The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is gearing up to host the first annual Louisiana Saltwater Series, a tag-and-release redfish circuit developed by LDWF in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote the conservation of Louisiana's saltwater sport fish resources.

The first tournament will be held in Lafitte on March 6 at the SeaWay Marina.

"The first annual Louisiana Saltwater Series is one of the most exciting new things to come out of our department, and I am proud to be a small part of this endeavor," LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina said. "Not only are anglers given the chance to win cash prizes, but they will also help collect critical data for state and university biologists in this live tag-and-release tournament. I encourage everyone to sign-up and help showcase the nation's best fishing."

Sport fishing tournaments have a long tradition along the Louisiana coast, but most of these tournaments are privately sponsored. This new venture provides a competitive angling opportunity to a broader audience. The tournaments are not just for big-name fishermen but open to all interested anglers.

Through this catch-and-release saltwater fishing series, LDWF strives to enhance the resource while providing a competitive opportunity for avid fishermen and newcomers alike.

Participation in the tournaments provides anglers with the opportunity to give back to the resource. LDWF personnel will be on hand at each tournament to assist with the tagging and release of all fish. Data collected from tournament entries will serve as valuable tools for LDWF fisheries managers to improve their understanding of marine sport fish movements, patterns of habitat use and estimate population size.

"Fish tagging can yield a wealth of information," Pausina explained. "Years ago, most tagging was done by scientists or trained biologists, but today recreational anglers are encouraged to join the effort as volunteers. Volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and very expensive to obtain by other means."

Entry fee is $200 per two-man team per event, although a third team member can be added if that angler is younger than 16.

"We hope that these events will again create enthusiasm for fishing in Louisiana and will unite anglers and their families in this recreational pastime," said Pausina. "This event has the potential to create a long lasting tradition, and a great source of competition and entertainment."

The 2010 series is comprised of five tournaments and one championship event as follows:


• March 6 - SeaWay Marina, Lafitte
• April 3 - Falgout Canal Marina, Dularge
• June 12 - Sweet Water Marina, Delacroix
• July 10 - Delta Marina, Empire
• Sept. 11 - The Dock, Slidell
• October 8-9 (championship) - Delta Marina, Empire 

For complete information, including rules, regulations and entry forms go to: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/lasaltwaterseries.