Sunday, March 18, 2018

What's happening this week 3/18

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners and public are welcome. For more info, go to

Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are the upcoming Marsh Madness tournament, Tackle Tips, Location of the Month and the CPR tournament. For more info, go to

Also on Tuesday, the CCA Northshore Chapter will hold a Spring Fishing Seminar at Madisonville Town Hall and Community Center. Time is 6:00pm. Admission is $5 for CCA members, $10 for non-members, Ladies and kids are free. Guest speakers include Capt. Kris Robert, Capt. Josh Howard, Capt. Mike Gallo and Randy Pausina. For more info, go to

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to

Also starting on Thursday, and continuing thru Saturday, it's the 21st annual Sowbug Roundup at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm each day. Admission is $5 and covers all 3 days, under 12 free. Sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Sowbug is the foremost gathering of fly tyers from across the country. There's also seminars, vendors, casting instruction, vendors, and more. For more info, go to

On Saturday, it's the 71st annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo & Fishtival. The nation's oldest freshwater tournament includes divisions for conventional bass, fly rod bass, team rio, kayak (Boats on the Bayou) and more. Exhibitors and tying demonstrations by the New Orleans Fly Fishers. Fishing begins at 6:30am with weigh-in at 11:00am. Entry fee is $10 adults, $5 ages 12 and under. Online registration available, on-site registration at the Casino (Coffee Call) from 6:00am to 8:30am. For more info, go to

Also on Saturday, following the NOCP Rodeo & Fishtival, Masseys Outfitters will hold a free Kayak Demo Day on Bayou St. John near Cabrini Bridge. Models will include Hobie, Jackson, Native, Bonafide, and more. For more info, go to

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic introducing the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. For more info, contact 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's annual Marsh Madness Top Bag out of Coco Marina in Cocodrie. This tackle bag exchange tournament is for top 2 redfish. Entry fee is $25, with an optional speckled trout calcutta of $5. For more info, go to

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Five fishing legislative bills to follow

Years ago, during a heated battle for a state representative post, one candidate aired a commercial that was the talk of the town. A woman awakes from her sleep, startled, grabs a flashlight and stealthly approaches a closed door. The narrator said something to the effect, "They're back. The scariest thing imaginable.". The woman opens the door and screams. On the other side of the door is a group of well-dressed people moving from desk to desk inside the state capital rotunda. The narrator concludes, "The Louisiana Legislature!".

The announcer had it somewhat right. Anytime the Louisiana legislature is in session, anything can happen and sometimes really bad things can happen. Thanks to groups like CCA and others, we anglers at least have some sense of security, knowing these groups are watching out for us. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't get involved. Just the opposite - we need to know what bills are being filed, how they will impact us, and contact our legislators and let them know we support or oppose certain bills.

With the 2018 session kicking off on Monday, most of the bills have been pre-filed. While there are nearly two dozen pieces of legislation involving fish and fishing - House bills (HB), Senate bills (SB), House resolutions (HCR), and Senate resolutions (SCR) - we've picked the five worth watching, and give our opinion on each. Sponsor names are in parenthesis.

SB176 (Gerald Long). Reduces crappie daily limit on Sibley Lake from 50 to 25. We SUPPORT this bill, but would ask that the geographical area be extended to all waters west of Highway 167 and north of I-10. The vast majority of these waters are in the so-called Piney Hills of Louisiana where low alkalinity makes them rather infertile. Further, Louisiana is the only state with a crappie limit greater than 25.  Other states have shown that the severe spikes in juvenile crappie recruitment have been moderated with lower limits. Since Toledo Bend is already 25 amending this bill would not affect the bi-state agreement.

SB453 (Dan Morrish). This bill provides an exemption to the recent state law that permits only tonging of oysters in Calcasieu Lake. We OPPOSE this bill. When Calcasieu had millions of oysters, they filtered out water, keeping the lake clear and clean and a perfect habitat for the world's best speckled trout fishery. The demise of trout fishing in the lake has been proven linked to the mechanical harvesting that has resulted in over 90 percent reduction in the oyster population. Which is why the bill allowing only tonging (the historical method) was passed. As the lake's oyster population rebuilds, now is not the time for any exemptions.

