Where are Pontchartrain’s reefs?

Brood surveys indicate that the 2004 may be even better than last year’s.

Dear Capt. Paul:

Can you give me the GPS coordinates for the artificial reef balls that were placed in Lake Ponchartrain?


Ron Meilleur

Capt. Paul’s Response:

At this time, there are three locations in Lake Pontchartrain where artificial reefs are located. Two are on the south shore and one on the north shore.

The first and older artificial reef is located along the south shore about two miles east of Lakefront Airport.

The stated DWF position for the reef is in degrees, minutes and seconds, and was determined using NAD 27 datum. Their published position is N30 03’ 30” x W89 59’ 37”.

I recently checked the reef for an article, and found the southernmost position to be located at N30º 03.514 x W89º 59.621. My readings were determined using DDD,MM.mmm and WGS 84 Datum.

My position for the buoy marking the location is at or about N30º 03.548 x W89º 59.637. It is about 216 feet at a bearing of 340º (magnetic) from the published reef position.

Checking with my depth finder, I noted that the water depth in the area averaged about 13 feet, whereas water over the reef where solid structure appeared was 10 to 12 feet. This indicated a rise in the lake bottom of about 2 to 3 feet.

Also by using the depth finder, I noted that the marker buoy marked the southernmost part of the reef. The reef, according to my readings, is a random placement of rocks that total distance of about 341 feet from the buoy at a bearing of 342º. The reef is not a continuous reef, but it looked like several piles of rocks placed from a point just south of the official marker buoy extending to the north-northwest.

There’s another collection of reefs farther to the west. For the readers who may not have seen Andy Crawford’s article, “New reefs adding to Pontchartrain habitat,” in the November issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, I will quote part of his story.

“They (the three reefs) form a triangle around three existing shell oil-field pads located about three miles west of the Causeway Bridge and 2 ½ miles north of the Kenner/Metairie shoreline.”

The story continues by describing these reefs saying that unlike the older Pontchartrain reef, which is made of various-sized rocks, these newer ones are made of over 600 reef balls. These dome-shaped reefs are hollow concrete structures with various-sized holes throughout their surface. They look like half of a “Wiffle” baseball, and are placed in 13 to 15 feet of water. Each is marked with a yellow buoy.

I surmise that the state used NAD 27 datum for their positions, as all of their other artificial reefs are stated in that datum.

The location of the first reef is N30 05’ 01.68” x W90 12’ 05.76. The second location sits at N30 05’ 02.04 x W90 12’ 34.92. Reef No. 3 is located at N30 05’ 17.34 x W90 12’ 20.16.

Each reef is about 200 by 300 feet, and provides 3 to 4 feet of relief.

A friend of mine investigated the northshore reef in mid January. He indicated that there is a small yellow marker buoy over the site and that there are several cane flags marking the area. He advised that the reef is a rather small area, and that it is located at or about N30 16.298 x W90 03.755 (DDD,MM.mmm using WGS 84 datum).

That location is about 2.8 miles due east (90 degrees) from the causeway, 3.8 miles SSW (199 degrees) of Green Point, about 4.4 miles west-northwest (275 degrees) of Goose Point and about 6.5 miles SSE (164 degrees) from the entrance to Mandeville harbor at the Causeway by the north shore.

Dear Capt. Paul:

I have the Garmin GPS map 76, the one with 8 megabytes of memory. The only problem I am having with it is that the track line showing where I have traveled is thin and hard to see in a moving boat.

Is there any way to darken or expand the width of the track line, so when I am back-tracking the line will be more visible.

Brian Duffourc


Capt. Paul’s Response:

Not if you are trying to follow the track in the form that it is shown on the map screen. To obtain a better view, save the track back and navigate from the saved info. It will then be possible to use any of the navigation screens to backtrack your route.

To do that, you should clear the track log each time you go out so that you have a clear, uncluttered track-back trail. Then save the track, and navigate back using any of the screens you would normally use.

Keep in mind that the track-back log is meant to be a temporary means of returning to your starting point. If it is important for you to use the trail again, save it as a more permanent route.

Capt. Paul’s next seminar will be held at Memorial Baptist School cafeteria located at 5701 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, on March 13. Sign-in and late registration will begin at 9 a.m.

The cost is $50 if preregistered or $60 at the door. Children under the age of 16 are free when accompanied by a paying, preregistered adult.

All attendees will receive a coupon worth 25 percent off certain Maptech computer mapping products.

Call (504) 467-3485 or e-mail captpault@cox.net for more information.


About Captain Paul Titus 192 Articles
Capt. Paul Titus has been responding to G.P.S questions on LouisianaSportsman.com since 2000. He has been fishing and hunting in Louisiana since 1957. Titus holds a USCG license and conducts instruction courses in the use of GPS for private individuals and government agencies.

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