OUTDOOR CORNER: Mother nature breathes sigh of relief as summer boating and fishing activities wind

Lyle Johnson

Phew! Summertime is over (not the temperature) and the kids are back in school. It’s very noticeable, especially on the water. Nature has seemingly breathed a sigh of relief. All the vacations and summertime activities are over and it’s sort of eerie to be on the water and there are no boats.

During the week boating and fishing activities have come to a slow crawl so if it’s possible to get a weekday off, now’s the time to do some fishing and have all the good spots to yourself. These conditions are optimal for finding the fish and catching them for a couple of reasons.

First the lack of boats and traffic keeps the water calmer and a lot less “scroungers” to mess up the bite, especially in salt water. Wave action and noise can easily interfere with a school of fish feeding by dispersing the baitfish and thus stopping the eating process. The fish go looking for their lunch and your bite stops.

The next issue is fishing pressure. Repetition will lead to conditioning which has the possibility of “training” the fish to avoid certain situations and unfortunately the baits you might be casting in their direction. This is more likely to happen while fishing for freshwater species than for their saltwater cousins but it happens in both places.

The fish have had a week or two to sort of relax, get unconditioned to the activity along with the pressure put on them by the crowds and much easier to catch. From past experience all the inshore, saltwater guides are pretty slow right now so a trip will be easy to schedule and the opportunity to harvest specs and reds will only increase.

There’s only about a four-week window until our hunting seasons open, which I suppose is a pretty good problem to have. We aren’t called the Sportsman’s Paradise for nothing. Dove season opens on September 5th all over the state and teal season opens a week later on September 12th.

The following weekend in the southwest portion (Areas 3 & 8) of the state, deer season using archery will open for those that like to harvest venison. Some of our outdoors folks put the rods up and take to the woods only, so that will open the waterways even more.

I can’t think of anything that is more relaxing than to spend a little time in the outdoors, breathing in some fresh air and just enjoying the solitude of nature. This is something that’s worth passing on to the next generation and here’s how you can help.

On Saturday, Sept. 26 the 25th annual Louisiana National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) in our area will take place in Baton Rouge hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

This event is not limited to kids as the LDWF invites people of all ages in the Baton Rouge metro area to participate in this year’s event at Waddill Outdoor Education Center.  The Baton Rouge event offers hands-on activities including canoeing, fishing, sports shooting and casting demonstrations.

"Hunting and Fishing Day is a great opportunity to learn from the experts on practically any outdoors subject you can name," said LDWF Public Information Assistant Director Thomas Gresham.  "Whether you’re interested in squirrel dog hunting, fly-fishing or falconry, the volunteers at NHFD are the perfect ambassadors for their sports, passionate about the resources and eager to pass on their knowledge."

Waddill Outdoor Education Center is located at 4142 Flannery Road.  NHFD is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For more information, contact the LDWF public information office at 225-765-2800 or visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov. 

There will be many exhibitors and demonstrations and in the past have included Red Stick Fly Fishers, Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society, Louisiana Hiking Club, J.B. Salter's Jiggin Poles, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, plus many more. The East Ascension Sportsman's League will be on hand for demonstrations of all kinds.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is open to the public and all activities, food and drink are free of charge.  A tasting booth will feature area chefs preparing and serving wild game and seafood samples to the public.  Soft drinks are provided by the Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Associated Grocers will provide hot dogs.

What a great way to spend a day in the outdoors with fishing for the kids, education and demonstrations for all and free food. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God bless you.