HB688 (Rodney Lyons). This bill moves litter education and enforcement from shared DEQ and LDWF entirely to LDWF. We SUPPORT this bill. I can tell you our readers, from personal experience, that the current system doesn't work. Way too much confusion and bureaucracy! Putting it in the hands of LDWF gives us anglers a more powerful voice in keeping our waterways clean.

I saved the biggest two for last...

HB391 (Kevin Pearson). This bill provides public access to the running waters of the state. We STRONGLY SUPPORT this bill... with provision!  The bill would provide for public navigation of running waters - over both public and privately owned water bottoms connected to a state-owned water bottom that is subject to the ebb and flow of the tide. The situation in our coastal marshes gets worse by the month. Many areas that we used to fish are now posted, even though they're mostly open marsh. In addition, the recent announcement that Bob's Bayou Black Marina near Houma will have to close because the canal leading from it will be gated and blocked has angered and rallied the fishing community behind HB391. Louisiana is the only state with such restrictive tidal access laws. On the other hand... I do see the concern of many duck hunters. I think there is room for an amendment to this bill that would satisfy both anglers and hunters.

HB687 (Jerome Zeringue).  Restructures hunting and fishing licenses. We SUPPORT this bill. Three reasons we support it. First, LDWF funding from oil and gas on their properties has taken a plunge. The Department has been running in the red. It needs a more stable funding. Second, most of our license fees have not been increased in over a decade. LDWF receives NO general revenue funding, so it needs to keep up with costing through fees. And third, matching funds. As one retired LDWF employee told me, it's not the fees themselves that generate much money, it's the matching federal dollars. Louisiana is losing out on a mountain of federal dollars from excise taxes because of our current license structure.  Apparently the cane pole licenses and the senior hunting and fishing licenses don't meet a matching threshold. Under HB687, those two licenses would be modified. Hook and Line (cane pole type) from $2.50 to $5.00. The Senior license for 60 and older which is now $5.00 for both fishing and hunting would be changed to 50% reduction from standard licenses. The basic fishing license would be increased from $9.50 to $13.50. It's our hope that most of this increased revenue from basic fees will go to helping address the many issues with our freshwater fisheries.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Friday? No it's Flyday!

World Fishing Network (WFN) is turning Friday evenings into "Flyday" evenings with a block programming of fly fishing shows.  All times are Central Time.
Sport Fishing On The Fly (6:30 pm)
The New Fly Fisher (7 pm)
Westcoast Sporting Journal (7:30 pm)
The Legacy Experience (8 pm)
Fly Fusion (8:30 pm)
Fly Rod Chronicles (9 pm)
American Fly Guide (9:30 pm)

Click on each show link above to see the episode details for the week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A legend passes away

Lefty at the 2000 Shallow Water Expo
Received an email today with the following forwarded from the family of Lefty Kreh.

Dear friends,

I am sorry to relay sad information to all of you.

Bernard Victor Kreh “Lefty” passed away today in the presence of his family. He passed without pain. He told us multiple times during the worsening of his illness how lucky he was to have so many friends. During these last few weeks he was so sick and without energy that he was unable to respond to any emails and the many phone messages left for him. I can say this was a-great comfort to him.

There will be a celebration of his life in the upcoming weeks. We will update you when plans are made.

Lefty would want us to celebrate life and not mourn him.

Tight Lines, best wishes,

The Kreh Family

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to: Greater Baltimore Medical Center / Gilchrist hospice in honor of Lefty Kreh to Mail to: GBMC Philanthropy, 6701 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21204; or online at (Under “Designation” choose “Other.” Then in the next field, type: “Lefty Kreh Memorial”); or call: 443-849-3303. 

