Lyle Johnson wears a lot of hats.
The Gonzales native is the long-serving president of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA), the state’s professional organization for outdoors writers and communicators.
And he’s the chairman of the Louisiana Fish Records Program, the official repository for the Top 10 records on fish caught by the state’s sportsmen.
He does a weekly sports and outdoors column for the Ascension Advocate and is the owner, executive producer and cohost of Ascension Outdoors Television.
And he’s got a full-time day job as a planner for Turner Industries.
So how does he find time to hunt and fish?
Active in the East Ascension Sportsman’s League, he calls himself a “consumptive conservationist” explaining, “I am a very active conservationist, but I am an active consumer.
“I believe that harvest — not greed or overharvest, is important. A large percentage of fish and wildlife will die every year, even without harvest.”
The majority of Johnson’s hunting is small game, especially squirrels and rabbits. “Squirrel and rabbit hunting is very social. It’s good for kids because they don’t have to sit still and behave. Duck hunting is social, too.
“Still hunting for squirrels is solitary, but allows a lot of time to observe nature.”
He admits that his “all-time” favorite fishing is for bass, adding that he took after his father Jerry, who friends would say could catch bass in a dish rag. “He would fish for everything though. With eight kids, fish was a big part of the family diet.”
In spite of Johnson’s largemouth bass passion, he readily admits that he loves to fish for panfish like bream and sac-a-lait. He also regularly angles for catfish off the pier of his home on the Diversion Canal in St. Amant.
But he doesn’t ignore speckled trout, redfish and flounder. “My biggest fish so far is a 118-pound yellowfin tuna,” he said proudly.