Toledo Bend Reservoir: A Fish Dynasty

Release Date: 07/05/2016

Louisiana lake named top bass fishing destination for a second year in a row
For the second year in a row, Bassmaster Magazine named Toledo Bend Reservoir the "Best Bass Lake" in the nation. In the history of rankings, this is the first time a fishery has held the number one spot for more than one year. 
Since 2012, the magazine has published the annual 100 best bass lakes in the country, and Toledo Bend has placed within the top 15 every year.
Four months of research went into the ranking, including information from state fisheries departments, B.A.S.S. Nation directors, Elite Series pros, the 3,500-member B.A.S.S. Council and B.A.S.S. Facebook fans. Plus reams of catch data from more than a dozen tournament organizations over the past 12 months were studied.
The Toledo Bend Lake Association provides replicas to sportsmen who land bass 10 pounds or larger and release the fish back into the lake alive. Replicas are awarded every June. In 2015, the fishery produced 81 verified fish over 10 pounds. During the 2016 lunker year, running from June 2015 through May 2016, the number of replicas awarded nearly doubled to 139 double-digit bass.
Toledo Bend Lake straddles the Louisiana and Texas border, and lake management is the responsibility of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. These agencies, in addition to various local organizations, have released more than 28 million Florida-strain largemouth fingerlings into the reservoir.
Just last month, LDWF Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery personnel enlisted help from 20 B.A.S.S. Elite Series anglers to help distribute thousands of Florida-strain largemouth fingerlings throughout the lake. Booker Fowler is responsible for raising millions of bass fingerling each year, utilized to stock state water bodies.

Although the introduction of Florida bass into the lake through stocking was beneficial, it certainly was not the lone contributor in the recent increase of trophy bass. Mother Nature deserves much of the credit. 
Drought conditions in 2011 caused the lake water level to drop more than 12 feet below normal, exposing large areas of the lake bottom. Drawdowns, whether man-made or caused by Mother Nature, expose bottom sediments to oxygen and sunlight, increasing decomposition of organic materials.  This improves spawning habitat by solidifying the lake bottom, increasing available forage and releasing nutrients into the water when the lake refills. Improved spawning of all fish species provides greater food resources for the lake’s largemouth bass population.
“We’re honored that Toledo was selected for this title for a second year in a row,” said Ricky Moses, LDWF’s head of freshwater fisheries. “I would like to thank all of the state and private organizations the who helped to make this happen. Through aggressive stocking efforts coupled with day-to-day management decisions (and help from Mother Nature), the lake continues to thrive and produce trophy bass.”
Rounding out the top three spots for the Best Bass Lakes of 2016 were Santee Cooper Lakes in South Carolina at number two, and Clear Lake in California claimed the third spot.


July 2016 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 07/01/2016


For immediate Release
July 1, 2016


The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, July 7, 2016, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA


The following items will be discussed:

1.     Call to Order        

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Approval of June 02, 2016 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege          

6.     To hear Enforcement Reports June 2016   

7.     To hear an update by Ducks Unlimited on the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission funded Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Habitat work in Canada  

8.     To hear an update on the White-Fronted Goose Telemetry Project   

9.     To consider a Declaration of Emergency for Extended Falconry Season for Rails and Gallinules

10.  To hear an update on the public comments received on the Black Bass regulations on the Sabine River Notice of Intent (presented May 5, 2016)  

11.  To consider an NOI to establish the rules and regulations on the importation of cervid carcasses

12.  To consider an NOI to prohibit commercial harvest of blue crabs during a thirty day period for the years 2017-2019 and restrict the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs for the years 2017-2019

13.  To hear a presentation on information relating to the management of Red Snapper and related costs

14.  To hear an update on the Red Snapper Season

15.  Set November 2016 Meeting Date

16.  Receive Public Comments

17.  Adjournment  

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via  To attend this meeting via webinar visit:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at

License to Win! Boat Giveaway Winner Announced

Release Date: 06/30/2016

22-foot Bullsbay boat donated by Venice Marina
LWFF Executive Director Kell McInnis presenting winner Carla Pratt and son Colton with boat keys
Winner Carla Pratt of New Iberia with LWFF Executive Director Kell McInnis
Mike Oncale, Jr. of Cajun Outboards showing winner Carla Pratt the basics of operating her new boat