Expected news, but still a very sad day indeed.  We were extremely fortunate to have had Lefty for this many years.  Obviously, there is much more to be shared about the man who contributed more to our sport than any individual in modern times.   Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

What's happening this week 3/11

Please note that with Daylight Savings Time in effect, most clubs will now hold casting practice / instruction prior to the start of their meetings. At least until it gets too hot.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to

Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Family Life Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be warmwater expert Larry Offner. The public is welcome!  For more info, go to

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Social gathering starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:45pm. This month Steve Oliver will be giving a presentation on his trip to Alaska (mostly sightseeing with some fly fishing).  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 1st of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to

Starting on Thursday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the 39th annual Louisiana Sportsmans Show at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The state's largest outdoors show runs 2pm to 9pm on Thursday and Friday, 9am to 9pm on Saturday, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday. For a complete list of exhibitors, activities and seminars, go to

Implications of opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway

Last Monday, the rapid rise of the Mississippi River forced the Corps of Engineers to open 8 bays on the Bonnet Carre Spillway northwest of New Orleans. On Friday, the Corps of Engineers opened up 13 additional bays bringing the total number to 21. With the river expected to hit flood stage (17 feet) on Tuesday, there's some anxiety among lower river residents. The good news is that the river is expected to crest at 17 and begin dropping by next week.

Anytime the spillway is opened, concern arises about impacts on the lake's speckled trout fishery. Yesterday morning on Outdoors With Don Dubuc radio show, Slidell-based guide Mike Gallo pointed out that the plume of freshwater will ride the lake's steering currents along the south end of the lake eastward. This traps the saltier, clearer water on the northeast side of the lake. Eventually the entire lake will become fresh.

Until then, that northeast quadrant will offer some very good trout fishing. Redfish are not impacted as much by freshwater as trout. And the influx of grass shrimp, shad and skipjack could benefit the lake's reds. The influx of nutrients could also benefit the lake's growning striper population. Of course, there's always the danger of massive algae blooms that result in low dissolved oxygen as they die off. But after numerous openings and numerous studies, LDWF has concluded that years after an opening prove to be very beneficial for the lake's fisheries.

More Kayak Demo Days coming!

A few folks who missed all the free kayak demo days held around the state the first weekend of this month have expressed concern. "Will there be more?". The answer is... YES!  In fact, the season was just getting started!

I don't see any listed for the remainder of this month, but a bunch lined up for April and May.  Jot these days and locations down for the one most convenient to you. On April 7, Masseys Outfitters of Baton Rouge will hold one at BREC Wampold Park. Time is 11:00am to 3:00pm. On April 14, Masseys of New Orleans will hold a KDD on Bayou St John near Cabrini Bridge from 10:00am to 2:00pm. On April 21, Ship and Shore will hold one at Prien Lake Park in Lake Charles. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The Backpacker in Baton Rouge and in Lafayette will have demo days during April as well, dates haven't been confirmed yet. But check their Facebook page or call 800-414-4685.

CCA Updates

A few tidbits concerning our friends at the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana

Gulf Council

This past week CCA sent out an alert to members regarding nominations by Governor John Bel Edwards to NOAA for representation on the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council.  The governor's nominations are expected to be made this coming week. CCA sent a list of recommended persons to the governor for consideration.

At the top of the list was Camp Matens. Camp is currently seated on the Council and has done an outstanding job. If appointed, this would be his third and final term. Incidently, Camp is a longtime avid flyfisher and member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers.

Another longtime fly angler is on the CCA list. Jerome Zeringue of Houma, who is also currently a state representative. Other names include George Huye of Baton Rouge, Patrick Fitzmorris of Madisonville, Robert Allain of Jeanerette, Ed Landgraf of Hammond, John Dugas of Lafayette, Charles Caplinger of Slidell, Marc Mouton of Lafayette, and Billy Broussard of Pecan Island.


CCA Louisiana has 29 chapters across the state. Each one has a banquet during the year to raise money for the state and local chapters, as well as conservation projects. The banquets usually kick off this month and continue through June, sometimes later.

In the past, we listed each of the banquets on our Calendar page. But with the number of fly fishing and kayak fishing activities across the state and region growing each year, it is getting tougher to maintain our Calendar. And besides, a congested calendar is counter productive to each activity.

