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Catahoula Lake Lawsuit

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The judge has recorded his ruling on Catahoula Lake.
It is a river, not a lake. The land owners will be be compensated for their losses of flooding their property. The state claiming up to 36 ft msl is gone. The same rules that apply in the spillway will probably apply on the lake. There will probably be very little public access to water. I guess Dewey Wills will become more popular.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
VERY interesting indeed! Can anyone tell us what this all means to the public hunter on Catahoula?
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
A lot of that remains to be seen. Basically, the state has been holding water illegally. They will have to pay restitution to the land owners and back minerals.
The land to the rivers edge is private in most areas. When the Mississippi backs up water through the Black River and the water spreads out, it will be spreading out onto private land. This will follow the same ruling as the spillway did. It will still be private. The state will be tasked with enforcing trespassing laws. (Not gonna be a pleasant task) Several people have asked about the refuge in the center of the lake on the south side. This will be private property.
The state could possibly try to expropriate the land for the public use, but this will be a hard sell since there are so many places adjacent that the state has. i.e. Dewey Wills, where they just built a green tree reservoir last year. Plus, the state has no money.
Like I said, a lot remains to be seen.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
Thanks for the explanation. This will be a big deal to a lot of people.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
'Fee Fi Foe'... There is More Than We Know'...cheers ???
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
This is something that will undoubtedly be tied up in the courts till Kingdom come. What the facts are is that this will not affect the majority of the folks that hunt Catahoula Lake. The dispute is over the high water mark. The State claims to the 36' msl mark and the recent judgment was only to the 30.1' msl. This is now under appeal, but even if it stands, if a person normally has water around their blind at the management level of 29.5' msl plus 6 inches, this ruling does not affect them. The property contested is almost exclusively on the western side of Catahoula Lake. This is about who gets the oil royalties from the contested ground nothing much else. To put it into perspective, Catahoula Lake is bone dry except for the small amount of water in the river channel @ 27.0 msl. Put 3' of water on Catahoula Lake and look where the water meets dry ground. This puts it way back against and in the old wood line. There is alot of rumor mongering and trolling going on here and other forums, but nothing of substance.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
I would suggest DCDUCK1 read the judgment as I have (in detail) Oil royalties aside, one of the main discussions was whether Catahoula Lake was a river or a lake. As I said in my opening post, it was ruled a river.
As stated on page 65 of the judgment, the land owners own the land to the low water mark (refer to page 7 of the judgment) which is 27 feet. Where DCDUCK1 got the 30.1 feet, I have no idea. I have read through the judgment several times, and that figure does not show up anywhere.
While I don't deny that the state may appeal the ruling, I would suggest people that are interested get a copy of the judgment instead of depending on figures pulled out of the air as in the above post.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
How about posting a link to this Judgement if you don't mind, the latest I have is from Judge J.P. Mauffray ruling on the Sanders case which is under appeal from the State. Perhaps there is a more recent judgement. There have been many over the years either concerning either Crooks or Sanders. The water mark levels I have noted in my above post are from public record and are not pulled from thin air. If there is indeed a recent ruling, please share the link as the search engine I am using is not bring up anything new.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
The ruling was filed this past Monday on the Crooks case. I don't know if there are links to it yet.
I have the pdf file of the ruling. If you want a copy, pm me your email and I will send you a copy.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
The following expert testimony was given in the Sanders case:

The Mean Ordinary Low Water 25.0'
and Mean Ordinary High Water 30.1’ msl
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
Heard from a pretty reliable source that Catahoula Lake will be private from Little River North and will be part of the WMA from Little River South with no permanent blinds. Anyone else heard anything like this?
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
Your source is not too reliable.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
Not sure who this judge is but I can tell you this: Back fill the diversion canal and you will see why it is called Catahoula Lake.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
drbob, that would only work if you also took out the Archie Control Structure, which keeps Little River blocked, therefore needing the canal to drain the lake.
