Coastal and offshore fishermen have two new projects for the new year.

For the folks plying Lake Pontchartrain waters, the coordinated study between LSU and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists have set buoys throughout the Pontchartrain Basin to study the movements of speckled trout.

Teams implanted transmitters in trout then released the fish. Everytime one of the specially tagged trout nears the special buoys, it marks the fish, the date and time it passed and holds the information for the study teams.

For offshore anglers, Jan. 1 brought new rules for catching and bringing to port yellowfin tuna and other deep-water species.

LDWF fisheries biologist Jason Adriance is heading up a program that will help the agency better monitor the count of recreationally caught yellowfins, all billfish species, swordfish, all amberjack species, groupers and snapper species, a plan the LDWF believes will lead to regional management of the species.

According to the LDWF announcement, the new method requires anglers and charter captains who want to catch and keep these species to have an Offshore Landing Permit.

Adriance said the no-fee permit is available through the LDWF website:

The permits also can be obtained through the App Store for all smartphone applications. iPhone users can downloaded the applicaiton at no charge by searching for “Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permits App.” Android phone users can downloaded the app from the Google Play Store by searching for “LDWF Rec. Offshore Landing App.”

The new regulation requires recreational fishermen who land yellowfin tuna to report the catch before off-loading the fish at the dock.

Adriance said the report can be made via the smartphone app or by calling, toll free, (877) 792-3440, then responding to the prompts.

He further stated charter captains using LDWF-provided tags must report landings by the 15th of each month following the month in which the yellowfin tuna was landed.

The LDWF also announced the schedule for three informational workshops to explain the new program. Each workshop is set for 5:30 p.m. and include:

  • Jan. 15, LDWF Fisheries Research Lab, 195 Ludwig, Grand Isle;
  • Jan. 16, Belle Chasse Auditorium, 8398 La. 23, Belle Chasse;
  • And Jan. 17, Municipal Auditorium, 880 Verret St., Houma.

More program information is available on the agency’s website:, or by calling Adriance (504) 284-2032 at the New Orleans district office.

The rut

Retired state biologist David Moreland said there are enough wood ducks in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area to make for good hunts — he said using a reed call is a proven tactic — but added that remaining debris from Hurricane Katrina and recent heavy growth of cane have changed the area from “jump” shooting to “pass” shooting these waterfowl.

Most of his report centered on the recent successes on whitetail deer through the eastern and southeastern parishes.

“The last month of deer hunting should be good if this weather will stay cold,” Moreland said. “The rut is on in Area 1 and (area) 6 with these deer that breed late. It should be good hunting.”

Moreland said he took a buck that showed obvious signs of having survived the recent outbreak of diseases after the passage of Hurricane Isaac.

“(I) killed a 4½-year-old, 125-pound 7-point (buck) with a 13-inch inside spread,” Moreland said. “This buck is a mature adult and is maxed out, but is on the low end of the scale for deer in this age class...(it) had been sick with the blue-tongue virus as evidenced by the symptoms of sloughing hooves. I took blood and tissue samples from it to give to LDWF to determine for sure.”

Meat from deer that survived the outbreak of blue-tongue and the related hemorrhagic disease does not affect humans as long as the meat is properly handled after taking the deer and properly cooked.

Turkey season nears

The 2013 Spring Turkey Season pamphlet is published and should be avaialble at all license vendors, LDWF district offices and on the LDWF website.

Most important for hunters is that applications for WMA lottery hunts for adult and youth hunters are available on the LDWF website:

The spring season is scheduled to open in the three turkey hunting areas for youth and physically challenged hunters for the March 16-17 weekend on private lands only.

The regular-season opener for the three areas is March 23 with the season running through April 21 in Area A, through April 14 in Area B, and through April 7 in Area C.

All rules and season dates were approved by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in October. The only boundary changes from the 2012 season involved additional lands added in Pointe Coupee, Ascension and Iberville parishes.

Other changes in the spring wild turkey season include:

  • The loss of Bens Creek WMA;
  • The lottery hunt on the Dewey Wills WMA was moved to earlier-in-the-season dates;
  • The Pearl River WMA will have one more day for a youth-only lottery hunt and the Union WMA will add three lottery hunt days;
  • And one-day, youth-only lottery hunts will be held on the Winn, Catahoula, Caney and Kisatchie Ranger districts of the Kisatchie National Forest.