Although there’s no firm commitment from the state to increase access to Elmer’s Island beaches, a move during Thursday’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission could open up more of these coastal acres to sportsmen.

Adding more lands to the what’s now being called the “Elmer’s Island Wildlife Complex” will divide the area along La. 1 and Gulf of Mexico/Caminada Bay into a refuge and a wildlife management area.

It’s the WMA, in the area’s newly acquired western tracts that will be open to “consumptive” use. The refuge part, along the beaches, will remain open to fishing only.

LDWF officials announced plans for kayak launches and the possibility of a shuttle service to get fishermen into certain Elmer’s locations, a move that would depend on specific dates to avoid conflicts with shorebirds’ nesting sites. No definitive plays for boardwalk access to the beaches have come from earlier discussions about the future for sportsmen wanting to use the area.

New record species

State Top 10 Fish Records chairman Lyle Johnson, after conferring with the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s Fish Records committee, announced adding Rio Grande Chiclids to the state’s freshwater fish records list.

This fish is more commonly known to New Orleans area fishermen as “Rio Grande perch,” a species which apparently escaped aquariums after levees failed and flooded vast areas of the Crescent City during and after the passage of Hurricane Katrina.

The “perch” settled mostly into the city’s City Park lagoons and proliferated to the point to where it is a mainstay in those waters.

State fish record can be found at the LOWA’s website:

Classic filling

New Jersey’s Adrian Avena, former Bassmaster Classic champ Chris Lane and Alabama’s Gerald Swindle won their head-to-head matches last week and claimed berths in the 2019 Classic set for March in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Avena’s final catch on Georgia's Carters Lake weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces to down Japan’s Shin Fukae’s one-fish, 1-5 catch in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Classic Bracket.

Swindle defeated veteran Scott Rook, and Lane used topwaters and jerkbaits to claim the win over fellow Alabama pro Greg Vinson.

Another VanDam honor

Kevin VanDam, a four-time Classic champion and seven-time BASS Angler of the Year, is the top inductee this year in the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri.

VanDam set the five-fish daily Bassmaster Classic record on Lake Cataouatche near New Orleans.