The Lake Pontchartrain Artificial Reef Working Group has received
a green light from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries to develop a cluster of three sites in Lake Pontchartrain
as artificial reefs.
The Working Group, led by John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain
Basin Foundation and Woody Crews of the Jefferson Parish Marine
Fisheries Advisory Board, has been planning this project since the
installation of the first artificial reef in the lake more than two
"This reef will be different than the first reef, which was very
low-profile," Lopez said. "It will be constructed of reef balls to
make a more complex habitat to attract and hold fish."
Reef balls are hollow, concrete half-spheres containing many
windows. Two sizes of balls will be used, Lopez said. There will be
3-by-4-foot "pallet balls," and 2-by-3-foot "bay balls." The reef
cluster will be west of the Causeway bridge, three miles from the
Jefferson Parish shoreline.
"Lake Pontchartrain has a healthy fish population, but they are
spread all over the lake, making them hard to locate," said Mark
Schexnayder, LSU AgCenter fisheries adviser. "Right now almost all
the fishing effort is concentrated at the bridges and at Seabrook,
because there are no other places for fish to congregate."
Schexnayder, who includes this effort along with the
refurbishment of Lafreniere and City Park lagoons and Bayou St. John
in his Urban Fishing Enhancement Project, added "this should be
another hot spot."
Lopez credited much of the success of the lake's reef projects to
the Working Group's membership, which reads like a roster of the
area's conservation and sportsmen's groups. The primary sources of
money are The FishAmerica Foundation/NOAA Restoration Center and the
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, although additional sponsors
are needed. Lopez may be contacted at (985) 847-1889.
-- Shrimp -- Offshore waters: open. Inshore waters: Zone 2
closed, Zones 1 and 3 open, but may close on short notice.
-- Oyster -- All public areas closed.
-- Redfish -- Federal waters: Recreational and commercial closed.
State waters: Commercial closed; Recreational open.
-- Speckled trout -- Commercial rod and reel closed until Nov.