Mother Nature sent the warning late last week: Summer’s here and you’d best take precautions.

Emergency room physicians and dietitians are advising anyone working or playing in this heat needs to drink water and plenty of it.

The hearty folks who work outside throughout the year in Louisiana already know what it takes to survive these oppressive extremes of 90-plus degree days and near jungle-like humidity.

For the occasional outdoorsman, the advice is to start hydrating the day before that next fishing trip, then make sure to drink 4-8 ounces of water at least every half-hour, if not sooner, while you’re on a boat.

Word is while sports drinks help, fishermen and boaters should not rely on those liquids exclusively, and mix cold water in with these bottles liquids.

And make sure the water is cold, because cold water in your stomach will cool the blood in the arteries near the stomach.

Cold towels and light clothing are musts, too, and stay away from alcoholic beverages until after you get off the boat. Alcohol is proven to delay your body’s reaction to the heat, and these liquids can’t offset fluid loss the way water can.

And from all indications, it's going to be a long, hot summer before we'll be able to catch fish in the Atchafalaya Spillway or the Pearl River and expand the areas down river on the Mississippi. Rivers remain high and it might be the end of the month before the Mississippi gets down to a 15-foot mark on the Baton Rouge gauge. Even though the Atchafalaya River is falling, fluctuating levels mean most species are what the old-timers report "still back in the woods."

A second reminder

You need a new fishing license: Your 2016-2017 fishing and hunting licenses expired Friday, and to be legal on all Louisiana waters you need to basic and saltwater fishing licenses.

And a second check goes to deep-water fishermen heading out to take advantage of the expanded red snapper season. You need a free Recreational Offshore Landing Permit if you want to bring home red snapper and several other reef fish and deep-water species.

You can get the ROLP and all other licenses from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website:

Weekend conditions

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Forecasts: Find the “Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zones — Gulf — New Orleans, La.” and a map with 13 different nearshore, offshore and Lake Pontchartrain wind and waves predictions for the next five days.
  • Weather Underground: Current conditions, a 10-day forecast, and hour-by-hour predicted temperatures, winds, precipitation and barometric pressure.
  • National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center: for river stages.