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  #1  
Old 02-05-2019, 12:26 AM
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Default Is big lake done?

Buddy of mine who is a guide had three limits all year. Oysters are obviously struggling, erosion has killed 9 mile. Large ship traffic is out of control with with more lng work coming. Is this thing done?
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2019, 06:24 AM
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Buddy of mine who is a guide had three limits all year. Oysters are obviously struggling, erosion has killed 9 mile. Large ship traffic is out of control with with more lng work coming. Is this thing done?
I don't think so. It looked like a down year for specks, but in our creel surveys, we saw lots of limits of redfish and specks were not a complete train wreck. Catch rates for specks may have been down 30% or so relative to 2017, but the fish are fat and happy, but not so fat as to suggest a sudden population decline.

The 2018 Oyster Stock Assessment showed that oysters were up in Calcasieu compared with the past few years, but have not yet returned to 2011 levels. If the dredging ban remains, I expect continued improvement but it will take a few years.

More likely, we're just looking at a normal cycle with fewer specks getting caught and more redfish. A lot of the guides shifted to catching redfish limits early in the season and heading for the dock satisfied with redfish limits without pushing hard for speck limits.

If the dredging ban remains in place, I expect oyster stocks to continue to rebound. If we can get oysters back to their pre-2011 levels, the rest of the lake will follow.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:22 AM
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I hope you are right MG.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:49 AM
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I don't think so. It looked like a down year for specks, but in our creel surveys, we saw lots of limits of redfish and specks were not a complete train wreck. Catch rates for specks may have been down 30% or so relative to 2017, but the fish are fat and happy, but not so fat as to suggest a sudden population decline.

The 2018 Oyster Stock Assessment showed that oysters were up in Calcasieu compared with the past few years, but have not yet returned to 2011 levels. If the dredging ban remains, I expect continued improvement but it will take a few years.

More likely, we're just looking at a normal cycle with fewer specks getting caught and more redfish. A lot of the guides shifted to catching redfish limits early in the season and heading for the dock satisfied with redfish limits without pushing hard for speck limits.

If the dredging ban remains in place, I expect oyster stocks to continue to rebound. If we can get oysters back to their pre-2011 levels, the rest of the lake will follow.
That's great information. I've been asking and researching online but couldn't find any info like this.

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  #5  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:43 AM
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We can go over it again but if the water is restricted from going into the marsh. The whole Eco system suffers.

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Old 02-06-2019, 09:57 AM
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We can go over it again but if the water is restricted from going into the marsh. The whole Eco system suffers.

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We've looked for evidence of this in our 8 year study and found that the opposite is actually true, at least within the ranges of restriction that are currently in place.

Flow between the lake and marsh is never completely restricted but varies from 20-80% restriction based on salinity measurements and tidal conditions. At least within those ranges, more restriction of flow is well correlated with higher fish condition.

All the evidence suggests that the weirs are well managed from the viewpoint of keeping Big Lake fisheries in good shape.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:03 AM
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Why then in years after Rita when the weirs were open and the levees were broke we caught more fish, bigger fish a could even catch shrimp in a trowel. Since they were repaired our fishing shrimping has been on a decline. I'm sure this information available.

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  #8  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:25 AM
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Why then in years after Rita when the weirs were open and the levees were broke we caught more fish, bigger fish a could even catch shrimp in a trowel. Since they were repaired our fishing shrimping has been on a decline. I'm sure this information available.

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One important source of energy at the bottom of the food web is detrius - decaying organic matter that the small stuff feeds on. Hurricanes like Rita put tons and tons of detrius into the water, and this creates a significant boost in production. In the years following Rita, saltwater intrusion into the marsh also killed many, many tons of vegetation creating detrius. But this is not a sustainable situation - one gets a short term boost in production but pays a high cost in terms of lost marsh.

A second contributing factor to the boom years after Rita were high oyster populations in the estuary. Oysters provide a variety of essential ecosystem services ranging from filtering water (increasing light penetration and primary production) to improved habitat and structure. Abundant oyster reefs also tend to hold fish in easily identifiable locations making them easier to catch. A few years after Rita, oyster overharvesting hit big lake really hard (high harvest pressure, mechanical dredges, etc.) resulting in a steep decline in oyster populations. This also had a negative impact on production at about the same time that the weirs were rebuilt and restored to their original management plan.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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One important source of energy at the bottom of the food web is detrius - decaying organic matter that the small stuff feeds on. Hurricanes like Rita put tons and tons of detrius into the water, and this creates a significant boost in production. In the years following Rita, saltwater intrusion into the marsh also killed many, many tons of vegetation creating detrius. But this is not a sustainable situation - one gets a short term boost in production but pays a high cost in terms of lost marsh.

