A Big Lake fishing guide is curious about the discussion slated for Thursday morning’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting concerning the possibility of further reducing the creel limit for speckled trout in the western part of the state.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, there’s no other way to put it,” said Capt. Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service. “I don’t know what the reasoning is behind it, and that’s what I want to know.
Agenda item No. 10 calls for a discussion on “what effects changes to the current management regulations will have on red drum and spotted sea trout stocks.”
The discussion on redfish concerns the possibility of reducing the minimum size limit to make keeping redfish under 16 inches legal, according to Randy Pausina, head of fisheries for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
On Tuesday, Pausina said the speckled trout issue along the southwestern coast was “social,” not biological.
“Texas recently dropped their spotted sea trout limit in most, if not all, of their bays over there, so there’s a lot of pressure on that side of the state to look at ours because we have more liberal regulations and a lot of people come over to Louisiana to fish and there’s always a conflict,” Pausina said.
Poe disagreed, and said decreasing the limit from 25 to 15 in 2005 hasn’t produced the larger fish that were talked about back then.
“I fish a pretty good bit during the winter and I don’t see very many Texas guides out there so I don’t know what the real reason is,” he said. “So what’s the point? We went from 25 to 15 and everybody who pushed for it claimed it was to make the fish bigger.
“And now there’s not a single person who can sit and tell you straight to your face without lying to you that they’re bigger than they were. It hadn’t done anything.”
David Cresson, executive director for Coastal Conservation Association-Louisiana, said Thursday’s meeting should be interesting, but pointed out these are discussion items only.
“There certainly has been some concern over the last several months about the slow fishing in Big Lake, and coupled with some expected changes to Texas law, that’s gotten some fishermen wondering what the best course of action might be,” Cresson said. “But Thursday is strictly a discussion item on the agenda.
“We can’t speculate on management changes until we have good science to go on.”
The commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 Thursday morning at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.