The Amite River has always been my favorite place to fish, especially for bass and the beauty has never changed.

My wife, Deborah and I were sitting on the pier the other day just chillin'. We noticed the tide moving out, and I mentioned that the bass would probably be biting on the falling tide. She then said how neat it was how the earth rotates and the moon pulls the water out. This kinda got me thinking about the intricate way that nature works.

My life history on the water has always revolved around a pursuit of things that swim in the water, mostly fish. A boat was for fishing, so I hardly ever just went on a boat ride. That was a waste of time and gas not to mention a missed opportunity to catch something.

We were fortunate enough to acquire a couple of jet skis a while back, which is not a fishing vessel. So now, when Deborah and I take off on a ride, we're taking in the scenery that includes the fascinating things in nature.

The Amite River has always been my favorite place to fish, especially for bass and the beauty has never changed. Our jet ski jaunts have taken me farther north than I've ever ventured in a boat on the Amite. The hydrology of the river changes three times from lower Baton Rouge to Lake Maurepas which dramatically changes the scenery as well.

From Denham Springs to Port Vincent, there is a 21' drop in flood stage. That's why the water flows so fast during flood situations. The banks are steep and there is no swamp as the land is way above sea level. High bluff banks with oak trees and other hard wood trees line the bank, and there are sandbars everywhere.

Once you pass Port Vincent heading down stream to Head of Island, it changes again. Some of the banks are still a little steep, but it's low enough to sea level to support some swamp. Oak trees and a mix of cypress trees line the bank, and there are a few sloughs that empty in the river.

You have to get to Maurepas before the river changes again. The land is at or below sea level, and the swamp dominates the scenery. Beautiful cypress trees line the bank with a mix of tupelo gum trees mixed in. There are many sloughs that empty from the swamp and hardly any bank to speak of all the way to Lake Maurepas.

The Amite River has its origin just above Amite County in Mississippi that comprises of the East and West forks. Its beginning sits at 415' above sea level. Port Vincent is 15' above sea level. I'm not a mathematical genius, but that means there is a 400' drop that empties the Amite River flood plain. Wow! That's another reason why we have raging current when a flood event takes place.

Blind River is all swamp. Its origin starts at the Mississippi River in St. James parish and flows out to Lake Maurepas as well. The banks are lined with a mix of cypress and tupelo gum all the way to the lake. Blind River has been designated as a Natural and Scenic River in Louisiana because of its beauty.

Along with the layout of the land come the birds, animals, and fish that might be encountered. White herons are easily seen either wading in the water looking for an easy snack or slowly flying out of a big cypress tree all along the way.

Green herons (we call them a "cop cop") dot the landscape along with the great blue herons. Daddy used to call them a "John Henry" but I never did think to ask why. Every now and then we spot a roseate spoonbill or two. These used to be rare in our area but they have increased in numbers is recent years.

Some of our wood duck population does not migrate north and can be seen nesting in the cypress trees along the bank. They use the holes in the trees that form where a knot is. I've been fortunate enough to see one fly into the hole to check on the eggs.

That is a feat as there are no branches to land on and climb in; they just fly straight in the hole that's just big enough to fit in. their nest locations are also located as to lessen the predation from other critters eating the eggs.

Alligators are pretty a common sight if you can be just a little quiet as the population has expanded quite well. Nutrias, as well as an occasional coon or squirrel dot the trees along the way.

Another of the long-time attractions is the Our Lady of Blind River chapel. In the late '70s, Martha and Bobby Deroche took on a project to build a chapel after Martha had a vision of Jesus on a rock. That vision, Martha told Bobby, was Jesus saying that she needed to build a church there.

So on Easter Sunday of 1983, Martha and Bobby began the project. Although ravaged from floods over the years, the land mark is being restored and can be visited once again.

I don't know if I'm just getting a little older or I've just learned to appreciate things a little more in life but I'm amazed at the beauty of our waterways and woods more than ever. I see things in places I've been hundreds of times before, and if I leave out tomorrow traveling the same path, it just seems new all over again.

Time is something we don't seem to have much of anymore. But a little time taken to really take a look and see the things we might have missed because we aren't paying attention is a good to do.

Take a look around. You might find things of beauty that you've never seen before. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman's League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel & Rabbit Season: Oct. 5-Feb. 29, open statewide on private lands only. Daily bag limit 8 and possession limit 24.

Hunting Seasons: Ducks--Nov. 16-Dec. 8, West Waterfowl Zone. Ducks--Nov. 23-Dec. 8, East Waterfowl Zone. Deer/Modern Firearms--Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Areas 1, 4, 6, still-hunt only. Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Area 5, still-hunt only & bucks only except Nov. 29-Dec. 1 either-sex weekend. Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Area 9, still-hunt only & bucks only except Nov. 16-17 & Nov. 29-Dec. 1 either-sex weekends.

Open Recreational Offshore Fishing Seasons: Red snapper weekends only, including Monday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) until further notice; and, all groupers except closed for the take of goliath & Nassau groupers in state/federal waters.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net