Mermentau River replenished: 677,400 Fla. strain bass added to waterway

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, April 24, 2022

There are now thousands more fish in the Mermentau River for local fishermen and anglers to enjoy.

More than a dozen local fishermen and anglers helped the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department release over 677,400 juvenile Florida strain bass Wednesday at various locations on the Mermentau River. The fish were released at the newly renovated Mermentau boat launch just off U.S. 90 east of Jennings and Houssiere Park in Jennings.

Another 850,000 native bass were released last week from the Lowery boat launch near Lake Arthur.

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“I am looking forward to sustainability and seeing the fish get back to where they were before the hurricanes,” said Chris Myers, an investigator for the Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney’s Office, who aided in the bass stocking.

Myers said back-to-back hurricanes in 2020 caused many local waterways to be blocked with fallen trees and other debris that killed vegetation and lowered oxygen levels causing many fish to die.

“The effort to stock the Mermentau Basis with bass happened because we all care about our beautiful state and the fact that we are the sportsman’s paradise,” State Rep. Troy Romero said. “It is my hope that we will see a huge increase in bass fishing and catching on the Mermentau soon.”

Romero worked with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, State Rep. John Stefankski of Crowley, LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet, local fishermen Dennis Tietje and Myers as part of the plan to rejuvenate the fish population on the Mermentau River after being approached by members of a local fishing club to restock the river.

“Staff from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries distributed large plastic bags of fish which were released from boats into various parts of the river. The fish were raised at the Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery in Forest Hill.

Fishermen and fishing tournament organizers have seen a decline in activity in the last few years, Myers said. He hopes the activity will return to the river with the release of the new fish.

“People are going to other places to fish,” he said. “We want to bring them back here.”

Fishing gives children and families something to do together and provides recreation for many people, he said.

Fishing also has an economic impact on the area by attracting more fishermen, tournaments and fundraisers, he said. Those people spend money buying fuel, snacks and other supplies, he said.

“I think this is great,” said Joey Guidry of Hathaway. “I have been fishing here a long time and the fishing is either really good or really bad and lately it has been bad. Hopefully the release will improve fishing for future years.”

Fisherman Johnny Navarre said he was eager to help with the release because restocking the river will maintain fish for years to come.

“This will be something for my grandchildren to do later on,” Navarre said.