Louis Bonnette Outdoors: Lame duck-hunting season comes to end

Louis Bonnette, Special to the American Press

Spring is coming and along with it the opening of the national wildlife refuges for fresh-water fishing.

A spokesperson for the reserves said plans are in place to open the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge on March 15 and that the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge could be opened by then, depending on how much reconstruction work had to be done in the area before then.

Last week the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries did its share in getting people ready for spring fishing by stocking the state’s lakes and ponds with rainbow trout.

This is an annual project and is called the “Get Out and Fish Community Fishing Program.”

The closest stocking the LDWF did was at the Purple Heart Memorial Park in Ragley. Fish were put in last Thursday.

Billy Smith, a member of the South Beauregard Recreation District board, said the 19-acre park is open 24 hours a day. He also noted that the park included a half-mile walking, running track that has 13 exercise stations and is well lighted.

He said a special fishing day and program is usually scheduled following the stocking of the rainbow trout but that none will be held this year because for obvious reasons.

The pond is also stocked with channel catfish about four times a year so fishing there should be good year-round.

All fishermen 16 years and older must have a state license to fish. Those under that age fish free.

In regards to fishing for the rainbow trout and the catfish, the LDWF provided the following information.

A department memo read: “We suggest fishing for rainbow trout with a light line and small hook. You might try a small spinner lure or rooster tail. Many people also have luck with power baits (baits made from dough). Treble hooks are better with the dough baits.”

Shawn Kinney, who is the local biologist manager for the LDWF and was at the stocking, said he has caught the trout on a small silver spoon. He also said 300 pounds of the trout were stocked in the pond and that the daily limit is five. There is no size limit.

As for the channel catfish, Kinney said they prefer strong-smelling baits and that liver and cheese balls fished along the bottom of the pond would be a preference. There is a size limit of 11 inches for the channel cat, but fishermen can possess up to 25 undersized fish.

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The only other area pond that was stocked with the rainbow trout is the Interstate 10 park in Jennings.

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As for duck hunting, it comes to a close on Saturday for both the Coastal and the West zones. The East Zone remains open until Jan. 31.

It hasn’t been one of the best for many hunters in the Coastal Zone this year. One hunter reported that his trips last week did not produce a shot. He reported seeing good groups of pintails (30-40 in a bunch) but couldn’t get them to approach.

Activity has been good in the marsh areas south of town and over on the west side south of Hackberry.

Hunters are hoping that the recent cold front could help ducks make a bigger swing around the area this final week.A mallard pair cruise in the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. Mallards have not been among the largest duck species seen in our corner of the state this season.

Louis Bonnette, Special to the American Press

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