Louisiana Fly Fishing

It's bassin' time. When water temperatures reach 55 to 65 degrees, bass move into the shallows looking for spawning areas. With an unusually cold winter, the lower end of that temperature range will be what to look for this year. Already some bass are clearing out beds in ponds across southeast Louisiana. When the bass do settle in, flycasters have an advantage. Lightweight flies can be tossed into skinny water without spooking fish, and can be moved very slowly thru the water. Keep the fly rod tip at the water... if any strikes come they will be very subtle and line slack will make them unnoticeable. Take a photo, post your report, but please release the females - their eggs are the future!


Fly Of The Month

Bassinator. Okay, so it's really a Briminator, but tied in larger sizes (2-8) it can be deadly on bass. Created by Tony Guzman of Fort Worth, there are many variations of this fly. The most common versions use the fuzzy feather of a pheasant or hen for the tail and the hackle feather of the same bird tied behind the bead-chain eyes. The body is dubbing extracted from the feathers, or animal or synthetic dubbing of your choice. With so many choices for materials and colors, the tier would be wise to tie only a few of each and test each out. Step-by-step instructions can be found on the WarmFly.com forum (search for 'briminator').


Featured Tackle

Ross FlyStik. Just a few years back, bass-rated fly rods were all the rage. These rods had a few things in common: they were all under the 8-foot length restriction defined for BassMaster-operated tournaments; they all had a more moderate action and a taper suited for heavier flies; they all had fighting butts even in the lower 5 and 6-weights. As it turns out, no pro bass anglers have yet converted to using fly rods - even on a partial basis. However these rods do have a strong following, especially among kayak anglers. Now that kayak bass fishing has taken off, expect the popularity of these rods to continue. The Ross FlyStik is where beauty meets brawn meets value. For $179, it comes in 4-piece configurations for 6, 8, and 10-weights. And with a lifetime warranty. For more info, go to www.rossreels.com.



 TIPPETS
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
It's 39 and breezy this morning in the Alexandria area, making for a wind chill below freezing. A freeze warning has been issued tonight for parts of northeast and east central Louisiana, with a frost warning for most areas north of Opelousas. Icepocalypse may be over... somewhat... but we're still dealing with unusual cold. It couldn't happen at a worse time - this week's full moon would be an ideal time to hit big redears that will be spawning. If you read my column in this month's Louisiana Sportsman ("Shellcracking the Code"), you'd know that for anyone seeking a state fly rod record for chiquapin, aka shellcrackers, aka redears, this moon is the time to do it. How will this record-breaking cold affect the spawn? Your guess is as good as mine.

Registration has begun for Destination Texas Fly Fishing Expo. This is the first "conclave" held by the newly formed Texas Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF). It will take place June 12-14, Thursday-Saturday, at the Civic Center in New Braunfels. Same exact location that the IFFF Gulf Coast Council held it's most successful and popular conclave. In addition to great local attractions, food, and fishing opportunities, New Braunfels is a short drive to San Antonio with it's numerous attractions, such as The Alamo and Seaworld. The Expo itself offers a wide array of programs, workshops, fly tying demonstrations, numerous vendors, casting clinics, and much more. Thursday will kick things off with casting instructor workshops and CCI qualification testing. Friday kicks off the full activities. The tying workshops include sessions with Fred Hannie, Fred Dupre, Bruce Sublett, Mike George and others. Casting sessions cover beginner to saltwater, taught by CCIs such as Mike Hawkins, Diane Blair, Stacy Lynn and others. Seminar speakers include Lefty Ray Chapa, Billy Trimble, Rob Woodruff, and many others. In addition to the usual activities, there's a Women's Breakfast on Friday morning, the Fly Fishing Film Tour on Friday evening, a Youth Breakfast on Saturday morning, and the Awards Banquet on Saturday evening. For more details, or to register, go to www.txflyfishexpo.com.

Speaking of IFFF, our good friend Ms. Pat Smith will be inducted into the Trout Nature Center Hall of Fame on April 26 on the campus of Arkansas State University - Mountain Home. As such she will join the ranks of other TNC-HOF members such as Dave Whitlock, Joan Wulff, Forrest Wood, Steve Wilson, Tom Schumuecker and others. A darn good group to be with! Fellow FFFers may know that Pat was past managing director of the IFFF Southern Council and very active in other organizations such as Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and Trout Nature Center Task Force. She has also been an active force in her local club, the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, which put on the Sowbug Roundup, the largest club conclave in the country. Pat was very instrumental in helping Buzzy Burns and myself help put together the organizational aspects of the Gulf Coast Council during it's formative period, and getting it recognized by the Federation. She's also been a great ambassador to our sport. For all this, we say "You Go, Girl!" and congratulate Pat on this great honor.

