Here’s hoping you’ve got more to do today, on this special holiday, than to read rather than enjoy the great outdoor adventures our Louisiana has to offer.

Remember to stay safe, avoid drinking alcohol and driving on the road as well as the water, and that goes for Monday when most folks have their three-day holiday weekend.

At any rate, there is news from our outdoors world, and it begins at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

COVID-19 reared its ugly head in, of all places, the LDWF’s licensing division.

The report from the middle of last week was, “several staff members in the licensing division located at its headquarters on 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with someone who has tested positive.”

So, just when all hunting and recreational fishing licenses had to be renewed (or purchased for the first time) — remember the 2020-21 licenses expired Wednesday — staffing was a problem at state headquarters even though the office remained open.

You can renew/purchase licenses through retail vendors, or go to the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov.

Fishing

With a front covering south Louisiana with rain during this holiday, it’s good to report about the coast and all the action on speckled trout.

Word is, when weather allows, trout are showing up in good numbers both east and west of the Mississippi River. Work the beaches on rising tides and the passes, points and reefs on falling tides.

Pick your favorite lure, although it seems hard plastics like MirrOlures and topwaters are taking larger trout.

News from the MRGO/Intracoastal Canal areas is that redfish have moved in, and this provides opportunity to take trout, reds and bass in pretty much the same areas. Looks like Sinkos and other jerkworm-like baits are working on all three species.

The Verret area is producing bass on Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and shad-colored crankbaits. Bream are taking crickets, and there’s been a fair run on chinquapin (use nightcrawlers) in the Flat Lake area.

Fish moving water in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Deeper water

The LDWF marine fisheries staff released the latest red snapper catch at 286,833 pounds through the June 20 three-day season. That’s 34% of our state’s 832,493-pound annual private recreational allocation.

If you want to see the landing’s estimates, go to this LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/red-snapper.

  • Federal fisheries managers revealed its final rule for gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico with increases in recreational and commercial  catches.

The new rule has a July 29 effective date, and allocates 79% of the total 456,900 pounds to the recreational sector and 21% for commercials. That’s a recreational annual catch limit of 360,951 pounds (whole weight) with an annual catch target of 274,323 pounds. For the commercials, those numbers are 95,949 catch limit and 88,273 pounds catch target.

The full filing is listed on the Federal Register (name/number): 86 FR 34159, published June 29, 2021.

  • The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s latest meeting showed cobia (lemonfish) is not overfished, but is “currently experiencing overfishing.” The suggestion is that while “the stock assessment appears to allow for increased harvest, they actually represent an approximate 30% reduction from the current allowable harvest.”
  • The council opted for the “preferred” alternative that retains a 92% allocation for recreationals and an 8% allocation for commercials in Florida waters, and a one-per-day catch for commercials there.
  • For king mackerel, the report indicated the stock is not being overfished nor is there overfishing, and continued stating, “Since the recreational sector has not caught its allocation of king mackerel in over 20 years, the council asked staff to update the document by adding alternatives that consider shifting allocation to the commercial sector.”
  • For greater amberjack, the report is not good. This species continues to be overfished and the stock is “undergoing overfishing.” The report used Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) data showing recreational landings and effort more than doubled previous estimates.
  • For redfish, the council “discussed extending state management of red drum for Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana out to nine nautical miles.”

Our young anglers

Dylan Breaux and Gage Boquet finished 10th among a long list of qualifiers in last weekend’s Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series on Lay Lake in Alabama. This Lafourche Bassmasters team’s five bass weighed 11 pounds, 5 ounces. The winning weight was 17-15.

Other south Louisiana teams finishing in the top 50 included Walker High’s Garrett Thomas and Caleb Seymour (29th, 9-5); Central High’s Cayden Walls and Connor Moulin (31st, 9-2); Brentyn Wheat and Samuel Cobb from the Livingston Parish Bassmasters (38th, 8-11); Parkview Baptist’s Hunter Hamilton and Noah Higgins (41st, 8-6); West Baton Rouge Bassmasters’ Tyler Morris and Connor Hebert (47th, 8-3); and, Sulphur High’s Blayne Carpenter and Drake Koonce (49th, 7-14).

In the Bassmaster Junior Series on the same lake, Lafourche Junior Bassmasters’ Matthew Fontenot and Cole Billiot finished 16th with a 5-2 catch.