Carla Pratt of New Iberia will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday much differently than years prior.  She and her family will take to Louisiana’s waterways on their brand new bay boat awarded to her via the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation’s License to Win! Sweepstakes.
The intent of the sweepstakes was twofold – to thank anglers for their unfettered support and improve the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ ability to contact anglers through a brief fishing effort survey, LA Creel. The success of LA Creel not only allows LDWF to better manage fisheries, but ultimately maximizes the amount of fishing opportunities for Louisiana anglers.  
LDWF biologists are on the dock every day, sampling catch and surveying anglers. Because of this intense coverage, LA Creel provides more precise landings estimates and allows the department to accurately count species as they are landed.
During yesterday’s announcement ceremony, LWFF Executive Director Kell McInnis presented the boat keys to Pratt and her son Colton.  Pratt’s husband is currently working overseas, but that didn’t keep him from missing out on the event. Pratt FaceTimed with him on her cellphone, giving him a detailed tour of every inch of their new 22-foot Bullsbay.
“It felt like a dream. Actually, it still feels like a dream,” recalled Pratt when she received the call from McInnis informing her of her good fortune. When asked if she fished often, Pratt said, “We’re a family of fishermen, but haven’t done much saltwater fishing before. We definitely can now.”
Pratt’s son added they’re ready to take the boat out for its maiden voyage this weekend.
The boat package included a 22-foot Bullsbay boat donated by Venice Marina and fitted with a Mercury Outboard funded by Clean Water, Land & Coast, trailer donated by Mike Gerald’s Trailer Depot, prepping and rigging provided by Cajun Outboards and a credit towards a custom boat wrap donated by Picture This Advertising. In addition to the grand prize boat package, the sweepstakes included five monthly prize winners of a YETI Tundra 45 ice chest, Shimano Curado G-Loomis Combo or gift cards from Academy Sports and Outdoors, Texaco and Whole Foods Market.  Additional sponsors include Faux Pas Prints and Louisiana Fish Fry.
“We particularly want to thank the sponsors who donated prizes and made this promotion a reality,” said McInnis. “Through their generosity we were able to reward anglers who are committed to helping the department provide the best data possible on our fisheries.”
“When you purchase a fishing license, you help protect, preserve and manage Louisiana’s bountiful fishing grounds for generations to come,” explained McInnis. “Fishery conservation extends beyond our angling public and touches all Louisiana residents, so we hoped this promotion also served as a motivational tool to entice those outside of the angling community and those who left the sport to support the efforts of the department and purchase a license.”
Pratt and her son walked away with the keys to their new boat and huge grins on their faces with McInnis sending them off with wishes of “many hours of pleasure on the water.”
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries resources. It is a nonprofit, public charitable foundation, tax exempt under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and so recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Its goals are to aid the Department in habitat conservation, youth recruitment, environmental education and training, natural resource research and management, regulation enforcement, and financial assistance to LDWF programs and projects.

Shrimp Season to Close July 3rd in the Majority of Inside Waters

Release Date: 06/30/2016

June 30, 2016 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2016 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 3rd from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the western shore of the Freshwater Bayou canal except for the following waters:

·      That portion of the open waters of Mississippi Sound and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds seaward of the double-rig line

A map detailing this closure will be posted at the site below once it is available.

All remaining state inside waters as well as all state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in R.S. 56:495 will remain open to shrimping until further notice. 

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The decision to close these waters was made to protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes.  The areas that remain open will continue to be monitored and they will also be closed when smaller white shrimp in those areas make it biologically inappropriate to remain open.  


The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also reminds shrimpers that there is a possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound). This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel, EXCEPT during the period from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December when there shall be no possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken or possessed. When more than 50 percent by weight of the saltwater shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, then the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed shall not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total saltwater shrimp taken or possessed.  If compliance issues develop, then the remaining open areas can be closed by the Secretary of Wildlife and Fisheries.

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or

LDWF to Hold Lake Bistineau Public Meetings

Release Date: 06/16/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will conduct an informational meeting concerning Lake Bistineau.
Who:  LDWF Inland Fisheries Staff
What:  Public information meeting on Lake Bistineau
When:  Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.
Where:    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Region 1 Office
                Jonathan Glasscock Memorial Classroom
                9961 Hwy. 80
                Minden, LA 71055
The meeting will include an update on the current status of the lake, and LDWF staff will field questions concerning the management of Lake Bistineau and giant salvinia.  Everyone interested in Lake Bistineau is encouraged to attend. 
Space is limited to 100 individuals, so please keep this in mind when making plans to attend.  
The current LDWF Lake Bistineau Management Plan can be viewed at:
For additional information regarding the meetings, contact Jeff Sibley, LDWF Biologist Manager, at or (318) 371-3066.