Monday, April 14, 2014
What's happening this week. The week before Easter Sunday is always a quiet one... on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Tuesday is Federal Tax Day. Arguably the worst day of the year. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Special guest speaker will be Ben "Fishtaco" Roussel, member of the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team, who will talk on Sight Fishing For Reds. Ben has been very active in both kayak tournaments and the flyfishing community, successful in both, and his website and videos have received national recognition. Should be a great time. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the CCA Livingston Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Forest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs. Doors open at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. For more info, contact Julie Grunewald at julie@ccalouisiana.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch on Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Erik Dilts and Frank Harmon will be teaching knots and rigging for fly fishing. The workshop is free and open to the public. On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" workshops. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. This 1-day, 2-hour clinic covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Once instruction is completed, attendees will receive in-store savings as well as free electronic membership to the FFF. The clinic is free, but registration is required as class size is limited. For more info, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

HB 1082 would increase saltwater license fee from $5.50 to $13.00 if passed. The bill is being sponsored by Representative Stuart Bishop of Lafayette, and has the support of CCA-Louisiana. The bill would take the increase of $7.50 per saltwater license and deposit it into a special fund - the Saltwater Fish Research and Conservation Fund. That fund would be used for the newly implemented Louisiana Recreational Creel Survey. On WWL radio program, "The Think Tank", last Friday, acting host Don Dubuc interviewed LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina and CCA Executive Director David Cresson. Pausina explained that the reason for this new funding is because Louisiana will no longer participate in a federal program which provided LDWF with the monies for surveys, but at the same time, didn't allow Louisiana to receive any of the information it provided. Pausina also went on to say that his staff could do a much better job without federal oversight, and could give fisheries managers the data they need to manage for optimal fishing. The immediate reaction has been that a majority of coastal anglers oppose the increase, and Dubuc believes (and most of us agree) that it's a trust issue. So-called "dedicated funds" have been usurped by the Jindal Administration to help balance the general fund. What guarantee would we have that this new fund wouldn't be raided as well? Cresson went on to say that the bill has specific wording to prevent that, but even so, there is an existing law which allows the state to take up to 15-percent of any unused monies in a given year. Cresson stated that the solution to that problem is to spend all the money collected for that year. How do we feel about the proposed increase? Given that it will allow LDWF to no longer deal with incompetent federal agencies, AND give our fisheries managers the data we need, we support it 100 percent... provided the language of the bill makes it "Jindal proof".

Another hot issue that CCA is involved with. If you go to www.ccalouisiana.com (or click on the link on the right column of this page), you'll find a number of topics involving red snapper. FYI, the latest in this debacle - the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has set the 2014 recreational red snapper season in federal waters to just 11 days, the shortest season in history. This is the outcome of a federal district court ruling where the Environmental Defense Fund and a group of commercial snapper fishermen sought mitigation for overharvest by recreational anglers the last several seasons. Realize that an overharvest can occur because everything is based on estimates. And even then, the "over" is only a small percentage of the total. Doesn't matter to the feds, though. What was expected to a 40-day season has been cut to near nothing. CCA argues - as does just about everyone that fishes red snapper - that the resource is plentiful... almost to the point of being a nuisance. Of course, as it was with alligators and cormorants, the feds have a hard time accepting that a species has recovered. Nobody is requesting that we go back to the bad old days of loading up boats with red snapper. In fact, CCA would like to keep the 2-fish limit but just expand the number of days season. Oddly, this ruling comes just weeks after a commission on saltwater recreational fisheries management spoke to Congress in favor of revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act that would give better data and give greater leverage to recreational anglers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Christy Graham, biologist with Arkansas Fish and Game Commission, who will present on trout management in Arkansas tailwaters. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Acadiana Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner, open bar and more. For more info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Time and ticket prices same as the Acadiana event. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For more details, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448. Starting Friday evening and the main event on Saturday, it's Paddlepalooza XI kayak fishing tournament out of Leeville. More on that later. Also starting Friday evening with the main event on Saturday, it's the 5th annual Caddo Conclave. More on that later. Also starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual spring trip to Lake Concordia for bass, bream, catfish, stripers and whatever else will eat flies. Culminates with the fish fry on Saturday evening. For more details, go to www.rsff.org.

