Louisiana’s speckled trout season was fairly disappointing to most anglers in 2014, according to The Times-Picayune. Though there were a few productive, trout-filled pockets along the state’s coast, many charter boat captains found numbers were less than ideal.
Some experts are saying that a recent bad recruitment year is to blame. “Speckled trout produce so many offspring, it’s incredible,” said Randy Pausina, assistant secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to The Times-Picayune. “If all the stars line up — the conditions end up perfect for those little guys to survive — you end up with a lot of fish.”
That’s because speckled trout produce nearly 100 million offspring near Louisiana’s coasts each year, so even if a fair share of those offspring don’t make it to adulthood, there are typically a million or so that do.
But conditions this year weren’t ideal for large numbers of trout to survive. “This past winter was beyond a doubt the longest winter that we’ve seen in years,” said Pausina to the Times-Picayune. “When people…who have been around longer than me can’t remember anything like this in their lifetime, that says something.”
The conditions aren’t really indicative of long-term declines, says Pausina, and it’s most likely that 2014 is just a down year for the fishery. State biologists are in the field every day conducting creel surveys at docks or pushing seines in deeper water looking for fry. Data they’ve collected so far haven’t made action necessary, says Pausina.