This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Alcibiades sits in the golden light of sunrise and looks at the river. When a big fish surfaces nearby, he always looks that way, as if to acknowledge the brief visit.

Just a quick thing to record some news. This morning my friend Rusty, the man who fishes the big nets for buffalo, caught a tarpon in the Atchafalaya River. He was raising nets about seven miles (on a level with Catahoula) below Butte La Rose and he caught this strange looking fish. He didn’t recognize it right away, having never caught one in his nets before. But it had the big scales, and Rusty is always looking for interesting things, and so he saved it and brought it in. He called the Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries and they sent a biologist to meet him at the landing in Simmesport, and they confirmed that it was indeed a seven pound (estimate) tarpon.

The Old People will tell you that there used to be tarpon in Grand Lake every year when the water got real low. They would see them rolling on the surface, sometimes in big schools. Not having much value as food or as anything else to a subsistence fisherman, they didn’t try to catch them. I guess it would have been like catching a giant shad – then what do you do with it?

Another fish item. Yesterday Rusty caught a ten pound hybrid striper/barfish near our house. He put it in my livebox down at the dock. I took pictures and let it go, pictures to edit into this posting later. This is the biggest hybrid striper I have seen. He tells me that during the winter these big hybrids are all over the Atchafalaya River near Butte La Rose. He catches hundreds sometimes. It sure would seem that someone would go after these big gamefish with rods and reels and lures, but they don’t. I wonder why a two pound bass is more worth pursuing than these big stripers. No explaining it.

The river is 6.9 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, and holding there for a few days. The Ohio and Mississippi are both falling, and the Ohio is falling particularly hard.

Rise and Shine, Jim


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