It’s yo-yo time in north Louisiana. And no, I’m not talking politics. I’m talking about the automatic trigger devices popular with white perch fishermen this time of year. It’s seems like a rite of passage for young fisherman to set out yo-yo’s among cypress trees, camp out on a cold night by a roaring fire and stay up all night checking for white perch. And for some of us old codgers, it’s about the only way we can catch a mess of fish some days.
There are also lots of other yo-yo fishermen who set them out regularly around trees, stumps and even construct devices in the lake like t-poles to hang yo-yo’s from. It’s that last method that is the subject of new regulations now in effect and being enforced. Yo-yo fishermen need to make sure to understand these regulations, which are now standard on Lake D’Arbonne (Union), Black Lake, Clear Lake and Prairie Lake (Natchitoches), Caddo Lake (Caddo), Chicot Lake (Evangeline), Lake Lafourche (Caldwell) and Lake St. Joseph, (Tensas).
They are the result of several years of study, complaints from boaters whose rigs have been damaged and concerns from lake property owners who don’t like to see PVC pipe glistening in the sun when they look out across the lake waters. Previously, only use of steel pipes and rebar was not allowed. Now NO type of artificial structure – pvc, wood, rebar, even nails – are allowed. Basically, you tie it on the tree or on a branch or it isn’t legal. Private boat docks and piers are exempt from the regulations.
There are, or course, two sides of the story. Fishermen who have been nailing posts and building PVC structures don’t like the new regulations.
I’m not taking sides in this one, but merely reporting the facts. I like to put out a few yo-yo’s in the early spring myself. And before anybody starts writing letters to the editor, I didn’t make the law, I’m just reporting it. But if you fish, follow it or risk getting a ticket. I’ve been told that LDWF enforcement will be on the lookout for violations and will respond to complaints about violations just like they would breaking of any other law. They also have the authority to remove such structures when they find them.
The complete wording of the regulations, as they are stated in the 2014 Louisiana Fishing Regulations pamphlet, are included on the Louisiana Outdoor News page on this website or on the LDWF website.
Any questions about the regulations should be directed to the LDWF Enforcement in Monroe at 318-343-2417. Any complaints about violation of any game or fish laws can be reported there as well, or anonymously 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling Operation Game Thief at 1-800-442-2511.