A second contributing factor to the boom years after Rita were high oyster populations in the estuary. Oysters provide a variety of essential ecosystem services ranging from filtering water (increasing light penetration and primary production) to improved habitat and structure. Abundant oyster reefs also tend to hold fish in easily identifiable locations making them easier to catch. A few years after Rita, oyster overharvesting hit big lake really hard (high harvest pressure, mechanical dredges, etc.) resulting in a steep decline in oyster populations. This also had a negative impact on production at about the same time that the weirs were rebuilt and restored to their original management plan.

Thanks for all your info! FACTS over Feelings!
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:25 PM
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Every bay system goes through cycles. 2018 was by far the worst trout fishing in my three years of guiding. Think of the freeze we had and also the multiple floods bringing millions of gallons of fresh water into our bay system. Not to mention the near complete depletion of our oyster reefs. I am proud to report that I guided Tuesday and Wednesday this week and only saw one oyster boat in two days. We caught some really nice trout and did not have to measure any. I am very optimistic about 2019 and without any major flooding I think we will see a strong rebound in our near future.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:11 AM
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Every bay system goes through cycles. 2018 was by far the worst trout fishing in my three years of guiding. Think of the freeze we had and also the multiple floods bringing millions of gallons of fresh water into our bay system. Not to mention the near complete depletion of our oyster reefs. I am proud to report that I guided Tuesday and Wednesday this week and only saw one oyster boat in two days. We caught some really nice trout and did not have to measure any. I am very optimistic about 2019 and without any major flooding I think we will see a strong rebound in our near future.
That is encouraging brother.
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2019, 10:08 AM
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MG,

Thank you the detailed data and facts shared with all concerning Big Lake. I know there are many people working to keep the ECO systems alive and well and it sounds like you know much that is going on and keep all informed. That said, we are not God and things do happen and we must adjust and wait.

I agree that FACTS before Opinions is always appreciated!!!!

Thanks for the Post!!!!
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2019, 09:16 PM
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I can remember Grand Bayou winding thru a beautifull marsh. With carpet of pink eyes moving out of the marsh. I can remember dragging a trawl in big lake and catching hundreds of pounds of shrimp. Then we get the weirs you can't catch a dozen shrimp in an hour. I know the duck hunters love the weirs for the weigeon grass ect.
But we had more ducks then in that marsh than I've seen in a decade of the weirs. Engineers will never be God. Let the marsh be.
Where exactly are you getting all these facts I'd like to look at them myself.


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Old 02-10-2019, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rainy_day View Post
I can remember Grand Bayou winding thru a beautifull marsh. With carpet of pink eyes moving out of the marsh. I can remember dragging a trawl in big lake and catching hundreds of pounds of shrimp. Then we get the weirs you can't catch a dozen shrimp in an hour. I know the duck hunters love the weirs for the weigeon grass ect.
But we had more ducks then in that marsh than I've seen in a decade of the weirs. Engineers will never be God. Let the marsh be.
Where exactly are you getting all these facts I'd like to look at them myself.


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But the problem is big lake historically was never a full saltwater lake. It was brackish at best. The ship channel changed all that. And now with that big gaping opening from 9-mile cut southward, the weirs are needed more than ever to keep that marsh from turning into saltwater marsh. The ecology was changed forever with that ship channel. So no one should be complaining about the weirs.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:21 PM
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Now I do agree with that. Why dont they close 9 mile and turners bay. Like it use to be. That would help more than anything to bring the lake back to near historical catches.

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  #16  
Old 02-10-2019, 11:45 PM
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Now I do agree with that. Why dont they close 9 mile and turners bay. Like it use to be. That would help more than anything to bring the lake back to near historical catches.

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That would be easy to do. Don't know why it hasn't been done. Maintaining a lower salinity in the lake would allow the weirs to stay open longer.
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  #17  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:06 AM
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That would be easy to do. Don't know why it hasn't been done. Maintaining a lower salinity in the lake would allow the weirs to stay open longer.
Yes, this is true. One could increase flow restrictions between the ship channel and lake and this would allow decreasing flow restrictions between the lake and marsh while maintaining the same salinity levels in the marsh.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:10 PM
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Do you think Ducks Unlimited is short stopping trout from reaching Big Lake?
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  #19  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:18 AM
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It is interesting to hear Year after year that permits are in place and funding has been approved to rock the spin channel. One side says it’s the worst thing that could be done to our fishery and others can’t wait to see it happen. One thing is a fact. If something isn’t done long point needs to be changed to short point because it is eroding from ship traffic daily. And, while guiding yesterday on a low tide west cove is covered with tree tops which are washing off the ship channel banks.
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  #20  
Old 02-16-2019, 10:10 AM
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It is interesting to hear Year after year that permits are in place and funding has been approved to rock the spin channel. One side says it?s the worst thing that could be done to our fishery and others can?t wait to see it happen. One thing is a fact. If something isn?t done long point needs to be changed to short point because it is eroding from ship traffic daily. And, while guiding yesterday on a low tide west cove is covered with tree tops which are washing off the ship channel banks.
And ship traffic is only going to get worse.
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