Realizing that CCA Louisiana has a calendar similiar to ours, with all the banquet dates and details listed, we just decided to defer to their calendar at


We're also no longer having a STAR forum on our community board. We used that forum to show weekly standings in the Fly and Kayak Divisions. The problem here is a little different. Since we now use a free hosted forum, we need to keep to the limits of "free".  Besides, we'll have a direct link to the STAR standings page.

Pre-registration for STAR has begun. On Friday, CCA gave out the first of 12 weekly prizes for early registered participants. So it can pay to register now. There's much concern about what happened to the speckled trout during this unusually cold winter. Only a few fish kills were reported, so that means the fish went somewhere. The results of the STAR tournament may provide answers at a time when specks are at the peak of spawning.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Echo introduces Bad Ass Glass Quickshot

When it comes to affordable innovation, Echo has been an industry leader. The Vancouver, Washington based company was founded and is co-owned by casting guru Tim Rajeff, who personally runs every aspect of the business including new product design. The result has been outstanding products that are often rated highly in various "shootouts". In our own hands-on testing, the Echo Ion XL, Echo Base, and other models have been rated a "best buy".

When Echo came out with their Bad Ass Glass fiberglass saltwater rods last year, it put an exclamation point on the fiberglass revival. A 12-weight glass rod? Sure, many of the pioneers of saltwater fly fishing used fiberglass rods to tackle tarpon. But only because graphite wasn't available (or proven). Graphite has been superior, but no longer. The new S-glass (and beyond) rival the power of graphite but with greater "fun factor". The BAG rods have been a huge success for Echo.

With that success, Echo has added a new series of 8-foot models called "Bad Ass Glass Quickshot". Frequent Louisiana Fly Fishing readers know I'm a strong advocate for 8-foot rods, especially for making accurate casts in tight cover to bass. But the Quickshot rods are more than just a shorter rod. They're faster, lighter and more powerful than previous glass offerings. Models range from 6-weight to 10-weight, and are fast action. Price is $279 which is very good for new glass! 

Contraband Fly Casters have a new website

The Lake Charles-based club has a long and storied history, especially when it comes to fly tying. In fact, it's full name is "Contraband Fly Casters, Tom Nixon Chapter" in honor of one of it's most beloved members and a legend in warmwater fly tying. Other renown tiers past and present include realistic tyer Fred Hannie and the late Mark Delaney. The club also has several tiers who are regularly featured at conclaves (fly fishing festivals).

Speaking of conclaves, Contraband has hosted some of the best ever held in Louisiana, featuring legends such as Lefty Kreh, Dave Whitlock and Stu Apte. This July, the club continues that legacy with tier extraordinaire Pat Cohen as headliner for their annual Contraband Fly Fishing Expo. The 2-day event will also feature testing for the FFI Casting Certification program. With the Expo getting loads of attention on Facebook, it's only appropriate that CFC upgrade their website to better market the club and the Expo.  The new URL is Go to their site and bookmark it. And bookmark your calendar for the Contraband Expo on Friday-Saturday, July 13-14. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Mid-week tidbits 3/7

Later this month is the 71st annual New Orleans City Park Fishtival and Big Bass Rodeo, the oldest freshwater tournament in the country.  Divisions include Conventional, Fly, Rio and more.  There's even a kayak tournament on adjacent Bayou St. John (Boats On The Bayou) for both salt and fresh species. It may be a diversified contest, but there's no question that Ol' Bucketmouth is what draws a huge crowd.  And why Monday's catch by Broc Corcoran is all over social media. The 29 year old New Orleans angler caught a 9.3 pound bass in one of the NOCP lagoons using a soft plastic minnow (casting gear).  After he got it weighed and witnessed, he then released it back safely.  Not only is the fish a new NOCP record, but Fishtival participants have a chance to recatch the monster bass.  And to recatch the 8.3 pounder that Broc caught three weeks earlier!  Note to fly anglers: it's not uncommon for the park's big bass to hit flies.  Check out the complete story by Pat Bonin on

This Saturday is the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual Paddlepalooza, but it's also the first day of their members-only CPR contest sponsored by Masseys Outfitters. The "Masseys Fish Pics" tournament runs through next February, a departure from years past when the event ran from January thru November. Masseys really puts up some great prizes for this event. For example, Tyler Drude won this past year's Fly Division (highest total points for longest red, speck and bass) and received a Jackson Mayfly kayak. I finished 3rd and got a Wilderness Systems waterproof crate. It's so nice I'm worried about getting it wet, LOL. Seriously, this tournament is FREE to all BCKFC members. Check out the tournament details at and if you own a kayak, consider joining this great club.

