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Congratulations to Staff SGT "P" John K Mayne on his recent fly fishing catch. While fishing yesterday April 30, 2008 on Calcasieu Lake with Capt John Saucier of Calcasieu Charter Service, SSGT"P" Mayne caught a 6.91# speckled trout. The catch, which should garner 7th place in the LOWA LA Fly Fishing records is being submitted for approval.

May 01, 2008 at 10:01am

Great weekend of fishing on Calcasieu Lake. Good weather, light traffic and hungry speckled trout were biting fast and furious for our customers the last couple of days. Calcasieu Charter Service guides Capt. Jake Longenbaugh and Capt. Steve Strodderd put their groups on good numbers of specks. Despite the mess from Rita, the fish are biting and the weather has been cooperating.

We have our boat stalls at Hebert's Marina back in operation, equipment in order, and guides ready to take your group fishing. The lodge is shaping up as well, but still about two weeks away from being full service again...just in time for duck season. We have been making other arrangements for those needing overnight accommodations while the lodge undergoes repairs.

Excited to return to some normalcy, we will make the switch to camo in a few days...and it looks to be very promising. We are holding a significant number of ducks at this point in our rice fields and the numbers should grow as we continue to get things flooded up for the season in the coming week. Of course, along with the ducks, the specklebelly and snow geese will be loading up even more this week on the next front.

If you want to make a great duck and goose hunt this season, pick a date and give us a call. We have openings and can put you where they live. For more info on our services, check us out on the web at www.calcasieucharters.com or give us a call at 337-598-4700

October 30, 2005 at 10:19pm

LNG and Natural Resources Impacts
Monday, March 21, 2005 at 6p.m.
Gayle Hall Auditorium – McNeese State University

Kevin Savoie-LSU AgCenter – Intro/Welcome
Jerald Horst- LSU AgCenter – Moderator
Benny Gallaway LGL Associates– Open Rack Vaporization and its Effects on Fisheries
James Ducote/Joey Mahmoud – Cheniere LNG/Creole Trail Pipeline
Shell Gulf Landing ?????
LDWF – Permitting/monitoring?? The Agency’s Perspective
Dr. Bill Herke – LSU Coastal Fisheries Professor (retired) An Unbiased Perspective
Audience questions and comments

March 17, 2005 at 9:23am
A comment titled: A few facts to ponder in this discussion in response to a report titled: A must read for the waterfowl guys

According to an addendum to the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife - Associated Recreation Report issued July 2005...

Since 1991, the number of duck hunters has increased by 37 percent and the number of goose hunters by 13 percent. (Aiken 2004)

During this same time period, the number of duck hunting days increased by 108 percent and the number of goose hunting days increased by 60 percent! (Aiken 2004)

In 2001 there were 1.8 million waterfowl hunters in the US
(I cant find a current number but would like to know it)

The percentage of hunters by flyway... Pacific (15%), Central (19%), Mississippi (44%), and Atlantic (21%).

Duck hunters spend more days hunting (12 days) than goose hunters (11 days) each season.

Economic impact in US $2.3 billion in 2001. Fed tax revenues $201.8 million, state tax revenue $129.5 million.

Three states with the largest number of hunters...Minnesota (179,000), Arkansas (157,000) and Louisiana (129,000).

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2005. Migratory bird harvest information, 2004:
preliminary estimates.

Duck harvests peaked in the 1999 - 2001 seasons and has suffered a decline since then.

According to our own LDWF aerial surveys the Dec and Jan counts have been below the long term averages four of last five seasons (Dec 2008 count not conducted) with the Dec 06 and Jan 07 counts being the only one that exceeded the long term average.

This data brings to mind a few questions and comments...

Pressure may be causing some shift away from traditional hunting areas, but the increases in pressure are not as great as the hunter effort numbers from the 70's, so is this really a problem?

Habitat, food sources, weather, pressure, etc all exhibit influence on a year to year basis, but it looks as if we are seeing a steady decline, not just an up and down fluctuation.

