Youth hunters get a break

Advocate staff photo by JOE MACALUSOSummer's last catchSydney Waguespack proudly holds a near three-pound sheepshead she took during a stormy day off Grand Terre Island during the recent  Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. She was fishing with her dad, Mike, and, despite showers, said she didn't want to return to the dock until they caught fish. The 12-year-old from Napoleonville had her catch stay on the leaderboard for most of the first two days of the three-day rodeo, and said she was ready to fish out the few summer days left before she had to return to school.
Advocate staff photo by JOE MACALUSOSummer's last catchSydney Waguespack proudly holds a near three-pound sheepshead she took during a stormy day off Grand Terre Island during the recent Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. She was fishing with her dad, Mike, and, despite showers, said she didn't want to return to the dock until they caught fish. The 12-year-old from Napoleonville had her catch stay on the leaderboard for most of the first two days of the three-day rodeo, and said she was ready to fish out the few summer days left before she had to return to school.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched a program to allow 15-and-younger hunters on Bayou Sauvage NWR lands for youth-only waterfowl hunts, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission had to get into the act.

At its Aug. 1 meeting, the LWFC lifted the ban on hunting in the Bayou Sauvage NWR to allow youth hunting “as well as continued feral hog control on the NWR by the Service to reduce wildlife habitat damage on the refuge,” the emergency declaration said.

The USFWS, the federal agency charged with managing and staffing Bayou Sauvage, clarified the state’s move that becomes effective Sept. 1 on the country’s largest urban NWR.

The USFWS’ statement read: “With the exception of youth waterfowl hunting, the refuge is not open to feral pig hunting or any other form of hunting. However, the refuge is open to recreational fin and shell fishing, as well as, wildlife observation, photography, recreational boating and a variety of other authorized recreational activities. Additional hunting opportunities are also available on the nearby Big Branch Marsh and Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuges located in St. Tammany parish.”

The USFWS’ explanation maintains that youth waterfowl hunting will be open only in areas of the NWR outside the hurricane protection levee system and young hunters will be allowed to hunt from sunrise until noon Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday during the special Sept. 14-29 teal season and during the state’s 60-day waterfowl season.

Young hunters must have a no-fee permit to hunt Bayou Sauvage, and the hunting areas are outlined on the permit. Hunters can get permits from the NWR office, 61389 La. 434, Lacombe, For information, call the USFWS office in Lacombe at (985) 882-2000.

The LWFC enacted the emergency declaration to allow hunting during the teal season. A notice to remove the hunting ban in Orleans Parish was posted with the customary 120-day public comment period. For details, or to make comment, call Wildlife and Fisheries wildlife manager Tommy Tuma at (225) 765-2349 or email: ttuma@wlf.la.gov.

Regs on tripletail

During the Aug. 1 meeting, the LWFC approved a notice to set five-per-day recreational and 100-pound commercial trip limits on tripletail in state waters.

The recommended minimum size is 18 inches.

Louisiana CCA executive director David Cresson said the move would bring Louisiana in line with other Gulf states for managing that species, but provided little biological information for the need to regulate this mostly rarely caught fish.

Tripletail show up off the Louisiana coast during the summer months. Its preferred habitat is floating debris and mats of floating vegetation in nearshore and offshore waters.

Public comment needs to be made before Sept. 5 to Jason Andriance at (504) 284-2032 or email: jandriance@wlf.la.gov.

Classic ‘Cajun Baby’

Despite finishing in the lower half of the field last week in the Bassmaster Elite stop in upstate New York, Cliff “Cajun Baby” Crochet appears to have locked up a spot in the 2014 Classic in Birmingham, Ala., in February.

The Pierre Part angler is in 13th place going into this week’s final Elite Series stop in Michigan.

Dennis Tietje, the touring pro from Roanoke, Va., holds a 30-something spot in the overall Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year standings and it on the bubble in the somewhat complicated formula of choosing the Elite Series anglers making the Classic field.

Anglers who’ve won one of the several Elite tournaments are in the Classic field. So do winning anglers in B.A.S.S. Northern, Southern and Central divisions opens. Depending on how many of those winners are among the tops-in-the-standings Elite Series competitors is how far down in those standings B.A.S.S. can go to get the 36 Elite Series “Classic” qualifiers.

Possibly on the outside looking in is veteran touring pro Greg Hackney, who’s in the 50s in the rankings. Hackney has a 10-year string of Classic appearances on the line.

Spring Bayou

The Avoyelles Parish folks who called to express concerns about aerial application of a herbicide on Spring Bayou have little concerns about its use and its purpose.

LDWF habitat and fisheries biologists said the herbicide was used on 300 acres of lotus, a floating pads plant that had become a hindrance to navigation. The LDWF statement indicated the herbicide used has Environmental Protection Agency approval for aquatic use, and is “not harmful to lake ecosystems, animal life or humans.”

The LDWF did not issue a fish-consumption advisory.

Next stop championship

Nash Roberts IV and Luke Landry won the final Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Tour stop last weekend with a two-reds, 16.25-pound catch out of Delta Marina in Empire.

Their third LSS win this year puts them in second place in the overall standings going into LSS’ two-day championship set Oct. 18-19 at Venice Marina.

The next LSS Youth Tournament will be Nov. 2 at Myrtle Grove Marina.

Roberts and Landry took the champion’s share of an $8,540 pool after they said they ran through the Empire Control Gates to the Delacroix area for their winners. Others in the 48-boat field went to the Venice area.

Drake Garrison won the Youth Division with an 7.84-pound red, while the rest of the top-five teams list included Steve Smith and John Garrison in second place (16.12 pounds), Jason LeBlanc and Kory Matherne in third (15.67), Jacob Leininger and Jeff Rogers (15.55) in fourth and the father-son team of Barnie and Steve White in fifth (15.45).

Department of Widllife and Fisheries biologists reported 140 redfish were tagged and released by Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Staff as part of the Louisiana Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program.