Here's yet another tournament some readers might be interested in - if you love crappie fishing. The 5th annual Crappiefest takes place on March 31st out of Lake Fork. Hosted by the Crappie Anglers of Texas, it's become the largest "Big Crappie" tournament in the country with over 325 participants last year. Why so popular? For starters, it's an individual tournament. Second, there's no restrictions on watercraft. While the vast majority of crappie tournaments forbid the use of paddlecraft, Crappiefest allows you to use kayak, canoe, rubber raft, float tube, whatever! You can even wade or bank fish. Most crappie tournaments also forbid the use of fly tackle. Again, Crappiefest allows any "rod and reel combo". And don't count on veteran anglers to take home most of the winnings. With this event, all you need to win or place is just one (1) big fish.  For more info, go to

On April 7th, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will celebrate the newest addition to their "Get Out and Fish!" community fishing program with a fishing competition. The pond at Southside Regional Park in Youngsville (also known as Fabacher Field) will allow residents of the Lafayette metro area a chance at quality bank fishing. And this winter, a chance for rainbow trout fishing!  Prior to the contest, the pond will be stocked with adult-sized channel catfish. The contest will begin with registration at 6:30am and end at 10:00am. The first 100 kids to register will receive a free goodie bag. There will be fishing activities, demonstrations, and raffles. Also the Kiwanis Club will offer lunch.  For more info, go to

Fishing remains a bit sluggish in north and central Louisiana despite a few nice catches last weekend of big bass and crappie. We're still recovering from 5 to 9 inches of rain a couple weeks back with waters either muddy or a bit milky.  Just yesterday, Cane River opened back up and that will get my attention soon enough. These cool fronts and high pressure have put the fish down a bit, and we still haven't seen the redears bedding up (they usually do this month).  I'm confident if we can avoid the heavy rain the action on bass, crappie and redears will be back to normal within a week or two.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

What's happening this week 3/4

On Monday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

On Thursday, Olde Towne Fly Shop in Slidell will hold their monthly fly tying session at their store on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, there are sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to

This weekend offers two big fly fishing events in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. And the biggest kayak fishing event of Spring at Grand Isle.

Friday evening and Saturday it's the 15th annual Paddlepalooza, the longest-running kayak fishing tournament in the country. It'll be held out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, it kicks off with the Captains Dinner on Friday evening. Saturday is tournament fishing day. After the weigh-in, there's fish fry, awards, and a huge raffle. Entry fee is $60. Onsite registration is available. For entry forms, rules and details, go to

Starting Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the TRWD Fly Fest near Acme Brick Headquarters in Fort Worth. Time is 10:00am to 5:00pm both days. Admission is free. The event is cohosted by the Tarrant Regional Water District and Texas Council of Fly Fishers International (FFI). Seminars, fly tying, casting lessons, cooking demonstrations, live music, kids activities and more. For more info, go to

Starting Saturday and continuing Sunday, it's the 2nd annual Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival at the Plano Center in Plano, TX. Activities include seminars, casting clinics, fly tying, and more. Unique to this event is the series of local microbrewery tasting tickets for each paid admission ages 21 and older. There are also classes and seminars on brewing. Headliners include Jason Randall, Ed Jaworoski, Wanda Taylor, Dave Whitlock, Pat Dorsey, and more. For more info, go to

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic introducing the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. For more info, contact 225-757-7286.

Sunday is the start of Daylight Savings Time. Remember to "spring forward" your clock one hour.