Public sport fishing opens March 15 | WNTZ

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LAKE ARTHUR, Louisiana – The Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge complex, including Lacassine, Cameron Prairie and Sabine National Wildlife Refuges (NWR), will be open to public sport fishing from Tuesday, March 15, 2022 through October 15, 2022. Entry by boat into the huts is permitted from one hour before legal sunrise to one hour after legal sunset. Fishing and crabbing are permitted from legal sunrise to legal sunset. Only boats with motors of 40 horsepower or less can be used in the Lacassine pool and Sabine’s Unit 3. The use of surface drive motors and push rods is encouraged.

The entrance gate to the Lacassine pool will open at 6:20 a.m. Parking on or along Illinois Plant Road is not permitted. You must arrive at the refuge on time or after the entrance gate opens. Those who will be parked in front of the shelter door before 6:20 a.m. will be asked to go to the end of the line. Those wishing to launch boats from the north boat ramp should stay to the right of Illinois Factory Road. Those bank fishing, kayaking, or using the south ramp can continue through the refuge using the left side of Illinois Factory Road. We remind boaters traveling in the Lacassine Basin to use the appropriate waterways and to be aware that kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft may also use the basin. The water control structures in the pool are set to retain water at full pool. Heavy and continuous rainfall is required to maintain water levels at this elevation. Water levels are reduced by evaporation, which increases as temperatures rise, and plant transpiration, which increases as plant growth increases. The SE part of the pool is still in the withdrawal phase and will not be open to boats. Kayaking, canoes and shore fishing are permitted.

Fishing will open in the 2-mile stretch of the Cameron Prairie Outfall Canal and will remain open along Bank Fishing Road and the Roadside Canal. Non-motorized watercraft may be used in the Roadside Canal and waterways accessible from the Bank Fishing Road. Boat operators should proceed with caution in canals and marshes in case vegetation or debris has moved into the area which may be hidden underwater.

Cameron Prairie’s East Cove unit, accessible via Grand Bay or Boat Bay on the east side of Calcasieu Lake, is open to the public at this time. For updates or more information on accessing this area, please call 855-532-9955.

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will have roadside recreation areas open and all boaters and the visiting public are urged to proceed with caution both on the water and when navigating in all areas of public use. Hurricanes Laura and Delta removed, displaced, and damaged many shelter facilities; moved a lot of dirt and rocks, which altered walking surfaces in public recreation areas; silted up in boat ramps and canals, changing depths and paths taken in the past; and may have scattered and left debris in marshes and waterways. Refuge staff are urging everyone to exercise caution when navigating the canals and marshes in case there are objects that remain out of sight below the surface of the water.

Sabine NWR recreation areas along Hwy 27 south of Hackberry that will open Tuesday, March 15 include: Northline, South Parking Lot and Hog Island Gully Boat Ramps, Blue Crab, Parking Lot and West Cove North Boat Ramps and West Cove South Parking Lot and Boat Ramps. All road signage was lost during the hurricanes, making orientation difficult at that time. Please see the Roadside Recreation map in the Southwest Louisiana NWR Complex Fishing and Boating Regulations publication to identify these areas. Regulations can be obtained from brochure boxes located in recreation areas while supplies last, or can be downloaded and printed at home at Southwest Louisiana NWR Complex Fishing and Boating Regulations | US Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov)

The Sabine refuge does not have toilets available at the moment. The existing facility has been damaged and requires major repairs before it can be reopened. Additionally, Refuge staff have placed orange construction fencing in areas where facilities have been damaged and are awaiting repair or replacement. Please stay out of all closed areas, do not fish or crab from boat launches, and park only in designated parking areas.

For more details on fishing and boating in the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, please obtain the publication Southwest Louisiana NWR Fishing and Boating Regulations in the boxes of Refuge brochures located at Sabine NWR Recreation Areas, Lacassine NWR Kiosk brochure boxes, Lacassine NWR office or download and print from home. to the Southwest Louisiana NWR Complex Fishing and Boating Regulations | US Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov)

Please do not litter and obey all safety instructions and signage. Help limit the spread of invasive plant species, such as Giant Salvinia, by thoroughly cleaning boats and trailers after each fishing trip. Please DO NOT feed the alligators.

For information about the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, call 337-774-5923 or 337-598-2216.

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