There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! There are 3 "majors" held each year in Louisiana, with respect to kayak tournaments. That's almost half of all major tournaments in the USA. The largest is "Ride the Bull", also the largest kayak tournament in the country. P-Palooza may not be as big, but last year's record participation of 262 place it in the top four as well. Why so popular? Low entry fee ($50), with each participant treated to two meals (Friday night jambalaya and Saturday night fish fry), along with captain's bag, t-shirt, and chance at over 200 raffle prizes. And yes, a chance to win a kayak or cash prizes by catching a "Cajun Slam" - combination of largest slot red, speckled trout and flounder. There's individual species awards as well as Ladies and Youth divisions. In addition to all that, it's an event with great comradery, and a chance to share and learn rigging and fishing tips and techniques. A portion of the net proceeds go to charity as well. It's not too late to enter. For details, go to www.bckfc.org.

The Caddo Conclave this weekend takes place at beautiful Caddo Lake State Park in Karnack, Texas, just over the border on the Texas side of Caddo Lake. In fact, your Louisiana fishing license is good at CLSP. Co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and East Texas Fly Fishers, this event is a bit more informal than some club conclaves. For example, Friday is a fishing day, with a pot luck supper that evening. On Saturday, breakfast is provided by the NLFF club, and lunch is provided by the East Texas Fly Fishers. Like most conclaves, there's fly tying demos, vendor tables, and presentations. This year's presentations include "51 Best Places to Fish in the Ark-La-Tex", "UV Light: Why it is important and how to use it in your flies", "Epic Fly Fishing Overnight Trout Fishing", and "Ideal Warmwater Flies for Bass and Panfish". Also, TFO will be on hand as well as Jackson's Kayak Team so folks can demo TFO rods and Jackson kayaks. Registration is $10 per person, or $20 per family. For more info, contact Mike Hawkins at 903-736-1887.

If you enjoy World Fishing Network then good news! WFN is having free preview in April on all cable and satellite services. There are a number of good fly fishing shows on WFN, and the new kayak fishing show with host Jim Sammons is being heavily promoted as it premiers this month.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
What's happening this week (belated version). On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders host their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Meeting time is 6:30pm with casting prior at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Livingston Chapter hosts it's Spring Fishing Seminar at Aqua Marine in Denham Springs. Time is 6:00pm. There is a $5 donation requested, with women and kids free. Food and beverages provided. Speakers include captains Dudley Vandenborre, Frank Dreher, Steve Shook, Vern Ledoux, and Greg Schlumbrecht. For more info, contact Nolan Reynerson at 225-952-9200. On Wednesday, the Baton Rouge CCA Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Parker Coliseum on the campus of LSU. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes, and more. Also on Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod in Old Mandeville. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the CCA Plaquemines Chapter holds their annual banquet at Belle Chasse Auditorium in Belle Chasse. Time is 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, and more. On Saturday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at the LDWF Woodworth Outdoors Center in Woodworth. Time is 8:30am to 12:30pm. There is no cost, and registration can be done prior to the event. Hands-on topics include tackle and other equipment, knots and leaders, and casting basics. For more info, contact Catch Cormier at 318-793-5855. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" course. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. There is no fee, but registration is required as class size is limited. The 201 course is designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Along with a few more casting techniques to improve your chances of catching fish. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. On Sunday, Baton Rouge Recreation (BREC) will host a "Kayak Fishing Clinic" at it's Greenwood Park in Baker. Time is 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Cost is $5 per person. Members of the Hobie Fishing Team will present tips and guidance for fishing, including on-the-water paddling demos. Ages 8 and older only. For more info, call 225-272-9200 extension 435.

Congrats to Gale Rhodes who won the New Orleans City Park Bass Rodeo and Fishtival "Fly Fishing Division" on Saturday with a 1.94-pound bass. Other winners included Robert Meyers in the Adult Bass with a 5.48, Joseph Finger in the Youth Bass with a 4.59 fish, and Team Stop, Drop and Reel with a total of 0.64 pounds in the Rio Grande Division. That low a weight tells me that we may have had a cold kill this winter or the appearance of the rios has been delayed because water temperatures remain below normal. New this year, the "Boats on the Bayou" was a kayak tournament on Bayou St. John with live weigh-in. The division drew 89 participants. Winners were Steve Neece with a 1.57-pound speckled trout, Ian Wiggins with a 3.42-pound bass, and Joseph Grande (no relation to Rio) with a .25 bream.

The state of California has determined that tying flies can lead to cancer. If you tie flies, you often get discouraged. When you get discouraged, you take up smoking. When you smoke, you get cancer. Don't get cancer, quit tying flies! By the way, it's April 1st!

