Freshwater fishermen will have more fish to catch in their future — but they'll have to wait for them to grow — after Wildlife and Fisheries’ Inland Fisheries Section totaled their stocking of fingerlings across the state for 2018.

More than 8 million were raised at four sites for release into 59 lakes, reservoirs and urban ponds across the state, and the numbers were heavily weighted for bass fishermen.

Of that 8 million, city, state and federal hatcheries contributed 7,339,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass.

In descending order, the other releases totaled 412,000 bluegill, 117,000 redear sunfish (chinquapin), 58,000 native Northern-strain largemouth bass, 42,000 hybrid stripers, 27,000 channel catfish, 15,000 black crappie (sac-a-lait), 13,000 triploid grass carp, 7,000 threadfin shad and 5,000 golden shiners, the last two species stocked in waters needing more forage fish.

Besides the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries sprawling hatchery near Woodworth and its unit at Rockefeller Refuge, other facilities helped in the spawning and rearing process were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and the City of Shreveport’s Cross Lake Fish Hatchery.

Other items in the end-of-the-year report included:

  • The Red River Waterway Commission stocked 90,000 advanced Florida largemouth bass fingerlings purchased for the Red River by the RRWC and were stocked into the five pools of the Red River to enhance the largemouth bass populations in the river running from north of Shreveport south through Alexandria and into the Atchafalaya Basin.
  • The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass grows “larger than Louisiana’s native Northern largemouth bass, so they are stocked with the goal of increasing an angler’s chance of catching a larger-than-average largemouth bass.
  • Stocking activities are more heavy “in the spring and early summer, then again in the fall, when fingerlings are large enough to be handled and water temperatures are conducive to fish stocking.
  • For a detailed list of stockings by individual lakes, reservoirs and ponds, email: kbutler@wlf.la.gov.

Public ducks

Shane Granier’s weekly reports on public lands waterfowl hunting showed an increase in the action for the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area.

Hunters there took an average of 3.5 ducks from the limited access area in WMA’s Montegut Unit, and averages of three ducks per hunter in the Grand Bayou unit. Most of the ducks were lesser scaup (dos gris), and there was a sprinkling bluewing and greenwing teal with a few greenheads.

As usual the take was 3.6 per hunter on the Pass a Loutre WMA south of Venice off the Mississippi River, and 3.2 ducks on the Atchafalaya Delta WMA. The best hunting in these two WMAs came in the limited access areas — 4.1 at Pass a Loutre and 6-duck limits from Atchafalaya’s Main Delta LAA.

The Salvador-Timkin WMA lagged far behind the other three with less than one duck per hunter.

New Year’s resolution

Parents and guardians interested in getting youngsters ready for spring and summer fishing should take note of a new “Let’s Go Fishing” activity booklet released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It’s part of the NPS’ Junior Ranger program and was designed to introduce families to fishing and the ethics of this life-long sport.

“The Junior Ranger fishing booklet is a great tool to inspire future anglers to get out on the waters and enjoy the American pastime of fishing,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said before his resignation. “Fishing in the rivers and lakes of Montana as a kid instilled in me a lifelong love of the sport.”

More than 500 national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national fish hatcheries offer fishing activities for all ages — and adult need to note there are different rules for youngsters and oldsters — and the booklet, funded by the National Park Foundation, gives youngsters completing the booklet the chance to, according to the NPS, “be sworn in as Junior Ranger Anglers and receive a National Park Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service junior ranger badge.”

“Teaching a child to fish gives him or her an outdoor skill that can bring a lifetime of pleasure,” Cynthia Martinez, National Wildlife Refuge chief, said. “There are hundreds of national wildlife refuges and other public lands across the country, both urban and rural communities, which are great places to fish, and this booklet will tell you all you need to enjoy them.”

For details about the program, or to download a copy of the booklet, go to the National Park Service’s website: nps.gov/subjects/fishing.

Then for a list of the parks, refuges and hatcheries involved in the program, go to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website: fws.gov/refuges/kids/jrrangers.