If participation is up and harvests are down, why is the season framework still at 60 days and 6 ducks? I think it has been that way for 12 years or so.

If harvests peaked in the 99-01 seasons, at exactly the same time that mechanical decoys were introduced to the sport...and harvests began to decline after they were in use for a few seasons, please tell me why they are still legal?

If you don't believe mechanical decoys have at least some part of the blame for the population decline, consider this...the three largest hunting states in the Miss. Flyway contained 465,000 hunters in 2001. If a mechanical decoys accounted for the death of only one duck extra for each of those licenses in the entire season, that is nearly a half a million bird increase in harvests (in only three states of the flyway), what happens if everyone in the flyway used them or if that number is two or three ducks, or ten?

Money and tax revenue are huge in the hunting industry, if the seasons are cut or the limits slashed as they were in the 80's, the revenue will decline...can you picture the government doing anything to reduce it's revenue?

Would enjoy hearing everyones thoughts based on these facts and wanted to share what I had found...enjoy the rest of your season!

January 15, 2010 at 11:06am
A comment titled: In Response to Steve P in response to a report titled: Surprising poll numbers

Wow Steve, I don't think bashing Will Drost for wanting to protect something he holds dear is very admirable. He has tried to offer explanations and suggestions in the material I have read from him, both here and in other publications, and I recognize him as someone who is very informed, educated and concerned with the situation on Calcasieu Lake. Bashing him or others does nothing for your cause. You might look a little closer to home to find the whining you mentioned, but that is just my observation. I respect your right and choice to oppose the limit reduction, just not the attitude with which you oppose it. From your previous posts I believe you don't really know the details behind the proposal nor many of the facts, but only enough to make some suggestion of impropriety. Individuals may or may not have their own agendas, I am not aware of any nor here to defend individual agendas, but I know the movement is not by any one individual. There is no reason to get nasty, we all just want the fishing to be good when we go, regardless of the limit.

There is no conspiracy here, not by Will Drost, nor Henry Mouton, Hackberry Rod and Gun, CCA or anyone else for that matter...but they are capable of defending themselves. In addition, there has never been any effort to conceal or disguise the area under consideration. I believe it covers the state waters in the area between the Mermentau River and the Texas state line. Basically, the involved parties have used the proper channels to support their desire for change...you have the same opportunity.

I would like to offer a little insight as to why the change is sought. There are no secrets, lies or conspiracies involved as you have suggested. Guides don't want this so they can make easier trips, double trips, etc. Locals don't want it to keep others out. Together, we want the change because we know that keeping less fish on a daily basis will leave more fish in the water for reproduction, which will lead to an improvement of all of our chances to have a good day on the water when we get the chance...whether on a daily basis for the guide who has a boat load of visitors or the local that just wants to get some stress relief from every day life. That is it...period! We are acting because LDWF does not have the resources to do the proper studies that would prove what we already know, that pressure has had an effect on Calcasieu Lake and it needs to be better managed.

It is no secret that the fishing has seen a decline on Calcasieu Lake the last few years due mainly to an increase in pressure...however, for two or three years it was disguised by an incredible run of Mega Trout which made everyone forget about limits. The catch numbers just have not been the same as in the past (80's and 90's), they have dipped below the lows in the cycle according to any reputable long term user. Of course, LDWF numbers don't suggest this, just as they did not suggest a problem with gill nets...but catch rates have fallen enough since the 90's for me to support some kind of change and it does not look like LDWF has the dough or the desire to look into it. I'm sure others with records that date back that far will also agree. Although data is collected from all areas, the state speckled trout population is managed as one unit. Which theoretically means that there can be few in Vermillion Bay and lots in Sabine Lake and they still have the same limit...doesn't really make sense for Calcasieu or Sabine Lakes, with one small outlet to the Gulf and lots of easy public access and pressure per acre to be managed the same as other areas with much more acreage and less pressure per acre and access, apples and oranges.

