What is it about Gueydan that makes us so well known for waterfowl?
Vermilion Parish is tops in Louisiana for the annual harvest of geese and one of the top two parishes on the Mississippi Flyway for the harvest of ducks. These marshes average five million ducks and half a million geese that winter here. They consist of several species. Hunters are not the only ones able to appreciate the wildlife surrounding Gueydan. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are few other places on the North American continent where such large concentrations of wintering waterfowl can be appreciated just by driving along the highways. For updated information on hunting and fishing regulations and license fees go to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries web site.
But how did we become nationally known for fine duck and goose hunting? It began many years ago. Gueydan is an agricultural community and thousands of acres of rice and soybean fields lie in its outskirts in every direction. This provides excellent wintering habitat for tens of thousands of ducks and geese. Flocks of geese can be seen in the rice fields adjacent to the local roads and highways. Extensive marshes lying south of Gueydan provide natural refuges for waterfowl. Species of geese which can be found in the area during the winter months include lesser and greater snow geese, white fronted or speckled belly geese, blue geese and lesser and greater Canada geese. Species of ducks include blue-wing and green-wing teal, mallard, pintail, gadwall, widgeon, mottled duck, redhead, canvasback and shoveler (locally known as spoonbill). At the turn of the century, before regulations stipulated the quantity of waterfowl that a hunter could bag per day, ducks and geese were said to blacken the sky due to the exorbitant numbers leaving the marsh lands.
There are a number of hunting facilities operating in the area that provide paid, guided or unguided hunting, both with and without overnight accommodations. The Florence Club, now privately owned, was a nationally famous hunting club where a United States president, celebrities, sports figures and others hunted, dined and lodged in luxury. As a result of all of the hunting activity in the area, local craftsman developed their talents as pirogue (boat) builders. Many of the local guides did and still do make their own duck and goose calls. Other local artisans make calls for sale to the public.
Although not widely known for its fishing, Gueydan is centrally located, which allows access to both fresh water fishing and salt water fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Area marshes such as those owned by Miami Corporation (permit required) and the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge (now producing large Florida bass catches) offer visitors easy access to bass, sac-a-lait (white perch), bream and catfish. These areas are accessible within a 30 minute drive of the town. Miami Corporation can be accessed through Mallard Bay located southwest of Gueydan. A public launch is available at Talen's Landing located on the Intracoastal Canal southwest of Gueydan. The Lacassine Wildlife Refuge has a public launch and parking facility which allows fishermen direct access to inside refuge waters. Most of these fishing areas are accessible within a thirty minute drive of town. Gueydan is also an hour or so away from surf and boat fishing for speckled trout and redfish at Calcasieu Lake locally known as Big Lake; Holly Beach, which is called the Cajun Riviera; Constance Beach and Florida Beach. All of these areas are located southwest of Gueydan and may be accessed at public launches located in Cameron, Louisiana. The Cameron jetties leading to the Gulf of Mexico are also a popular fishing spot for speckled trout and "bullreds". Offshore fishing charters are also available from charter boats in Cameron, Louisiana.
Pecan Island, located 37 miles southeast of Gueydan, is also a popular launching area for offshore fishermen. Public launches are available at Arcadiana Marina in Pecan Island and at Fresh Water City located south of Pecan Island. Vermilion Bay, a 60 minute drive from Gueydan, is a haven for speckled trout anglers. Vermilion Bay can be accessed by public launches located in Delcambre, Cypremort Point, and south of Erath. A number of anglers also travel to the Atchafalaya Basin in search of freshwater fish such as bass, sac-a-lait, bream and goggle eye. There are public landings available to access the Atchafalaya Basin between the Interstate 10 bridges as well as numerous landings available to the public on the I-10/Henderson exit
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