The idea of commenting on the ongoing and recently concluded hunting seasons along with next season’s proposed dates and regulations had to be put on the back burner this week.

Have you checked out this week’s weather forecast?

If you don’t like damp and cold, you’d better head farther south than where we live.

There’s even the possibility of snow — yes! — those little white flakes that rarely fall from our skies is predicted Friday night into early Saturday.

If you want to get on the water, it’s best you do it between now and Tuesday. Cold rain’s in the forecast Tuesday afternoon through early Saturday, and the worst of it comes Thursday and Friday.

Even worse, it’s gonna be cold. Tuesday’s 72-degree high will slide down to temperatures ranges of 51-32, 37-27 and 39-24 later this week.

For coastal anglers, the effects of five to six days of north winds means you’ll find low water levels well into next week — and remember February’s high tides are among the lowest of the year, so you won’t find much water moving back into the marshes through the end of this month.

Again, it’s the cloud covey that brings a quadruple whammy for anglers. Rain, cold, winds and clouds will make it tough to catch anything.

Maybe this will be the week you clean and oil reels, polish the guides on those rods and get that tackle box ready for what should be prime-time fishing.

And, yes, the sac-a-lait run continues across south Louisiana, and there were signs of bass moving to the shallows, but all that activity will be put on hold by this advancing weather system.

On the wing

With duck, dove and woodcock (however few woodcock made it here) seasons over and the rare chance to get into a goose field for the Conservation Order season — the weather later this week could be perfect — wingshooters shouldn’t forget about snipe.

With woodcock, snipe present the gamest bird in the migration.

You have to find them, sure, but snipe like upland and marshland habitats. Their long beaks probe soft dirt for worms just like woodcock do in our swamps and soft-forest habitat, and they’re harder to bring down than most any bird we hunt.

After scouting an area, and, hopefully, finding these darting, diving birds, the trick is to combine your scouting success with a chilly, windy day, which you will have this week. You want to walk with the wind to your back. You don’t need a dog because snipe seem to sense your approach and they rise into the wind meaning they will fly toward you when they jump.

It’s great sport and great eating.

The mailbag

At the risk of going all Smiley Anders on our Outdoors readers — hey, everybody knows Smiley — it’s time to run a rare letter suggesting a change for Baton Rouge Recreation folks and Wildlife and Fisheries fishery managers.

Here’s the letter to BREC’s top man Corey Wilson:

“Dear Superintendent Wilson,

Please consider a change to your policy of stocking fish into the lake at Burbank Park.

On January 14th the lake was stocked with rainbow trout only to have half of the stock caught within 15 minutes by a crowd surrounding the (fish stocking) truck. The fish never had a chance to spread into the lake and most of us never had a chance to catch them.

I propose making the lake off limits during and after the stocking for 24 hours to give the fish and all citizens a fighting chance. I can assure you that your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly,

Richard Marshall

EBR resident and taxpayer”

Mr. Marshall’s letter reflects the sentiment of several fishermen in the many years BREC has stocked rainbow trout in its parks’ ponds.

His suggestion is one that would give more folks a chance to take what BREC and Wildlife and Fisheries affords during the winter, and there’s evidence the Burbank Park pond wasn’t the only place this happens and has happened.

Taking this a step forward, BREC and the LDWF folks should put up “No Fishing” signs for 48 hours after the rainbows are stocked. This gives the fish a chance to find suitable water to carry them through the winter — remembering rainbows need water temperatures below 65 degrees to live — and spread out the fishing opportunity for more than just a few days.

Seems that’s a better way to handle this situation than a few folks pillaging a spot where rainbows are concentrated shortly after being dumped into a pond.

Thanks Mr. Marshall.

A goodbye

It’s been a few weeks since the news came about Sam Barbera.

It’s hard to believe this switch-always-on guy isn’t around, that a call won’t be answered, or at least his cell’s voice mail wouldn’t lead to an always cheerful return call.

The folks who knew Capt. Sam — really knew him — have stories, many stories.

One night, when we were placing pink flamingo wooden cutouts in City Park Lake at LSU, an obviously distressed young woman pulled up to the lake’s landing off Dalrymple Drive. We motored over, then pulled the hood latch to find an overheated radiator. Her small SUV had a leaking hose. Sam carried all sorts of who-knows-what in his truck and found “rescue” tape, used my gloves, wound the tape around the hose, fetched a gallon of water from his truck on that moonless night, and sent the LSU co-ed on her way with the promise of getting her dad to repair her car the next morning.

That was Sam, one among the billions walking Earth who cared more about the folks around him than himself — kids and adults.

The reason he was Captain Sam dates from his days heading a military police unit in the Louisiana National Guard. It was in service to our country when he suffered a head injury in a helicopter crash, an injury led to him being diagnosed with CTE (don’t ask me to explain that). It’s the same malady doctors are finding in longtime football players and others who’ve suffered brain trauma.

The most painfully distressing part of all was Sam had to fight CTE’s tragic effects in his last months.

There are few words to assuage the pain his wife, Tracey, Sam’s family and his many beloved friends feel today, but, knowing Sam, he’ll want us to remember all the good times — and there were lots of them on and off the water — and not the affliction that changed him and not the pain he suffered.

Crab traps

Wildlife and Fisheries has canceled its annual derelict crab trap volunteer cleanup events this year. COVID-19 is to blame for ending a 16-year run on clearing waterways of traps.

The decision continues to leave removal plans with collections by agency staff and contractors.

The closure areas and dates include:

  • Pontchartrain Basin in an area west of Delacroix to the Mississippi River; Terrebonne Basin in an area west of Bayou Lafourche; and, in the Vermilion Basin in an area in East Cote Blanche Bay through 11:59 p.m., Feb. 14;
  • and, in the Pontchartrain Basin, in an area east of Delacroix to the MRGO, from midnight, Feb. 22 through 11:59 p.m., March 7.

The decision means only Wildlife and Fisheries personnel, or their designees, will be allowed to remove traps, and landowners must provide permission to access their property, and the removal can be done between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. All abandoned traps removed during these dates must "must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.”

Need more? Call Peyton Cagle at (337) 491-2575/e-mail: pcagle@wlf.la.gov.