LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Summer is just around the corner and a steady influx of fishermen are heading out to lakes and bayous. With this growing number, Wildlife & Fisheries wants to remind residents of some fishermen’s etiquette.
With lakes seeing more traffic, Wildlife & Fisheries wants to encourage lake goers to pay respect.
Sergeant Andrew Mitchell with Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries told 7News it was the summer of 2016 at Toledo Bend when things got out of hand.
“A husband and wife were sitting stationary over a brush pile that’s under the water and they were fishing,” Sergeant Mitchell said. "A fishing guide came in and tried to run them off from this particular spot. The husband felt threatened so he pulled a firearm to protect himself and his wife. And then the fishing guide then left and then both parties called 9-1-1.”
Fortunately, no one got hurt. In the end, both parties were arrested, one for pulling out a firearm and the other for harassment. Authorities want to educate lake goers before the summer season to keep an incident like this from happening again.
“If there is someone there fishing, they cannot cause them to leave for any reason," Sergeant Mitchell said. "As far as harassment is concerned; when you read the charge that we charged it’s even ‘causing someone to loose their enjoyment while fishing outdoors.' ”
The problem starts with brush piles, people make them, then drop them in the lake to use as artificial reefs. These artificial reefs attract fish. But despite whoever works on them once they hit the water, it’s considered public.
“They way they view it, they did the work. It’s their spot," Sergeant Mitchell said.
Wade LaBauve, one fisherman who frequents Toledo Bend, says it’s best to play nice.
“If you see somebody fishing having a good time enjoying their self you know, just, it’s a big lake," LaBauve said. "Maybe go and try another place to fish.”
Sergeant Mitchell encourages those who feel threatened to leave the area and call 9-1-1 or wildlife and fisheries.
He also has a trick of the trade. If you see someone approaching, pull out your phone and start recording. In Mitchell’s experience he’s noticed people usually back off.