We’re so spoiled

Louisiana still No. 1 for trout fishing

We Louisiana coastal anglers are like spoiled children. No, really. We’re so used to catching gobs of speckled trout that when fishing gets tough we immediately determine there just must be something wrong with the fishery.

I caught 20 keeper trout instead of my 25? Oh, no ­— the fishery has to be crashing. Is it the BP oil spill finally catching up with us? Is the trout limit too liberal? Should we limit the number of fishermen on the water on any given day (as long as I’m not included in those who can’t fish today)? Is LDWF completely screwing up? Should we spend billions of dollars on fish hatcheries to replenish the stocks?

Most of those questions were asked earlier this year, when catching a limit of trout was anything but a guarantee. The fact is that fishing really was tough, but it’s also a fact that we in Louisiana enjoy what anglers across the globe would die to have ­— a stock of spotted seatrout that seems almost limitless.

Go to Mississippi and try to catch 25 trout in a day (even if you include the throwbacks). The limit there is 15, but most of the year that’s not an expectation.

And Florida? A joke: The fishing is so poor that the most-liberal daily creel is six trout. Six. And only one of those can be longer than 20 inches.

Texas is little better, with 10 trout being allowed in one of its zones, and only five fish in the remaining coastal waters.

The waters between Mississippi and Texas, on the other hand, are infested with speckled trout. And there’s no sign that anything other than weather and cyclical patterns are responsible for the slow fishing earlier this year.

That’s what the folks at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hypothesized in June, and an LDWF report issued last month seems to back that up ­— along with the fact that Louisiana far out-produces any other Gulf state in terms of recreational trout catches.

Flip over to page 32 to read details about the report, which in a nutshell pointed to a healthy fishery.

The biologists’ data only ran through the end of 2013, and they did admit it will be about three years before they can make any real assessment of this year’s trout fishery.

But there wasn’t any evidence of a mass extermination in January, February, March or April. I mean, there were plenty of trout when 2013 closed out, so where did they all go in the first half of 2014?

That is a bit of an open question ­— although it’s safe to say the unseasonably cool spring backed everything up. And as of this writing reports of easy trout picking abounded.

I’m just glad I don’t live in one of the other Gulf states. Now that would be something about which to complain.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.