LDWF News Release

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.


LDWF Investigating Boat Accident That Kills Dry Prong Man on Cane River

Release Date: 07/04/2016

July 4, 2016 – A Dry Prong man was killed Saturday morning on the Cane River near Natchitoches when the boat in which he was fishing was struck by another vessel. William R. Morrison, 65, was ejected into the water and died when a boat driven by Shannon Mctire, 39, hit the vessel in which Morrison was fishing.
A passenger in Morrison’s boat, Teresa Halbert, wasn’t seriously injured in the accident.
Morrison and Halbert were stationary fishing in a bend on the Cane River at approximately 7:20 a.m. when the accident occurred. Mctire came around the bend in the river and collided with the vessel’s bow, knocking Morrison into the river. Morrison was in the bow of the boat fishing and Halbert in the aft.
Mctire immediately stopped his boat and jumped in the water to assist Morrison, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Charges are pending in the case, however, alcohol was not a factor.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident led by LDWF Sgt. Joseph Melton.


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 Gotowebinar.com.  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 www.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF to Begin Road Improvement Work at Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area on July 5

Release Date: 07/01/2016

July 1, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will begin road improvements, including ditch work and culvert installation, Tuesday (July 5) at Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Roads included in the project are Muddy Bayou Road, Nolan’s Bayou Road, Hunt Road south of the diversion canal and Taylor Bayou Road. Signs will be posted along the roads to inform motorists of construction activities ahead. Motorists should exercise caution and expect potential delays when approaching a construction zone.
Dewey W. Wills WMA is located in the southern portion of LaSalle and Catahoula parishes in central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2753 .
For more information, contact Cliff Dailey at 318-487-5885 or adailey@wlf.la.gov .


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 jmarx@wlf.la.gov

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Provides Information and Recommendations For Alligator Encounters

Release Date: 06/29/2016

June 29, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is charged with managing the abundant American alligator population in the state and has made available recommendations and suggestions when encountering them.
Perhaps the most important advice, says LDWF Alligator Program Manager Edmond Mouton, is not to feed or approach alligators.
“When alligators are fed by humans they overcome their fear and natural shyness and become attracted to humans,’’ Mouton said. “That is why it is so vital not to feed or entice them. We also strongly recommend not swimming at any time in areas frequented by alligators. Also, it is important to not allow small children to play by themselves around water bodies that may contain alligators.
“The goal of LDWF is to manage the state’s alligator population in a way so that it continues to be a conservation success story. Part of that is educating the public on alligators, including how to avoid interaction with them.’’
Some other do’s and don’ts when coming in contact with alligators recommended by LDWF:
·         Do use common sense and precautions.
·         Do inform others that feeding alligators creates safety problems for others who want to use the water for recreational purposes.
·         Don’t throw fish scraps into the water or leave them on shore. Although you are not intentionally feeding alligators the end result can be the same.
·         Do dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps or fish camps.
·         Do enjoy viewing and photographing wild alligators from a safe distance of at least 50 feet or more.
·         Don’t kill, harass, molest or attempt to move alligators. State law prohibits such actions, and the potential for being bitten or injured by a provoked alligator is high.
·         Don’t remove any alligators from their natural habitat or accept one as a pet. It is a violation of state law to do so. Alligators do not become tame in captivity and handling even small ones may result in bites. In particular, never go near hatchling/young alligators or pick them up. They may seem harmless, but the mother alligator may be nearby, and may protect her young for at least two years.
LDWF has in a place a nuisance alligator program that can be utilized when alligators are seen adjacent to or in their native habitat and are causing a public safety hazard. (Click here to see a list of contact numbers to report a nuisance alligator).
The LDWF’s Alligator Program website portal (lagatorprogram.com) provides other details on alligators, including habitat and historical data. LDWF’s sustained use Alligator Program is separated into three categories: wild alligator management, alligator farming/ranching and nuisance alligators.
For more information, go to the LDWF website alligator page or contact Edmond Mouton at 337-373-0032 or emouton@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Accepting Applications for 2016 Lottery Teal Hunts at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area

Release Date: 06/28/2016

June 28, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2016 lottery teal hunts on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Vermilion Parish through July 25.
Available dates include Saturday, Sept. 10; Sunday, Sept. 11; Tuesday, Sept. 13; Thursday, Sept. 15; Saturday, Sept. 17; Sunday, Sept. 18; Wednesday, Sept. 21; Saturday, Sept. 24; and Sunday, Sept. 25.
Persons 18 years of age or older can apply and only one application per hunter will be accepted. Applications are available on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications or by writing to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Teal Hunt, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
Completed applications must be received by close of business on July 25. A $5 non-refundable administration fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries must accompany each application.
Each applicant who is selected will be allowed to bring one additional hunter as a guest. All hunters must have appropriate licenses, including a basic hunting license (or Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise license), a Louisiana duck license, federal duck stamp and HIP permit.
Successful applicants will be notified by mail and required to submit an additional check or money order for $250 per hunt party. Applications are non-transferrable.
For more information on White Lake WCA teal season lottery hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1, or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov .


Louisiana Archers Claim Second Straight National Archery in Schools Program World Championship

Release Date: 06/27/2016

Benton Middle School archers captured their second NASP World Tournament title
Louisiana archers compete in the 2016 NASP World Tournament

June 27, 2016 – After bringing home Louisiana’s first National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) national championship in May, Benton Middle School claimed its second straight NASP world title last weekend.
Benton won the championship, beating Castle North Middle School of Indiana by an impressive 70 points, at the 2016 NASP World Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Archers from six Louisiana schools competed alongside more than 4,000 other students from the United States, Canada, and Mongolia.  A total of 103 Louisiana student archers, part of the Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) program, attended the 2016 NASP World Tournament after earning the right by qualifying at the NASP National Tournament in May.
Benton Middle archers improved their score from NASP Nationals by 40 points.
“That isn’t as an easy feat when your archers are already shooting at such a high level,” said ALAS State Coordinator Robert Stroede, who oversees the program for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “It is impressive to see the dedication of these students. They gave up half of their summer vacation to prepare for this tournament and it’s great to see their hard work and determination pay off.”
The win was definitely a team effort with every Benton Middle School team member shooting a 260 or above. The team was led by Abbie Rutledge, the top female shooter from Louisiana with a 291 score ranking her fourth among middle school girls. Riley Daniels was the top male shooter for the team, firing a 290 which put him 15th among middle school boys.
Benton Middle wasn’t done yet though. Held in conjunction with the NASP World Tournament was the 2016 NASP World IBO 3-D Challenge. Thanks to stellar performances by Emma Bunch, Aidan Haire and Kaitlyn Misenheimer, Benton Middle School also won Louisiana’s first NASP 3D World Championship. 
Benton Middle School archers also brought home hardware as individuals in the 3-D event. After shooting a 291, Emma Bunch was named the middle school girls world champion. Aidan Haire and Kaitlyn Misenheimer both shot 289s and placed third in the middle school division.
Two other Louisiana schools captured impressive finishes from the 2016 NASP World IBO 3D Challenge. Benton Elementary School and Kingston Elementary in Benton placed second and third, respectively, in the elementary school division. The two schools finished just three points apart. Kingston was competing in its first year in NASP events. Kennedy Halsell of Kingston Elementary received an individual award after shooting a 276 and placing fourth in the elementary girls division.
Benton Elementary school improved their score from NASP Nationals by 40 points, but it wasn’t quite enough to defend its world championships from the past two years.  However, both Benton and Kingston Elementary also had a strong showing in the bullseye portion of the tournament finishing second and fourth, respectively.
Other notable finishes at the NASP World Tournament included: top 25 finishes by both Northwood High School (17th) and Haughton Middle School (24th). Jena Junior High placed 35th in this, its first NASP World Tournament. Northwood High School also broke the top ten in the World IBO 3D Challenge placing ninth with Jena Junior High finishing 22nd.  To see all results for the 2016 NASP World Tournament and the 2016 NASP World IBO 3-D Challenge visit www.nasptournaments.org.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to extend congratulations to all Louisiana student archers and coaches who competed at the 2016 NASP World Tournament.
All students and schools who participated in the NASP World Tournament are part of the ALAS program, which is designed to teach students in grades 4-12 international target style archery. The NASP/IBO 3-D program features students shooting life-like 3-D animal targets with the same equipment used in the NASP program. The ALAS/NASP program is available to all schools in Louisiana and grants are available to assist with funding.  For more information regarding the ALAS program, please contact NASP State Coordinator Robert Stroede at rstroede@wlf.la.gov or 318-484-2276.


Hunting Rules, Regulations, Season Schedules for 2016-17 Now Available on Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Website

Release Date: 06/23/2016

June 23, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has released its 2016-17 hunting regulations pamphlet online at the LDWF website. Click here to view the upcoming season’s regulations.
The pamphlet contains hunting rules, regulations and season dates for the 2016-17 season, including hunting information on LDWF’s Wildlife Management Areas and Louisiana’s federal lands.
Printed copies of the pamphlets will be available in early August at LDWF offices throughout the state and at vendors where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
New to this year’s hunting regulations pamphlet are migratory bird zones, seasons and regulations. Formerly, migratory bird regulations were published in a separate brochure.  From this year forward, they will be included as part of the annual regulations pamphlet.
This season’s regulation pamphlet also has season schedules for the state’s 10 deer hunting areas and major changes for the 2016-17 season.
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 318-487-5885, 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.

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