The Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex including Cameron Prairie, Sabine, and Lacassine National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) will open for public sport fishing Monday, March 15, 2021 through October 15, 2021. Boat admittance into the refuges is permitted from one hour before legal sunrise to one hour after legal sunset. Fishing and crabbing are permitted from legal sunrise to legal sunset. Only boats with motors of 40 horsepower or less may be used in Lacassine Pool and Sabine’s Unit 3 Impoundment. Use of surface drive motors and push poles are encouraged.
The entrance gate to Lacassine Pool will open at 6:20 am. Parking on or along Illinois Plant Road is not permitted. It is best to arrive at the refuge at the time or after the entrance gate opens. Boat operators traveling in Lacassine Pool are reminded to travel in appropriate waterways and to be aware that kayaks and other non-motorized vessels may also be using the Pool. Water control structures in the Pool are set to hold water at full Pool. Continued significant rainfall is required to maintain water levels at this elevation. Water levels are reduced by evaporation, which rises as temperatures increase, and plant transpiration, which rises as plant growth increases.
Fishing will open in Cameron Prairie’s 2-mile stretch of Outfall Canal and will remain open along Bank Fishing Road and Roadside Canal. Non-motorized boats may be used in Roadside Canal and waterways accessible from Bank Fishing Road. Boat operators should proceed with caution in canals and marshes in the event that the hurricanes this past year moved vegetation or debris into the area which may remain hidden under water.
Cameron Prairie’s East Cove Unit, accessed through the Grand Bayou Boat Bay on the East side of Calcasieu Lake remains closed to public at this time. For updates or more information about access to this area, please call 855-532-9955.
Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will open some roadside recreation areas for the first time since hurricane Laura hit last August. All boaters and visiting public are asked to proceed with caution both on the water and when navigating all public use areas. Hurricanes Laura and Delta removed, moved and damaged many refuge facilities; moved lots of soil and rock, which changed walking surfaces in public recreation areas; silted in boat launches and canals, changing depths and paths navigated in the past; and may have scattered and left debris across the marshes and in waterways. Refuge staff urges everyone to proceed with caution when navigating canals and marshes in the event that there are items that remain out of sight under the surface of the water.
The Sabine NWR recreation areas along Highway 27 south of Hackberry that will open Monday, March 15 include: Northline, Hog Island Gully south parking lot and boat launches, Blue Crab, West Cove north parking lot and boat launches, and West Cove south parking lot and boat launches. All Highway signage was lost during the hurricanes making wayfinding difficult at this time. Please consult the Roadside Recreation map within the Southwest Louisiana NWR Complex Fishing and Boating Regulations publication to identify these areas. Regulations may be obtained from brochure boxes located in recreation areas while supplies last, or may be downloaded and printed from home at https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/regulations/southwest-louisiana-complex-fishing.pdf .
Sabine refuge does not have any restroom facilities available at this time. The existing facility was damaged and requires significant repairs before it can be re-opened. Additionally, Refuge staff has placed orange construction fencing in areas where facilities have been damaged and are waiting to be repaired or replaced. Please stay out of all closed areas, do not fish or crab from boat launch docks, and only park in designated parking areas.
For details on fishing and boating within Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, please obtain the Southwest Louisiana NWR Fishing and Boating Regulations publication from Refuge brochure boxes located at Sabine NWR recreation areas, Lacassine NWR kiosk brochure boxes, Lacassine NWR’s office or download and print from home at https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/regulations/southwest-louisiana-complex-fishing.pdf
Please do not litter and obey all safety regulations and signage. Help limit the spread of the invasive plant species, like Giant Salvinia, by thoroughly cleaning boats and trailers after every fishing trip. For additional information about the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, call 337-774-5923 or 337-563-3491.
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