Grand Isle Tsunami? This is no April Fools joke... According to an article in NOLA.com, researchers at the National Weather Service predict that if part of the edge of the Mississippi Canyon sloughed off into it's depths, it would send a wall of water 15 feet high across Grand Isle. And unlike a hurricane, residents and visitors would only have an hour's notice. The good news is that this event occurs only about every 1,000 years. The bad news is that we're due. But as long as the trout are biting, who cares?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Decisions, decisions. Fishing is exploding all over Louisiana right now. Reports of big bass are coming out daily here in the Cenla area, and further south in Laccasine. Last weekend's Redfish Rumble had a bass component to the "stringer" weigh-in, and there was no difficulty in finding or catching bass around Delacroix. There was no difficulty in catching redfish either... at least for some. Oddly, some good catches of speckled trout were caught around Delacroix - even with all the river water pouring in. Hopedale fared better on specks. Good catches of specks on topwater also came from Golden Meadow, Leeville, Pointe-aux-Chenes and Dularge. Out west, the same was true for Big Lake, with even kayakers doing nice stringers in Prien and Charles. Complicating the decision process as to where or what to fish... sacalait have moved into the shallows at Saline-Larto, Toledo Bend, and Chicot. And there's been hot white bass action on the upper Sabine near Logansport. Did we mention that chinquapin are biting good in Lake Bouef and Millers Lake. I've been catching more and more each day on Cotile fishing only an hour here and an hour there (still too busy to get a solid trip in... maybe next week). Whatever "decision" you make, there's little chance it'll be a bad one.

Add Orvis Fly Fishing 101 and Backpacker Boat and Tent Show to the list of activities this weekend. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge will hold another of their free "Fly Fishing 101" classes. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Registration is required, as class size is limited. No worry if the class is full, the class will repeat itself on April 19, April 26, May 10, and May 31. Also, the store is offering "Fly Fishing 201" classes on April 5, April 26, May 17, and June 7. All classes are 8:00am to 10:00am, except on April 26th when the FF101 class will be from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. As stated, all these classes are free. For more info, or to register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday and continuing Sunday, The Backpacker will hold their annual "Tent and Boat Show" at both locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. On Sunday, Backpacker in Baton Rouge will do a free workshop on "GoPro Video Editing 101" conducted by Tyler Hicks. Time is 11:00am to 1:00pm. Among the topics are preparing your GoPro, how to use the app, how to capture great footage, how to use GoPro Studio editing and template and more. For more info, go to www.geargut.com or email Tyler at tylerh@skibackpacker.com.

Last weekend's Sowbug Roundup had a special guest. Sowbug is held annually in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and is hosted by the North Arkanss Fly Fishers. It's the largest club conclave in the country, running 3 days and featuring over 130 tiers, numerous presentors and nearly 50 exhibitors. Many of the best tiers in the South and from around the country come to this event. However, this year the tier getting the most attention was one who hasn't been to Sowbug before. In fact, he's only been tying for less than a year! That's because Tradd Little is only 11 years old. In fly tying, like in music or art, child prodigies are often the subject of intense interest - and scrutiny. But in the short time he's been tying, he's mastered nymph patterns. According to an article in the Baxter Bulletin, Tradd lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and his patterns - neither of whom are big into fishing - brought him to Sowbug upon recommendation from folks at Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee. We expect to see Tradd again either at the FFF Southeastern Fly Fishing Expo in May or back in Mountain Home for the Southern Conclave in October.

Sunday, March 23, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. For the program, Catch Cormier will talk about "Fluff Butts and How to Fish Them". The public is invited. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Orvis in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The session is open to the public. Bring your tools, materials provided. If no tools, the club has some to use during the session. On Tuesday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will host a free "Fly Fishing 101" seminar by Keith Richard. Time is 6:00pm. Keith is an FFF Master-certified casting instructor, and owner of The Camp Fly Fishing School. He will cover topics from tackle selection to local fishing spots and what flies to use. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Tuesday, the Northshore Chapter of CCA will hold a "Spring Fishing Seminar" at Tchefuncta Country Club in Covington. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speakers include Capt. Peace Marvel, Capt. Mike Gallo, Keith Lucher of The Advocate, Jimmy Fisackerly of Boat Stuf, and Lyle St. Romain of Sea-Trac Offshore Services. Food and drinks provided. Admission is free for CCA members, $5 for non-members. For more info, contact Ryan Guerin at ryan@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. There should be lots of good fishing reports. The public is invited. Also on Thursday, the CCA Felicianas Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the American Legion Hall in Clinton. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Cost is $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes dinner, 1-year membership, open bar, and chance at raffles and door prizes. For more info, contact Julie Grunewald at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the 67th annual New Orleans City Park - Big Bass Fishing Rodeo and Fishtival. The longest-running tournament in the United States. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Masseys Outfitters in Mid-City New Orleans will hold a free "Paddle Demo Day" on Bayou St. John at 1400 Moss Street in New Orleans. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards from Bote, Hobie, Native, Heritage, Jackson, Wilderness, Perception, Dagger, Feelfree and more. For more info, call 800-754-7467.

