The Wild Side: On these unusual conditions

Check out the red oak trees lately?

Tassels are hanging from every branch. Willows are sending out their first green leaves, too.

And the bridal wreath my wife loves so much is in full bloom.

Spring is here, the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers are falling, and we’re only a third of the way into March.

Better yet, it’s spring, not the normal Louisiana springtime that transfers from winter’s chill into summer’s sweat in a matter of weeks, sometimes days. That’s terrific, especially for turkey hunters who don’t mind a gentle, warm afternoon, but want crispy cool mornings so they don’t have swat mosquitoes at the same time they’re concentrating on that big gobbler heading their way.

All these unusual conditions aren’t going unnoticed by freshwater anglers, especially bass fishermen, who know they’re getting a break with the Mississippi and Atchafalaya on a run to what, in a normal year, would be summertime low readings.

The National Weather Service projections are that the Mississippi River will hit the 13.5-foot mark April 3, the same day the Mississippi River reading at New Orleans is predicted to be at the 3.3-foot level.

Those readings will mean:

Old River should provide first-rate sac-a-lait catches with some bass action in the coming weeks (the Mississippi River stops flowing into this Pointe Coupee Parish oxbow at the 15-foot mark).

Bass fishing in the Venice area should be off-the-charts good for this time of the year.

Bass and sac-a-lait will show up in late spring and summertime spots much earlier.

Catches of Spillway crawfish we like to boil at Easter could be in short supply because of the low water.

With four major bass tournaments following last weekend’s Children’s Hospital tournament, it’s possible we could see giant stringers for the winners.

Just remember the adage “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” We can only hope this windy weekend is the lion, and the last weekends of the month, the days when the state will open the recreational red snapper season will be lambs.

New program

Wildlife and Fisheries has set up a Louisiana Bass Tournament Program and is asking bass clubs and tournament organizers to report their results so that inland fisheries biologists can establish a data base on catches and locations to help anglers around the state and the region.

The program will generate an annual report — the 2013 data is promised to be available in early 2014 — to provide fellow fishermen with information on what to expect from Louisiana waters at certain times of the year.

Tournament report cards are available online: http://www.wlf.la.gov/louisiana-bass-tournament-program. Or call LDWF’s Chase Chatelain (381) 748-6914.