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Aquatic Vegetation Control on Chicot Lake

Release Date: 06/15/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) and the Louisiana Office of State Parks, has scheduled a drawdown for Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish for vegetation control and bridge repairs. The drawdown is scheduled to begin after Labor Day on September 6, 2016. The control structure is scheduled for closure on January 2, 2017, to allow the lake to refill and ensure that fish nesting habitat is accessible for springtime spawning. 
In order for LA DOTD to perform the necessary bridge repairs, the lake will initially be lowered at a rate of 3 inches per day to a maximum of 6 feet below pool stage. Caution is advised for boaters during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance of underwater structures.
The lake will be closed to fishing, boating and all other recreation when the lake reaches 3 feet below pool level (39’ MSL). LA DOTD will begin repairs in early October, barring significant rainfall, and they expect to complete repairs within two to three weeks. The control structure will then be closed and the lake allowed to refill until it reaches 3 feet below pool stage.  At that time, the lake will be reopened to fishing and other recreation. The lake will be maintained at that level for vegetation control until January 2, 2017, when the control structure will be closed and the lake allowed to refill.   
This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan developed in 2015 to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Chicot Lake sport fishery.  An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.
LDWF also conducts annual herbicide applications for floating and emergent vegetation. An application of fluridone was applied in the early spring of 2016 near the north fishing pier. This systemic herbicide is used to target early-submersed plant growth. 
For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Jody David, LDWF Biologist Manager, at or (337) 948-0255. 


Agency Partnership Makes Boat Trailer Registration Process More Convenient

Release Date: 06/09/2016

News Release

For Immediate Release
June 9, 2016

Contact: Rene LeBreton
Public InformationLDWF
(504) 286-8745

Contact: Jill H Jarreau
Headquarters Administrator
Office of Motor Vehicles


(Baton Rouge, LA) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) have announced a partnership that will allow customers to register their boats and trailers at one location.

Beginning June 13, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles will have a representative at LDWF headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge every Monday to assist with boat/trailer registrations. Customers will be able complete the registration process without having to go to both agencies.

“We look forward to this partnership with the Office of Motor Vehicles,” said LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon. “We will take advantage of any opportunity to increase the level of our customer service and to become a more user-friendly agency.”

Commissioner Karen St. Germain stated “OMV is pleased to have been given the opportunity to work in conjunction with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and will always take any opportunity to combine customer services when possible.”

LDWF reminds customers that the Louisiana Department of Revenue has a representative available on Mondays at LDWF headquarters to process tax payments for customers registering boats. This addition of the Office of Motor Vehicles will create a one-stop-shop every Monday for new and used boat owners.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us a To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at


For more information on vehicle registration, please visit

LWF Commission Establishes Oyster Harvester Training Program

Release Date: 06/09/2016


News Release
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2016
Contact: Ashley Wethey
Public Information
(504) 286-8733






LWF Commission Establishes Oyster Harvester Training Program

Last week, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action on a Notice of Intent (NOI) to establish an Oyster Harvester Training Program mandated by Act 276 of the 2016 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature.
The purpose of the program is to develop professionalism in the oyster harvest industry. The NOI establishes the requirements needed to complete the program, including training in the Louisiana Shellfish Sanitation Program and the best harvest practices for conservation of the species.
Applicants will be required to complete an online course with a passing score of 80 percent or above in order to receive a certificate. The course must be completed within the previous three years, or within the previous year if course materials have substantively changed.
To view the full notice of intent, please visit here.
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Steve Beck, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to prior to July 19, 2016.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at



2016 Federal Red Snapper Season Extended By Two Days

Release Date: 06/09/2016


News Release


For Immediate Release
June 8, 2016


Contact: Rene LeBreton

Public Information

(504) 286-8745

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2016 Federal Red Snapper Season Extended By Two Days

(Batobn Rouge, LA) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to notify our anglers that NOAA Fisheries is extending the red snapper recreational fishing season for private anglers in the Gulf of Mexico due to impacts of Tropical Storm Colin. 


NOAA Fisheries is extending the season for two additional days in federal waters seaward of 9 nautical miles; the private angler red snapper federal season will close at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, 2016.


The state season for the recreational harvest of red snapper in state waters out to 9 nautical miles is also currently open and will remain open after the federal season closes. LDWF monitors real-time red snapper harvest during 2016 through the LA Creel program.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at



Fish Consumption Advisories

Fish Consumption Advisories

Fish are a lean and nutritious source of protein. However, some fish may contain chemicals that could pose health risks. Louisiana fish consumption advisories are based on the estimate that the average Louisiana resident eats four fish meals per month (a meal is considered to be 6 ounces of fish for adults and children). If you or your family members eat more than four meals of fish a month from local water bodies, you might increase your health risks.

For current advisories call Al Hindrichs at the Department of Environmental Quality at 225-219-3189, or visit the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for more information about eating fish that may contain chemicals.

Consumption advice for women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant & for young children.  

By following these three recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish or shellfish to a young child, but serve smaller portions.

• Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, as these contain high levels of mercury.

• Eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. The five most commonly eaten species that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

• Up to 6 ounces a week of albacore (“white”) tuna may be consumed since this variety may contain more mercury than light tuna.

• Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces per week of fish caught in local waters. Do not consume any other fish that week.

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