As far as I know, all guide services (what's left of them after Rita) except for one have come out in favor of this proposal. The one in opposition has been quoted saying they would be in favor if the proposal was statewide...but that is not the agenda. In addition, the Lake Charles Chapter of the CCA (which represents the vast majority of all recreational fishermen in the Lake Charles area...BUT OF COURSE NOT ALL)...has done a poll within its ranks and they were also overwhelmingly in favor. I have not heard ANY organized disapproval in the Lake Charles area, NONE. Which basically leaves the eastern portion of the state with its few vocal opponents such as yourself against the proposal. Most of that opposition is really based in the idea supported by you that the Lake Charles area will lead some sort of assault on the east to reduce their limits. That Sir, is your imagination and a "feeling". Most here don't have a care in the world if the east side catches their very last speckled trout, cause the west will still have plenty if we take care of them. That is your battle if you choose it, this is ours. Even though we visit New Orleans on occasion, I bet a N.O. native doesn't want someone from the west side of the state deciding what they should do with it.

Back to the fish...Fortunately, the cycle may be on the upswing and the future may appear to look a bit better, but for the last 6 months only a small percentage of the average harvests have been made due to the Hurricane Rita effect. This left more fish in the water and gave some of those small trout from last year, which would have been fillets in October without Rita, a chance to grow up amd maybe even spawn this spring. As a result, we are having a pretty decent year so far and the increase population for the spawn will help in the future along with some broken levees from the storm which will temporarily open up a lot more estuary. However, the pressure will return as soon as the news reaches the prior users that the fish are biting...and the problem will resurface again when everyone returns. Thats about it in a nutshell.

In addition, to try to answer the burning question in your mind from your recent post...Where are all of the small trout in Calcasieu Lake coming from???? Well here it is...they are coming from the local population of spawning female trout. To further answer the follow up question of why there were a bunch of them last season and seem to be fairly plentiful so far this season...because there is a place in nature for them, basically because natural mortality and catch mortality have made that place for them. With fewer adult fish in the system, each spawn will likely have better success as long as the conditions during the spawn were favorable and the fry have a better chance of survival...basic biology. Their numbers are cyclic, just like the rest of nature. The problem with this trip around the cycle is that although the undersized trout appeared to be plentiful, the keepers do not seem to be keeping pace.

Think this over Steve, I hope it helps your understanding of the other side...just the facts.

BTW, the limit issue has absolutely nothing to do with the event that happened two years ago...however, I would agree that the size limit restrictions (2 over 25")had everything to do with it.

April 22, 2006 at 7:32pm
A comment titled: Hot Tip for the Fort Polk Fisherman in response to a report titled: Everyone's catching except me!

Calcasieu Lake can be a tough place to catch fish if you are unfamiliar with the area and don't know the local style of fishing. However, October is the easiest month of the year to catch fish on Calcasieu. If you are heading down this weekend, forget about secret GPS coordinates, local honey holes, hot baits and the like...but don't forget your binoculars. Speckled trout are being caught in large numbers on most any soft plastic bait while chasing schools of shrimp. They can be found by searching for the flocks of seagulls hovering and picking the shrimp off the water over the schools. Make sure you have a trolling motor, shut down a couple hundred yards away from the school and chase them with the small motor. If someone is already on the school, be courteous and look for other schools in the area before you decide to join in. Pitch a bait where you see the birds pick and hang on...Fish on!!! If the birds can't be found and you have to resort to fishing the reefs, Turner's Bay on the north end of the lake always has a decent number of fish to be caught this time of year when the tide is moving. Use light jig heads 1/4 oz and a Norton Sand Eel Jr and you should catch some fish. Good luck to you guys and be careful, there are still some obstruction to watch out for in the lake. Take it slow and have a good time...the launch at Hebert's Marina on the east side is available, although the marina is out of commission for now. For others wishing to catch a few and want someone to show them the way...our boats are ready and we have some openings. Give us a call at Calcasieu Charter Service 337-598-4700.

October 26, 2005 at 7:14pm
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