The 67th annual NOCP Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival this Saturday will again feature a Fly Rod Division... and a new "Boats on the Bayou" kayak fishing division! That's in addition to the Spincast Bass, Junior Angler, and Rio Grande Team divisions. For the Fly Rod division, registration begins at 6:00am, with fishing allowed at 6:30am, and final weigh-in at 11:00am. Entry fee is $10 adults, $5 for 12 and under. For the "Boats on the Bayou", a total of 100 kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized vessels will be allowed to fish on Bayou St. John for four categories: bass, redfish, trout, and "trashbash" (other species). There's also a "Red Tag Special" that will offer prizes to up to 3 registered anglers who bring in the heaviest cumulative weight of tagged reds, with 1st place prize a Hobie Quest 13 kayak. This is a LIVE WEIGH-IN event... you must bring your fish in to one of several weigh stations on Bayou St. John. Fishing begins at 7:00am and ends at 10:30am. Registration is online only, and only 100 boats will be allowed. Entry fee is $15 and a signed waiver must be included. Also, registration for BOTB ends on Friday, March 28. So for you puddlers interested in this event, don't wait... time and numbers are getting short.

Thursday, March 20, 2014
LA On The Fly is the title of a new column by our good friend Larry Offner in The Angler - Bayou Edition magazine. The first LAOTF appeared in the February edition, where Larry introduced himself and his background in fishing and fly fishing. Larry is owner of Green Trout Fly Shop in Baton Rouge and of WarmFly.com, the largest website dedicated to warmwater fly fishing. As well as a frequent contributor to our forum here on laflyfish.com. Also, if you go to their website at www.coastalanglermag.com, you'll find a blog by another of our frequent forum members, Dustin Schouest. It's called "Have Yak, Will Travel". The Angler magazine - along with it's sister Coastal Angler magazine - has been growing rapidly in distribution the last couple of years. Rather than print a high-gloss publication with a monthly mailing, the publishers decided to pattern after weekly local tabloids that have filled the void in countless areas where traditional newspapers have either folded or become subsidiary to a national news service. Publications are printed on newspaper type and placed at coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses. This strategy worked so well for Coastal Angler, they decided to branch out to freshwater markets. Hence the name "The Angler". There are local columnists - such as Larry, Dustin, Bayou Coast club's Casey Bruning, and John Williams of Pack and Paddle - to supplement national columnists such as Boyd Pfeiffer and Conway Bowman (who also does a fly fishing column). To get a list of locations, and even read the current issue online, go to www.coastalanglermag.com, and click on the location nearest you (in this case, New Orleans) and it will take you to that location's webpage.

Big bass on the beds! You may have seen my post from yesterday on fishing Lake Valentine where I caught a 2.75 and a 3.75 using Boogle Bugs. Those were small bass compared to what some guy caught there over the weekend. He kept his fish and I saw the photo. He claims it was 10 pounds, and I'll guarantee it certainly wasn't less than 8! Of course, the boat guys can't fish Valentine so they've been hitting Cotile, Kincaid, Iatt, Indian Creek and Toledo Bend. None of the other lakes is producing double-digit bass like The Bend (almost insane numbers, at that). But two 6-pounders from Cotile and a five-fish tournament stringer from Kincaid that weighed in over 25 pounds - anchored by a 7.3 - and a lot of Cenla bass anglers are calling in sick these days, lol. A trip to Iatt last Tuesday and I saw the most boats I'd ever seen there, probably 15. For a lake that the biologists call "sterile" (it has only 17 pounds per acre) it has managed to produce several fish over 8 pounds in the last two weeks. My fly list for these monster bass? Poppers, divers or low-weighted flies that can be stripped slowly and with lots of action. Magnum woolybuggers, Dahlberg Divers, Seaducers, Bass Bullies, crawfish-colored Sqwirm Worms... well, you get the picture!

