Bass photo

PROVIDED PHOTO

Jeff Bruhl shows off the 3-plus-pound bass he took on a recent trip to the marshes east of the Mississippi River where he found bass, redfish, speckled trout and catfish. "We loaded up on fish," he said. "This area wasn't hit as hard as the marshes on the south end of Lake Pontchartrain, and are in a typical late fall pattern."

It’s one thing to talk about fishing, and another thing to talk about catching fish.

Sure, it’s easy to assume everyone who “goes fishing” heads out to “catch fish,” but all of us know the former is not directly related to the latter.

Take guys heading into the marshes on the south side of Lake Pontchartrain, places like Chef Pass and The Rigolets, are fishing on hard times. Hurricane Ida ripped the guts from the usually ultra-productive marshes between the MRGO and the Intracoastal Waterway. Ditto for some of the trout/redfish-rich spots in Delacroix. Catches are spotty and depend on water movement, whether that movement comes on a hard tide or wind.

The last handful of foggy mornings mean a decided lack of wind, therefore limited action.

That’s not the case in the marshes, runs and bays between Buras and Venice.

Veteran angler Jeff Bruhl described the action there in a word – “great.”

“We caught bass, redfish, trout and catfish, and it was because there was grass and structure,” Bruhl said. “The places I like to go, the Chef area, has no grass and no place to hold fish. So it’s a struggle to find fish there. There are some guys who are catching a few fish there, but it’s nothing like it was in past years.”

Bruhl added the success bass fishermen are having in the lower Pearl River system: "A five-bass limit up to 16 pounds is good there. It's a good time to be there."

At the risk of repeating reports from the past two months, fishermen in The Fourchon and waters from Chauvin south to Cocodrie and west into the Four Point area are hindered by the debris left in Ida’s wake. The western reaches of Terrebonne Parish don’t have that problem, and catches are solid there.

The ducks

With first duck-season splits in both zones ending, there’s little hope the marshes will refill with migrating ducks for the second split. That’s because there’s no cold weather up north to push ducks southward. Heck, it was 60 degrees in the Dakotas last week, and nothing into the immediate future to believe snow and ice are coming to help the migration. Hunter success was limited last week by warmer weather and by early morning fog in the southeastern parishes.

Specks

The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission didn’t act on proposed daily- or size-limit changes to speckled trout take during Thursday’s meeting in Baton Rouge.

Instead, the seven members voted to delay and any decision until October next year, and further directed Wildlife and Fisheries’ Marine Fisheries staff to present “updated spotted seatrout data at the February commission meeting, and then at quarterly intervals thereafter.”

It means the daily limit remains at 25 trout measuring a 12-inch minimum total length, with a 15-fish limit remaining in the Calcasieu Lake area, where there is a limit of keeping only two trout more than 25 inches long.

Range open

After what was described as “extensive renovations,” the Honey Island Shooting Range at the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area is open.

The range has a 100-yard rifle range, a 25-yard pistol range, a shotgun sporting clays range and an archery range.

CWD in Arkansas

State Wildlife and Fisheries wildlife managers got the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to approve an emergency declaration banning placing feed and bait in Morehouse and Union parishes after a 2½-year-old whitetail doe was found with chronic wasting disease in Union County, Arkansas, a little more than seven miles north of the Louisiana-Arkansas border.

The ban will begin Dec. 6.

The emergency declaration also triggered the state agency’s CWD Response Plan, which means an increase in CWD surveillance in those two parishes. CWD is a neurodegenerative disease in deer, is always fatal to infected animals and has been found in 26 states and three Canadian provinces.

Agent honored

Sgt. Tim Fox, of Metairie, was honored Thursday with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrator’s state Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Red Snapper

Through Nov. 21, Louisiana’s private recreational red snapper take is up to 715,568 pounds, or 88% on this year’s 816,439-pound allocation. The estimate comes from the state’s LA Creel survey and comes after weeks of an allowed daily take of four red snapper per day with a 16-inch minimum size limit.