The Purpose of the Reef Program
The primary purpose of building artificial reefs in Lake Pontchartrain is to provide more productive fish habitat while enhancing recreational fishing. Since the Lake is soft-bottomed, artificial reefs provide the “hard” structure, which supplies better habitat for invertebrate marine organisms. These invertebrate marine organisms form the base of the food chain for large vertebrate species like sport fish. The reefs are expected to draw a variety of recreational fish such as speckled trout, sheepshead, redfish, and white trout.
The first reef was completed in the summer of 2001. It is located about 2.1 miles east of the northern end of New Orleans Lake Front Airport. This reef is a series of crushed limestone rubble mounds. The mounds are spread over the two-acre site to create a large area of varied relief. The hard surface and physical relief from the Lake’s bottom result in bottom current change. The current change attracts fish and promotes feeding. Seabrook and South Shore Harbor are the nearest boat launch and marina.
Second generation reefs are constructed of reef balls. Reef balls are hemisphericaly shaped, perforated concrete units specifically designed to create artificial habitat for marine organisms. Like the limestone rubble, reef balls disrupt bottom currents. An added advantage is that the perforations provide shelter for juvenile fish.
Three reefs were constructed using reef balls in the summer and fall of 2003. These reefs are 3 miles west of the Causeway Bridge and 2.5 miles north of the Jefferson shoreline. Almost 600 reef balls were deployed on three sites. Laketown (Williams Blvd.) and Bonnabel are the closest boat launches.
An artificial reef for the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain was completed in early 2004. It is constructed of 80 reef balls. This reef is located about 5 miles south of Fontainebleau State Park. Mandeville Harbor (Bayou Castine) and Bayou Lacombe are the closest boat launches.
In the Spring of 2009, four more artificial reefs were constructed in Lake Pontchartrain using reef balls. Two are located in St. Tammany Parish, one south of Goose Point and the other south of Madisonville. A third reef was placed in Orleans Parish east of the Causeway Bridge. The fourth reef was placed in St. Charles Parish.
Funding for the artificial reef program came from many sources including: British Petroleum (BP), the EPA, Jefferson Parish, Amoco, Fish America, several sportsmen’s associations, and numerous generous individuals.
Fishing and Recreation Map
Fishing and Recreation Map Please visit our Gift Shop for LPBF's new Fishing and Recreation Map for Lake Pontchartrain, Maurepas and Borgne. The map has locations of reefs, dredge holes, structures and many other fishing or outdoor localities (some never previously published). Tables provide GPS coordinates and contact information for boat launches. Color printing on waterproof vinyl paper (folded) or regular paper (rolled). 20” X 34” (LPBF copyright 2014).
South Shore Boat Launches and Piers
LPBF encourages safe and responsible use of our great natural resources in and around Lake Pontchartrain. Convenient and safe access is an important service by local parishes, but these assets are often affected by storms and need to be repaired. LPBF plans continue to report on the status of these community elements so important to Enjoy Our Lake.
There are four major fishing piers dedicated to no-cost public use in New Orleans and East Jefferson, but more than a year after Hurricane Isaac closed the last of them, only the Frank Davis Fishing Pier at Seabrook is up and running.
Two others, the Williams Boulevard (Laketown) Boat Launch in Kenner and Bonnabel Boat Launch in Metairie, are in various states of repair and not expected back on line until mid-November and mid-January, respectively.
Unfortunately, there is still no date for construction of a replacement pier at the New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor, where that project remains the subject of sluggish negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
There is better news, at least in three venues, for boaters wanting south shore access to the lake. To learn more, read LPBF's report, Status of Lake Pontchartrain South Shore Boat Launches and Piers.
Fisherman's Catch and Release Guide
Most fishermen are careful to release many of the fish they catch. This helps low fish populations to recover and ensures that there will be plenty of fish for the future. However, many fish caught and released may die because of the stress of capture and handling. A set of simple steps may be taken to greatly increase a released fish’s chance of survival.
1. How to Begin
Try to set the hook quickly to prevent the fish from swallowing the bait. Use hooks that are barbless and made from metals that rust quickly. Keep release tools handy.
2. Handling Your Catch
Try to keep the fish in the water while removing the hook. Use a wet glove or rag to hold the fish if it must be handled. Get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible.
3. Removing the Hook
Back the hook out the opposite way it went in. Cut the leader close to the fish's mouth if the hook cannot be quickly removed. Use needle-nose pliers or a de-hooker to work the hook free and protect your hands.
4. The Release
Gently place the fish in the water, supporting its body until it swims away. An exhausted fish can be resuscitated by moving it back and forth to force water through its gills. If a released fish does not swim away, recover it and try again. A RELEASED FISH THAT HAS BEEN HANDLED PROPERLY HAS AN EXCELLENT CHANCE OF SURVIVAL!