The only constant in Louisiana is change, and the poster-child of that change is our inshore fishery.
A brief glance at the history of the marsh reveals one major alteration after another.
What happened in the past
In a nutshell, we cut out the freshwater and brought in the salt — lots of it.
Bigger levees cut off the Mississippi River from the marsh it once built, then the construction of large shipping canals gave the Gulf of Mexico direct access to the heart of Louisiana's freshwater marshes.
But today's coastal restoration efforts, river diversions and even Mother Nature are changing the landscape, yet again.
What's changing now
The river is being reconnected to the marsh and those large shipping canals have been dammed off, with the MRGO in Hopedale being one of them.
Dredging projects are creating more land, and abnormally high river levels across the state are pushing saltwater back.
Because of these changes, we don't catch flounder like we used to. Where I once caught limits of them I am now catching something else: largemouth bass.
You've probably noticed this, too. Places like Hopedale, the Rigolets and Bayou Bienvenue have freshened up, growing aquatic grass and creating habitat for America's fish.
I'm not particularly against this (and it wouldn't matter if I were since there's nothing I can do) because bass are in the mash year-round, make excellent table fare and are just plain fun to catch.
Honestly, having this third species to catch with my speckled trout and redfish really isn't a bad thing. But I also see this leading to a bright future for Louisiana's inshore fishing.
A good bass fishery has the potential to attract the attention of prominent bass tournaments, bringing those dollars to our tackle stores, marinas, lodges and gas stations. Besides, where there is good inshore bass fishing (is that an oxymoron?) there tends to be excellent redfishing, as well.
Editor’s Note: Devin Denman is an avid inshore fisherman who also writes the Louisiana Fishing Blog. To read more of his articles, visit lafishblog.com.