Before the canal and the Archie dam, the only way the lake was flooded for duck season was the Catahoula commission built an earthen dam ever fall at French Fork. There was no control of the water level. Once that damn was there whatever happened happened. at the end of the season they would dynamite that dam. and unless we had a flood like back in 1973 the lake would dry up except for the Little River channel, until we got a big rain or they built the dam back. Most of you can't remember those days.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
I certainly remember. Actually it was a group of Hunters that went to French Fork every year and repaired the dam to be able to hold a little water on the Lake until the winter rain set in and mother Nature took over. When the Lake is at management pool stage of 29.5' msl as we do now, we had a lot of water back then and the Lake was going under. My family has always hunted on the South end and a good south wind meant we might have only a skim of water or just mud. North wind would bring the water back. Back before the USACE had all the projects to attempt flood control we generally always go a good high water every year which gave us good fishing in the back water for both recreational and commercial fishermen. As the water receded later in the year, the cattlemen would set a charge or other means to break the dam allowing the lake bed to completely dewater so the grass would grow for them to run cattle on hay off the lake bed. If you want a good read about the early life and culture around Catahoula Lake, Jack Dewitt Catahoula Chronicles' A view from Indian Bluff' is an interesting read. It tells of the Steamboat commerce utilizing the lake to access little river for trade and gathering of pine knots which was used to heat the boilers on the riverboats. One thing that is consistent t throughout history is, that Catahoula has never been referred to anything other than a 'Lake'.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
DCDUCK then you remember the good ol days when the pintails would fly the lake by the 1000's all day. and how there would be a vortex of ducks coming into the reserve the afternoon after a big front. And when the water got too high everyone hunted the woods line. Back when the woods were only a couple of hundred yards deep. The USACE and the 1973 flood ruined the lake. The flood gave the corps an excuse to close off half the Saline swamp. And manage the water so the lake bottom silted in, which caused the woody vegetation to creep in. The reserve holds no ducks anymore. Might as well do away with it and let all those people whining about the permanent blinds hunt it in their kayaks. I quit fightin it about 10 years ago after 45 years of living for it. It aint the same.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
The Ouachita Navigational Project did Catahoula no favors, but it is only the natural evolution that Catahoula was starting to die. The Woody encroachment was studied back in the 40's by Dewey Wills. Now it is only with man made intervention that will save it. The reason that the reserve does not hold the ducks is not because of its potential. The Lake must be completely dewatered at some point every year to allow the forage grass to grow mid lake. Without cover and forage, the ducks simple move on. For some reason or another the water management has not been optimal to provide for this for several years up until last year. Last year the lake was dewatered and had an excellent response on the grass. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans and flooded the lake just prior to the season opening. This year the Lake has once again been dewatered and a good response seen. We did lose some grass mid lake due to all the recent rains, but the USACE has been very proactive in making the necessary adjustments on the diversion canal locks to keep the damage minimal. Hopefully after conclusion of the Teal season, the Lake can be pulled off again and possible get some late response from the affected areas mid lake. Catahoula Lake is the main drawing card for waterfowl for a lot of the state. If Catahoula has ducks so does most of the surrounding areas. It is also a RAMSAR site which means it has been recognized on an International basis as an ecosystem of world importance. I don't know how much we can reclaim of what has been lost, but one thing is for sure, it wont happen if we quit fighting for this treasure. Hope you will reconsider.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
I will never give up on the LAKE. And those that spend so much time working on their blinds. Those that have permanent blinds should be allowed to keep them. That is how the lake has been hunted since long before it was famous in other parts of the country. I would do something to lower the pressure on the ducks though. Like stopping hunting after 2 PM, or limiting the size of a decoy spread. I just gave up on my blind spot. It was not worth the work for the limited success I was having. I still go when I get invited by someone else. But back in the day, my life revolved around that lake.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
Those that have permanent blinds will be allowed to keep them. This has been addressed with the forming of the Catahoula Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission. The 2 pm closure has been discussed, but the Commission feels that the rules should be as minimal as possible. This would be restrictive to a good many folks that work a half day and hunt afternoon. Also recognizing the fact that ducks are very perceptive and establish patterns according to pressure. The key to keeping ducks on the lake is not only making sure we grow the feed lake wide but also in cover and feed as long as possible in the refuge. It doesn't matter what time shooting hours are, if we cant maintain the attractants for the waterfowl they will only stop briefly and pass on through.. Again with decoy number restrictions, there has been little support for that. Most people feel that we have enough freedoms taken away already, so why add one more. It is very easy to take something away, but very difficult to give it back.
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Re: Catahoula Lake Lawsuit
This might be an odd conversation starter, but those of you that are opposed to the privatization of Catahoula Lake and would like to be involved, should visit Backcountry Hunters and Anglers' (BHA) web site. BHA is an organization founded for the purpose of protecting the public's right to access public land. You can visit BHA's website by using this link http://www.backcountryhunters.org/ . Additionally, BHA is hosting a pint night in New Orleans at Ale on Oak on 21 Sept between 5:30-8:00 pm. Show up if you would like to understand BHS's mission and meet fellow hunters and anglers. Also you can sign a petition concerning Catahoula Lake at this link http://www.backcountryhunters.org/la-publicwater-petition?utm_campaign=ch_update_wo_fl&utm_medium=email&utm_source=backcountryhunters . The bottom line is Louisiana's law allows for very odd property issues to exists, getting involved may help secure your ability to continue your traditional recreational or commercial activities.
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