Monday, March 17, 2014
What's happening this week. With two meetings from last week rescheduled to this week, it's a busy one. On Tuesday the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their rescheduled March meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will do a brief presentation on casting principles followed by a video on "Casting Faults and Fixes" by Mel Krieger. Also on Tuesday the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Church Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: update on their CPR tournament, recap of the Marsh Madness Event, tackle tips and reports. Guests are welcome. Starting Thursday and continuing Saturday, it's the 17th annual "Sowbug Roundup" at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Sowbug is the largest club "conclave" in the country featuring seminars, dozens of fly tiers, vendors and much more. Hours are 9am to 4pm each day. For more info, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly "club workshop" at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Erik Dilts will demonstrate a couple of crab patterns. The public is welcome. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying at Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For more details, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Kayaking 101" covering basic skills of flatwater paddling. Cost is $40 per person, and includes instruction, use of kayak, paddle, PFD. Class size is limited, so registration is required. Check their website at www.packpaddle.com for reservations. Also on Thursday, the CCA Westbank Chapter will hold their annual banquet at Four Columns Hall in Harvey. Doors open at 6:00pm, with dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:30pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar, more. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. Starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers' annual "March Brown" trip to the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas. For more info, go to their website at www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's 7th annual "Redfish Rumble" with boundary waters in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish east of the Mississippi River. Entry fee is only $20. Prizes to heaviest stringer of 5 slot reds and 1 bass. This tournament is open to the public. For rules and to register, go to www.bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying workshop. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. This month, Randy Polk will be show the process of making jigs from the melting and pouring of the lead, powder coating the jig heads, and tying on the materials. Bring your basic tools with you, they will provide the materials.

Sunday, March 9, 2014
What's happening this week. A busy one... on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior to the meeting. CCFC member and FFF Certified Casting Instructor Glen Cormier will give a short overview of flycasting principles, followed by a video by Mel Krieger on "Casting Faults and Fixes". The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This is their annual "Chili and Flies" meeting. Club members will be cooking up their favorite chili and there will also be a fly tying contest. Also on the agenda: fishing reports and their upcoming Caddo Conclave on April 12. On Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Special guest speaker will be Capt. Dudley Vandenborre. Also on the agenda: Paddlepalooza XI (April 12) and new club items. Also on Thursday, the Monroe Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at the Monroe Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact Rad Trascher at rad@ccalouisiana.com. Also on Thursday, the Acadiana Chapter of CCA will hold a "Spring Fishing Seminar" at Service Chevrolet on Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Admission is free, and food and beverages will be provided. Guest speakers and guides will be presenting. For more info, contact Ryan Reaux at reauxconst@aol.com. Also on Thursday, it's the start of the 35th annual Louisiana Sportsmen's Show, now operated by Louisiana Sportsman magazine. It's the Granddaddy of Louisiana outdoor shows, with hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, and much more. Times are 2pm to 9pm Thursday and Friday, 9am to 9pm on Saturday, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday. The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will have a booth. On Saturday, it's the 28th annual Acadiana Conclave. More on that later. On Sunday, the LSU Union Leisure Education has a course in "Craftsman Fly Tying". Time is 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Location is Turead Hall on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge. This course will be taught by Greg Brignac and covers introductory to intermediate tying principles. Registration is required as seats are limited. Cost is $113 with discounts for members and students. For more info, go to LSU Union Leisure Education.

This Saturday's Acadiana Conclave is the granddaddy of Louisiana fly fishing events, now in it's 28th year. Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders, it will be held once again at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall at 518 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 9:00am to 2:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. Special guest will be Norm Crisp, owner and head guide of Streamside Adventures in Missouri. Also giving programs will be Ron Begnaud (How to catch BIG redfish) and Marc Pinsel (Fly rods and lines tutorial). Tiers from across Louisiana and Texas will be demoing their patterns throughout the day. There is also a chili dog lunch available for $5, and silent auction on various items, including one-of-a-kind items and custom flies. But what makes the Acadiana Conclave special is the emphasis on casting. Whether it's casting demos, instruction, or occasionally games, the club has the highest number of FFF-CCI instructors in Louisiana, and most with Master level status. Any issues you have with casting, they can help. Hpe to see many of you there on Saturday. For a complete schedule of events, as well as presenters and tiers list, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.com or check our Forum page for the 2014 Acadiana Conclave Leaflet.

The D'arbonne Kayak Club in northeast Louisiana has been somewhat of a hybridized recreational/fishing club, but up until now has not held a tournament. That's about to change. DKC has announced their first-ever kayak fishing tournament to be held on Lake D'Arbonne sometime in June. Preceeding that event, the club is co-hosting a kayak fishing forum at the Union Parish Library in Farmerville on Friday, April 25. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speaker will be Adam Harbuck, a member of the Wilderness Systems Pro-Staff. For more info, email darbonnekayakclub@gmail.com.

Finally... Spring! In Louisiana, the weather seasons typically preceed the celestial seasons by two weeks. For example, early June is more like summer than spring; mid-September is more like fall (less humidity, at least) than summer. And so on. By the second full week of March - which begins today - we see trees budding and flowers blooming everywhere, especially in southern parishes. Well things are delayed this year following another unusually cold February and one of the coldest first weeks of March on record (including sneaux and sleet on consecutive days in northern parishes). In fact, in the Alexandria area this past week, it remained below 45 degrees from Sunday evening until Friday noon. The normal low is 51 degrees! But mild days may have settled in at last... the Shreveport area may see lows in the upper 30s on Wednesday night, but other than that, it's all 60s and 70s for the next 10 days. At the Red Stick Conclave yesterday, the water temperature on the Waddill Lakes was back up in the low 50s, but bass were building beds. We could well see big catches of sacalait and bass this week, as well as some early season speckled trout.

