a decade as it was a continuation of a cooler-than-normal spring.

North winds will come with this next cold front. Thankfully, we won’t have the strong north winds, but there wil be a wind shift, and the move from a week or more of southeast winds means a further delay in what, in normal years, would be a solid early run on speckled trout along the coast.

Friday’s rain combined with a forecast of rain through Wednesday along with the north winds will further delay brown shrimp growth, which means species like trout and redfish will have to find other food sources to recover from the deep cold water temperatures that started in late November.

When you talk to veteran charter guides like Dudley Vandenborre and Mike Gallo in the Pontchartrain area, Frank Dreher and Daryl Carpenter at Grand Isle and Andre Boudreaux at Cocodrie, you know there’s a consensus that the trout run from the marshes to the coastal bays and lakes and the barrier islands is more than a month behind where it’s been for the past four years.

What that means is anyone’s guess: While those men agree it’s difficult to believe trout catches will match the banner spring and summer of three years ago, their biggest question, and that of more coastal anglers, is when conditions “get right,” will the speckled trout action give fishermen a chance to make up for this month or more of lost time?

There’s no immediate answer to that question, especially not when we have rivers, notably the still rising Pearl, Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers continuing to push loads of freshwater into the Pontchartrain, Mississippi Delta, lower Barataria, lower Terrebonne and lower Vermilion basins. And, at least in the short term, Pontchartrain anglers will have to deal with all the water in the Amite, Blind, Tickfaw, Tangipahoa and Tchefuncte rivers.

The hope among these five men, and the thousands getting ready for CCA’s S.T.A.R. Memorial Day Weekend opener and the Memorial Day Weekend’s Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo, is that conditions will “get right” by late May.

With another cold front, that’s likely too early a target date.

Leave fawns alone

State Deer Study leader Scott Durham said we’re coming on the days fawns will be born, and advises anyone finding what appears to be an abandoned fawn to leave this young-of-the-year whitetail deer undisturbed.

Durham said the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries takes calls every spring from the public about what folks consider to be abandoned fawns.

“Picking up fawns seriously diminishes their chances to live a normal and healthy life,” Durham said. “When a fawn is born, it is weak, awkward and unable to move quickly enough to escape predators. Its primary survival mechanism is to remain still and hidden.

“The newborn fawn has a coat of light reddish brown hair liberally covered with white spots that provides excellent camouflage.

“The doe will remain in the area to feed and nurture the fawn,” Durham said. “When the young deer gets older and stronger, it will be able to forage for food with its mother.”

Durham and the LDWF’s Enforcement Division issued a warning that state law prohibits “the capture (of) fawns or any other wild animal.

If caught transporting or possessing wild deer without a permit, well meaning individuals may be subject to citations and fines.”

For details, call Durham at (225) 765-2351 or email: sdurham@wlf.la.gov.

Sage WMA bridge closes

The LDWF closed the bridge on the East-West Road on Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area. Plans are to remove the structure and replace it with metal culverts before the start of the 2014 hunting seasons.

Ducks already?

Saturday was International Migratory Bird Day on the northern breeding grounds and kicked off the 59th annual North American Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, the weeks-long aerial work by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service biologists.

Reports from the breeding grounds on the North-Central U.S. and Canadian prairies are that rain last fall was followed by “adequate winter snowfall and a good frost seal” that refilled wetlands in the duck production areas.

“Wetland conditions are good to very good across a large portion of the Prairie Pothole Region and large numbers of waterfowl have settled in the region this spring.” Ducks Unlimited’s Great Plains Office regional biologist Rick Warhurst said.