Louisiana anglers can voice opinions on creel limits, season lengths

Louisiana’s recreational offshore anglers have the opportunity to state their option for their preferences for red snapper management after the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council released its Scoping Guide for Reef Fish Amendment 39.

The amendment covers the increasingly debated regional management plan offered during last week’s GMFMC meeting in Tampa, Fla.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offered its original plan, which called for the state to manage the season length and daily creel limits allowed for recreational fishermen.

After two days discussing the matter, the GMFMC’s guide outlined five regional maps that included:

East and West regions divided at the state waters of Louisiana and Mississippi;

East and West regions divided at what the GMFMC called the “Faunal Break,” which would set Florida in the East Region and the other four Gulf states in the West;

East, Central and West regions that put Texas alone in the West; Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the Central; and, Florida in the East;

Each state standing alone and managing the waters from the southernmost part of Texas east to the Florida Keys;

And, the final map, an each-state region plan that divides federal waters (the Exclusive Economic Zone) into Inner and Outer zones with each state managing specific zones to a point in the Outer EEZ.

The “scoping” document also raised several other issues including: how to allocate the recreational red snapper quota among regions; allocation methods by historic landing numbers, biological abundance or number of anglers; management guidelines; and accountability of regional management to meet federal-control measures.

The entire Scoping Guide presentation is available, and comments can be offered on Website: http://tinyurl.com/8gzj87p.

Shrimp closure

The LDWF is closing all state “inside” waters east of the Mississippi River to shrimping at sunset Friday.

The exception is that the Breton and Chandeleur sounds will remain open.

The closure, according to LDWF biologists, is to protect small white shrimp, recently sampled at more than 100 to the pound, so that they can grow to marketable sizes.

Deadline nears

Feb. 1 is the deadline to apply for the spring turkey hunting season lottery on any of the state wildlife management areas and five ranger districts in the Kisatchie National Forest offering all-hunter and youth-only hunts.

The LDWF reported Wednesday that 689 regular WMA turkey lottery slots and 248 WMA youth turkey hunt slots are available, along with 115 spots for the Kisatchie NF hunts.

Some of the WMA youth turkey hunts will have guides, but the March 16 Kisatchie hunts will not have guides.

The application forms are available on the LDWF website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts.

Lake End additions

Three “lake houses,” fully furnished two-bedroom, two-bath cabins, have been completed and will be available for bookings in February at Lake End Park on Lake Palourde near Morgan City.

The cabins, which can accommodate up to 8, were built by Louisiana Contracting Enterprise of Thibodaux at a cost of $854,985. One cabin has full accessibility for the disabled.

Reservations will be taken via website: http://www.lakeendpark.net.

Lake End Park also has an RV park. Reservations for RV locations in the park can be made through the same website.

The final days

Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area is standing tall heading into the final weekend of the waterfowl season in the state’s Coastal Zone.

The take there Saturday averaged 4.7 ducks per hunter and greenwing teal (42 percent), pintails (26 percent), gray ducks (26 percent) and canvasbacks (6 percent) were included in hunters’ bags.

Salvador WMA’s average was 2.6 ducks per hunter, while Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA dipped to 1.7 and the Atchafalaya Delta to 0.8.

The West Zone closes Sunday, too.