It sounds like an angler’s pipe dream – knowing exactly where to go in Louisiana lakes to find plentiful fish.
But it’s becoming a reality thanks in part to Entergy Louisiana’s gas department. The company recently became a partner in a state program to create new fish habitats in Louisiana lakes.
The gas department is donating scrap pipe to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for use in building artificial reefs that provide habitat and protection for small fish.
Where small fish gather, big fish follow. And it’s not long before anglers turn up looking to land a lunker.
In fact, the state provides GPS coordinates to the artificial reefs, so anglers are likely to find fish. It all helps Louisiana maintain its reputation as the Sportsman’s Paradise, said LDWF staff biologist Sean Kinney.
Entergy Louisiana became involved thanks to Wayne Simmons, Paul Pounders and Bobby Gillard.
Gillard, a senior safety specialist in Lake Charles, went to the state LDWF office in Lake Charles looking for boating safety information when he ran into Kinney, an old acquaintance.
Kinney told Gillard he was building an artificial reef to put in Toledo Bend. Kinney mentioned another utility had donated some pipe and asked if Entergy Louisiana had any spare pipe. Gillard put Kinney together with Pounders, region manager for the gas department in Baton Rouge, and Simmons, supervisor of gas construction and maintenance.
Since making the connection with Kinney several months ago, Simmons has coordinated Entergy Louisiana’s donation of 3,000 to 4,000 feet of scrap pipe leftover from gas projects underway in Baton Rouge. The scrap pipe, made of medium-density polyethylene plastic, ranges in size from 1 to 6 inches in diameter and anywhere from 1 to 10 feet in length, Simmons said.
“By keeping it out of the landfill we’re helping the environment, and we’re helping the state with its artificial reef program,” Simmons said.
Kinney explained that in the state’s older lakes, trees and stumps are decaying and fish are losing the protective cover they need. Inspired by a program launched about two years ago in Kentucky, Kinney is expanding the artificial reef program for southwest Louisiana with the addition of ones built out of plastic pipe. A prototype reef he constructed from Entergy Louisiana’s scrap pipe is destined for the depths of Vernon Lake this summer, he said.
Four or five other LDWF district offices are also interested in the program, Kinney said.
Entergy Louisiana’s gas department now sets aside all of the scrap polyethylene pipe that can be repurposed for the program, Simmons said.
“We will continue donating scrap pipe for as long as the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a need for it,” he said.