If you are a speckled trout fisherman, no matter if your level of passion ranges from casual to avid, your input is being sought in a survey released by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Sea Grant.

The survey, an additional effort to collect feedback from you, the angler, seeks public comment on speckled trout management options. Earlier this year, eight statewide public meetings were held and a survey was emailed to more than 10,000 randomly selected saltwater fishermen by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

LDWF Finfish Program Manager Jason Adriance, a veteran marine fisheries biologist, said each individual opinion is a critical step in the fishery management process, one that started ramping up last year. The LDWF biologists came up with several management options they believe will allow the speckled trout stock to recover.

Recover? The state agency’s latest assessment of speckled trout along Louisiana’s coastal waters revealed the stock is overfished — i.e. the size of the spawning population is below the minimum level established for the stock, Adriance pointed out in a prepared statement. When a stock is overfished, he said, “We must take action to rebuild the population back to (or above) the target level. We are currently considering several options for management changes to reduce harvest levels and allow the stock to recover.”

The information about the current status of speckled trout can be seen at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/spotted-seatrout.

The state biologist said information from all public comment forums, including the current survey, will be compiled and a summary of angler preferences will be considered by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. He urged anglers to the Spotted Seatrout Management Options Survey at lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3mFYngNhpsJ3Oh7.

Commissioners’ potential decisions can range from no action to specific changes in speckled trout management.

LDWF officials said the survey should take approximately 12 minutes to complete.

If anglers have any questions or comments, contact Adriance at 504-284-2032 or jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

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How is this year’s red snapper season going?

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported June 4 the latest red snapper landing estimates through May 24. According to LA Creel, the LDWF’s near real-time landings data collection program, 51,834 pounds of red snapper, were harvested during the first week of the private recreational red snapper season, which began May 22 in both federal and state waters.

That harvest is 7 percent of the state’s 2020 annual private recreational allocation of 784,332 pounds.

The red snapper season is scheduled to run weekends only (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with a daily bag limit of two fish per person and a 16-inch minimum length limit until recreational landings approach or reach the allocation for the Sportsman’s Paradise.

The state agency urges anglers’ voluntary participation in the electronic reporting program to improve recreational harvest data collection.

For more information on the 2020 red snapper season and detailed landing estimates, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/red-snapper.

DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.

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