Lefty Kreh to be honored by Texas CCA. On April 17, the Dallas Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) will hold their 33rd annual fundraiser. On hand will be their special guest, fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. At 87 years young, Lefty is still going around the country, doing seminars or giving casting instruction or designing rods for TFO. And yes, often fishing. Lefty has taught thousands to cast. With one exception. "I can teach anyone to cast a fly as long as she's not my wife". Lefty will receive the CCA's Conservation Sportsman of the Year Award. Another honor for a man who has had so many honors - and all very well-deserved.

Speaking of CCA... the Louisiana CCA has begun registration for their 2014 STAR tournament. This year marks it's 20th anniversary. I'm told that nearly all the divisions will remain as is, but there could be a few new wrinkles. To promote early registration, CCA-LA is doing Early Bird Drawings starting from Week 12 on down (12 weeks to Memorial Day kickoff). This past Friday the first drawing was conducted, and Bill Myrick III of Baton Rouge won a 20 quart K2 Cooler. For more info about CCA STAR, or to register, go to www.ccastar.com.

Sunday, March 2, 2014
What's happening this week. This Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, chickee la pas, run away, ha ha ha. Enjoy the parades, king cakes, and cold beer (or chocolate if you're a woman) before Lent begins! Because of Mardi Gras - and their annual conclave next week - the Acadiana Fly Rodders meeting normally on first Tuesday is cancelled for this month. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Social begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their 22nd annual "Red Stick Day" conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle hold their annual "Spring Canoe and Kayak Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond on Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Unlike their smaller demos, this one will feature all series of boats P&P carries, with manufacturer reps on hand to discuss their boats. It's free, and deals will be offered on selected boats. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Saturday, Texas Parks and Wildlife will hold their annual "Fly Fish Texas" at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Programs, fly tying demos, and on-site fishing and it's free with park admission. For more info, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us. Also on Saturday, the Bodcau Purrin Hens will hold their annual "Women in the Outdoors" at Bayou Bodcau Reservoir. WITO events feature one-hour sessions covering a wide range of outdoor skills, which each attendee can choose from. For more info, contact Belinda Prudhome at 318-469-7114. On Sunday, it's the start of Daylight Savings Time... more time to fish after work!

Saturday is Red Stick Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers annual conclave - a celebration of fly fishing - features programs, fly tying demos, casting demos, beginners' sessions, and more. Time is 8:30am to 4:00pm. Location is the LDWF Waddill Outdoors Center on Flannery Road in Baton Rouge. It's free, and open to the public, and families are welcome. There's free refreshments, and a $7 jambalaya lunch will be available. Guest speakers this year include Tom Jindra, Pete Cooper Jr, Richard Evans, Larry Offner, and Roger del Rio. To help defray the costs - and to raise money for their charities and projects - the RSFF club holds one of the largest raffles of any conclave I've ever seen... even at the national level! But the real feature of this event that makes it special is the on-site fishing and kayak demos, thanks to the Waddill ponds. Backpacker will be on site at the East Pond from 11:00am to 1:00pm with a selection of their top fishing kayaks for on-the-water demos. Fishing will be all day on the West Pond. Last year, the bass were bedding hard and treating many of the attendees who put their flies to the test. This year may not be as easy... more on that later.

In like a lion, out like a lamb. This year, March is coming in more like a polar bear. Forget the brief warm spell we had yesterday... Iceapocalypse is coming back... yet another polar vortex will descend into our state today... get this... bringing a chance of freezing rain and sleet tonight and again on Tuesday across north and a few parts of central Louisiana. The lower parishes will be spared from the coldest blast, with lows only in the 30s and 40s. However, this can't be good for any chances of bass moving to the spawning beds... or prospects for an early run bream or speckled trout run.

Astream: American Writers on Fly Fishing is the title of a new book featuring a collection of stories from 31 writers including Thomas McGuane, Ted Leeson, Nick Lyons, Le Anne Schreiber, Russell Chatham, and many others - including Michael Keaton. The 382 pages comes in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback. The few reviews so far (7 total) on Amazon.com are very positive, with one reviewer saying it's the "best compilation of fishing stories I had ever read". A "look inside" using the Amazon feature was enough to convince me this will be on many Father's Day lists.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Bass Pro in Bossier will hold a Kayak Fishing 101 seminar tonight featuring Ty Southerland of 30 Miles Out internet TV. Time is 7:00pm. Admission is free. Also on the agenda is Bill Rodriguez of Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club. BPC just completed their first tournament of the year, a CPR Bass tournament on Lake Caroline that raised several hundred dollars for Heroes on the Water.

