Outdoor Corner: Spring has Arrived

Lyle Johnson

I remember, when I was just a wee little thing, one of my daddy’s favorite singers was Johnny Horton. Among his hit songs was one titled “When it’s springtime in Alaska, it’s 40 below.” Well, it didn’t happen like that here and probably didn’t happen overnight, but it surely felt like it. The woods have greened out, seemingly from one day to the next.

Actually, green is not the first color that returns when Ole Man Winter has loosened his grip. One of the official first signs that spring has officially arrived is the swamp maples begin to bloom. Those are the trees with beautiful, deep red blossoms that almost take your breath away. This year, I looked out my front door and noticed those familiar red blossoms just across the street from our house.

Logan Latuso shot this gobbler opening weekend on a Saturday morning in Port Gibson, Miss. Spurs: 1 1/2 inches, beard: 10 1/2 inches. 12 gauge Winchester turkey gun, 30-yard shot.

Usually next in line are the willow trees and hardwoods. The cypress trees round out the top three. But this year was different. As cold as it got far as long as it stayed, it seemed that everything bloomed at once. Even the wildlife came alive as well. Dark and dreary winter turned into vivid colors and life all at once.

The deep red color, yellow of the willow and bright green of the cypress; wow, we sort of get fall in reverse. This display is much more attractive in the spring than in the fall. Of course, all the old people say that you can bet the house that when the pecan trees blossom there is no chance of a frost. That hasn’t happened yet, so hold on to your coat.

Cody Braud killed this nice Tom turkey hunting in Mississippi on opening weekend there. It weighed  18.4 pounds and sported a 10 ½-inch beard and 1-inch spurs with a  30 yard shot.

But my sure-fire sign that spring has made its official arrival is the folks that begin to line the side of the highway to fish from the bank. The “Bucket Brigade,” as I call them, begin to arrive in small numbers at first, but it doesn’t take long for others to follow. They participate in the annual roadside harvest of our fish population.

Bank fishing is a very simple but relaxing way to spend a little time in the outdoors. First it is affordable; much less expensive that the purchase of a boat and motor that you have to fill with gas and spend more money on fuel to pull it to a boat launch somewhere.

A four-pound bass I caught last weekend fishing off the bank in a local pond.

Not sure how good the fishing might be due to the fish kill in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, but I’m sure they’ll catch a few. Especially those that might be trying their fortune on cypress trout. Better known as choupique.

Now that it is springtime, the fishing is heating up! Now’s the time for making sure to get out and fish at one of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Get Out and Fish! sites across the state.

The LDWF will be stocking adult-sized channel catfish all over the state. With 17 sites stocked throughout Louisiana, you’ll have a great chance to get in on the spring bite. Sites were scheduled to be stocked this week. To view the full stocking schedule and find a location near you, visit www.wlf.la.gov/gof. Stay up to date with stockings, park events and more on Facebook and Instagram: @ldwfgetoutandfish.

Please remember, all anglers 16 and older must possess a Louisiana fishing license when fishing in any Louisiana public waters. Licenses are available for purchase online at https://louisianaoutdoors.com/licenses-and-permits.

When an angler purchases a fishing license, Louisiana receives matching funds from the Sport Fish Restoration Program for public fishing and boating access, fishing programs and education and fisheries management.

The Get Out and Fish! Program seeks to increase the number of people with access to quality fishing. The program intends to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations. For more information visit www.wlf.la.gov/gof or email us at GOF@wlf.la.gov.

The LDWF Get Out and Fish is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LAWFF). The Foundation was formed to help expand and support LDWF education and research programs with additional resources developed through its own facilities. There is a fishing pier there as well.

There are three sites near Ascension parish where we can take advantage of this great opportunity. The nearest is BREC’s Burbank Park at 12400 Burbank Dr in Baton Rouge. It’s open from dawn to dark and in addition to the channel catfish stocked last week, rainbow trout have been stocked. Bass and bream are in those waters as well.

Another spot is Sidney Hutchison Park at 13570 Ball Park Rd in Walker. Their operating hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This spot offers the same opportunities to catch catfish, rainbow trout, bass and bream. The amenities there are a walking trail, picnic area and a pavilion.

The third spot is Zemurray Park Pond at 400 S. Oak St in Hammond. Their operating hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the same fish catching opportunities. Other amenities are parking, restrooms and a playground.

All sorts of stuff to avail ourselves to in the outdoors in the springtime. Take a little time off from the yard work to spend a little time relaxing in the woods or on the water. 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!

Outdoor Calendar

  • East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting: 7 p.m. third Monday monthly in the meeting room upstairs at Cabela’s. Supper will be served. warrenh3@eatel.net
  • Turkey season: Area A: April 2-May 1; Area B: April 2-24; Area C: April 2-17.
  • CCA Sporting Clays Classic: April 1–10 Covey Rise Lodge, Husser. 100-target course, 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotshells provided. Call Nolan Reynerson (225) 952-9200, email: nolan@ccalouisiana.com or Pierre Villere email: pvillere@allenvillere.com
  • La. High School/Junior Qualifier/East Division: April 2—North Pass landing, Manchac. Call Tommy Abbott (504) 722-6638. Website: louisianahighschoolbassnation.com
  • Father-Child Fun Camp: April 8-10: Woodworth Outdoor Education, Woodworth. Fathers with 10- to 13-year-old children. Preregistration required, limited space. Fee $50 ($25 additional child) includes meals, lodging & supplies (Bed linens/sleeping bags not provided). Online registration:    wlf.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?action=pagebuilder&pageID=fun-camp. Call Theresa Cross (337) 491-2575, Ext. 3009.

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