On the surface, it appears action taken by Wylie Corporations, Orange Grove Holding LLC, and T. Baker Smith LLC is the last straw for concerned recreational fishermen in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

These three landowners have placed what recreational fishermen have described as “no more than a line of linked floats” in an attempt to block access to a popular fishing location, The Orange Grove.”

Described in the June 1 application to the Army Corps of Engineers, the area is “located approximately 8 miles west of Houma in the Orange Grove Oil and Gas Field.”

After watching similar floating barricades set out in the Union Oil canals and the Crawford Canal among others in coastal Louisiana, an appeal is under way to the Corps of Engineers to investigate whether these are in violation of a federal regulation banning such barriers if connected to the federally managed Intracoastal Waterway.

The public comment period about the installation of six access gates in the Orange Grove canals is Monday, and recreational fishing groups are challenging whether this project does, in fact, comply with federal regulations.

The application states: “The applicant has certified that the proposed activity described in the application complies with and will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the Louisiana Coastal Resources Program. The Department of the Army permit will not be issued unless the applicant receives the approval or a waiver of the Coastal Use Permit by the LA Department of Natural Resources, Office of Coastal Management.”

Public comment should be directed to the Corps’ project manager Amy Oestringer, (504) 862-2272, and should be identified by application number MVN-2020-00356-WQQ. Email: Amy.L.Oestringer@usace.army.mil.

In a response to filings concerning blockings of these three canals systems, Oestringer wrote: “I will gladly investigate the other gates that you have mentioned, to determine if they are authorized, and if they are not, our enforcement office will ensure that they are removed.”

The aftermath

Places like Shell Beach, other St. Bernard Parish waters and Grand Isle appeared to take most of Cristobal’s storm surge, but most of south Louisiana’s top fishing holes were spared in the Sunday-through-Tuesday run of this storm through our area.

There will continue to be problems in the Pearl River after the storm dumped rain in the river’s drainage in Mississippi. Heavy rains in the Midwest and up into the northern reaches mean levels in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers will not fall anytime soon.

The storm’s impact will continue this week, but according to federal river watchers, “...flooding should end on the smaller tributaries in Louisiana and Mississippi (but) flooding will continue in Arkansas for several more weeks … and falls should continue on the lower Ohio and lower Mississippi Rivers through the month of June.”

On the brighter side, Cristobal’s lesser-than-expected impact and continuous north winds have dropped water levels in the Verret Basin to the point where most landings are open, including the “car wash” landing (closed for nearlyu two months) in Stephensville.

While it means increased boat traffic, especially after recent reports of first-rate bass, sac-a-lait and catfish catches, boaters should know the water remains fairly high and no wake zones will be enforced.

The catfish run continues at False River, and now that levels are falling on all Florida Parishes rivers — except the Pearl — it’s time to think about getting after what should be excellent panfish action on live and artificial baits. If it’s artificial, try combinations of tube jigs 12-18 inches under a small cork and small chartreuse/black Beetle Spins.

Continued north winds into this week have put the “iffy” label on most places east of the Mississippi River, but action on trout and redfish resumed from Grand Isle areas west into lower Terrebonne waters.

Snapper update

Using LA Creel data, Wildlife and Fisheries staff said Louisiana anglers have taken 22% of the annual private recreational red snapper quota through May 31. That translates into 169,270 pounds of the 784,332-pound allotment. If you need more information, go to: wlf.louisiana.gov/page/red-snapper.

Trout survey

Folks with LDWF Marine Fisheries, LSU and Louisiana Sea Grant are asking recreational anglers to complete a survey they will use in gathering public input on speckled trout management options.

The survey comes after a series of statewide public meetings on this topic and is in addition to email survey sent to more than 10,000 randomly selected fishermen holding saltwater licenses.

The most recent LDWF data indicates trout are overfished. The report stated, “...the size of the spawning population is below the minimum level established for the stock.”

Speckled trout info is on the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/page/spotted-seatrout, and that’s where you can take the “Spotted Seatrout Management Options Survey.”

New LWFC member

Pearl, Inc. seafood processor Andrew Blanchard was named by Gov. John Bel Edwards to fill the seat on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission vacated by Bobbie Samanie, whose term expired in December.

Blanchard lives in Houma and is a lifelong Louisiana resident.

And the winner is

How fitting is it amidst this pandemic that Lufkin, Texas, nurse Scott Tomez won the B.A.S.S.-sponsored Fish With Scott Canterbury sweepstakes.

According to B.A.S.S., Tomez has spent most of the past two months working in the emergency room in a hometown hospital.

“I've never won anything like this before,” Tomez said. “After the way this year has been, winning was a huge blessing and a great surprise.”

He’ll accompany Canterbury, a national touring pro angler, on a bass fishing vacation valued at more than $52,000 to spend time on what Tomez called his “home lakes,” Sam Rayburn Reservoir in east Texas and Toledo Bend on the Louisiana-Texas border.

“(I) look forward to catching fish again,” Tomez said.