Popping corks lead the way to trout and reds

Popping corks fished with either live shrimp or soft plastics are taking lots of
Popping corks lead the way to trout and reds

Every time the water on Sabine Lake starts to clear up, we get a flood of rain water that throws everything off kilter. But believe it or not, all that stained water is holding good numbers of trout and reds.

“We seem to be doing best on the south end of the lake,” said Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris. “Live shrimp are good, but soft plastics in bright colors are good, too.”

Right now, the water temperature is holding around 77 degrees on Sabine.

Over on Calcasieu Lake, guide Buddy Oaks with Hackberry Rod and Gun Club says they are smacking limits of trout and reds with live shrimp fished under popping corks over shell and along flooded shorelines.

“Fishing last week held up very good, considering the on-again, off-again weather,” says Oaks. “Limits of solid trout were caught on live shrimp under a cork from West Cove, Turner Bay as well as Black Lake on the far west side of Hackberry. Other than live shrimp, many of the good baits have been any Hackberry Hustler with a chartreuse tail as well as H & H’s three inch Cacahoe Minnow in a black/chartreuse combination. All of the soft plastics are being fished on 1/4- ounce lead head jigs.”

Feds give recreational anglers a nine-day red snapper season

Based on the annual catch targets and accounting for the red snapper harvest in state waters outside the federal season, the federal season for the private angling component will be nine days, and the federal season for the federally permitted for-hire component will be 46 days.

The 2016 federal red snapper recreational season will open for the private angling and federally permitted for-hire components June 1, 2016, at 12:01 a.m. Closing dates are:

• Private Anglers – June 10, 2016, at 12:01 a.m.

• Federally permitted for-hire vessels – July 17, 2016, at 12:01 a.m.

The federal-water red snapper bag limit is two fish per person per day with a 16-inch minimum total length size limit.

$49 million in grants to protect waterfowl

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced that $48.8 million in grants have been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to purchase, lease or otherwise conserve more than 275,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America. The grants, made through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), will be matched by $86 million in partner funds.

One of the selected projects includes the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge in East Texas. That’s an acquisition of 952 acres for $1,476,351.

The commission also approved expenditures of $10.8 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 7,200 acres for six national wildlife refuges, through purchases of fee-title land and conservation easements. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, approximately 98 cents goes to acquire or lease habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Duck Stamp program has been in place since 1934 and has raised more than $800 million to conserve more than 5.7 million acres of important waterfowl habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Sally Jewell serves as chair of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

“One hundred years ago, the United States and Canada signed the first Migratory Bird Treaty, recognizing that protecting these birds and their habitat requires an international effort,” said Secretary Jewell. “As we celebrate the centennial of this landmark conservation treaty this year, we are reminded of the many millions of acres of wetlands lost over the years. These wetland restoration and habitat conservation projects with our partners across the U.S., Mexico and Canada show a true spirit of international cooperation for the long-term benefit of healthy lands, waters and wildlife.”

Matching funds increase the value of the $48.8 million in NAWCA grants to nearly $135 million, with approximately $45 million total funding for Canadian projects, $6.5 million total funding for Mexican projects, and nearly $61 million total funding for U.S. projects, which will conserve or restore more than 138,000 acres of wetlands and adjoining areas in 18 states.

“The NAWCA grant program is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds,” says Jessica Kershaw, with the U.S. Department of the Interior. “To date, funds have advanced conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico while engaging more than 4,000 partners in more than 2,500 projects.”

Examples from this year’s slate include:

• White and Cache River Wetlands Conservation Project II (Arkansas): $1 million to protect, restore and enhance 2,177 acres of critical wetlands and floodplain habitat in the Lower White and Cache Rivers Basin of the Lower Mississippi Valley. The project will benefit five priority waterfowl species, including redhead and wood duck.

• Virginia Tidal Rivers and Bays I: $1 million for 2,587 acres of key wetlands in coastal Virginia through conservation easements and enhancement activities. Eleven priority species of waterfowl will benefit.

• North Dakota Drift Prairie Project V: $1 million to protect and enhance 5,091 acres of prairie wetlands in Kansas, including an important whooping crane stopover site. Other birds that will benefit include pintails, least terns and king rails.