Registration for Paddlepalooza XI is now up on the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club website. PP11 is set for Saturday, April 12, with the Friday evening Captains Dinner and weigh-in and awards activity at Bobby Lynn's Marina. Paddlepalooza is the largest tournament of the year for the BCKFC club, and last year, was one of the four largest kayak fishing tournaments in the country with over 260 participants. The format for this year remains the same... the 3-fish Cajun Slam gets top prizes (1 slot red, 1 speck, 1 flounder), along with individual species, Leopard Red (most spots), Ladies Slam, and a free Kids Slam Division. Registration is $50 and includes two meals, t-shirt, Captains bag, and chance at numerous prizes. In addition, a portion of the proceeds go to charity. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

LDWF will be stocking fewer, but larger bass fingerlings this spring. According to Mike Wood, Inland Fisheries Director, the 2-inch juvenile Florida-strain largemouths have about 10 times greater survival than the standard 3/4-inch fingerlings previously stocked. Over 2.5 million fingerlings are hoped to be stocked. Highest priority locations for 2014 include Lake Bruin, Bundicks Lake, Lake Nantachie, False River, Caddo Lake, James Bayou, Eunice City Lake, and Toledo Bend. Other waters high on the list are Lake D'arbonne, Laccassine Pool, and Cross Lake.

Ol' Man Winter still here. Normally I put my garden plants in the ground the last week of February. Occasionally I have to cover them up from frost once or twice after that. This year I'm having to wait. Having moved to the central part of the state might seem part of the problem, but even south Louisiana will see freezing or near-freezing temperatures tonight and again early next week. How is this continued cold affecting fish? Redfish, not much. But other species seem "late". With the notable exception of a run of trophy-sized bass caught at Toledo Bend recently. Last week I mentioned that fly anglers can learn something from BassMasters Classic. Randy Howell's unbelievable surge on the final day is a prime example. Howell caught numerous bass early on the final day by fishing rock riprap along a causeway bridge. The rocks absorb and transmit heat, attracting baitfish from the cold water. Where baitfish go, predators go. Look for those areas, particularly on northern shorelines, where structures or bottoms can absorb sunlight.

Speaking of tournament fishing... the most recent rankings of the Association of Collegiate Anglers is out. The ACA is the bass fishing equivalent of the NCAA (college bass fishing and kayak fishing are organized as clubs as opposed to athletic teams). The University of North Alabama and Auburn continue as numbers 1 and 2, respectively. But shooting up to the number 3 ranking is the defending national champion, the University of Louisiana-Monroe. On the College Kayak Fishing front, in the Salt Series, LSU team 2 and LSU team 3 are currently standing at #4 and #5, with Eckerd College team 1 surprisingly in first place. LSU team 3 was last year's Salt Series National Champion. The CKF Bass Series begins in full in two weeks, with University of Tennessee currently ranked in 1st place. We'll be pulling for another Louisiana sweep in 2014 by all our college fishing teams.

Sunday, February 23, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda, fishing reports and upcoming events including the FAFF 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament set for May 10th at Lamar-Dixon. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be John Williams of Pack and Paddle, who will give a presentation on "Kayak Fishing". Also on the agenda: fishing reports and tackle tip. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly "4th Monday Tying Clinic" at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome, tools and materials can be provided. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank building on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Kayak Fishing 101 - Saltwater Basics" seminar at their store on 601 E. Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Cost is free. The seminar will cover choosing a kayak, a tackle system, anchoring, reading tides and water, safety and five great saltwater spots within 2 hours of Lafayette. On Friday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will host the "2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour" at their store in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The F3T features the best independent fly fishing films of the past year. Tickets are $13 - cash or check only. All proceeds will go to Project Healing Waters. There will also be lots of great door prizes and a very affordable cash bar. For details, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. On Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will host a "Fishing Louisiana Offshore" seminar featuring Capt. Tommy Pellegrin. Time is 1:00pm. There is no cost. The seminar repeats on Sunday at 1:00pm.

Two potential IGFA fly records caught in Louisiana waters are currently pending approval. The first was a 33lb-0oz red drum caught on 2kg (4 lb) tippet by Robert Cunningham, Jr. while fishing with guide Bo Meador, Jr. Cunningham, who holds multiple IGFA records, had to fight the fish for 30 minutes to get it safely to the boat. Once measured, weighed, and documented, the redfish was released alive. If approved, it will best the current record of 29lb-0oz. The second pending fly record was a 34lb-6oz black drum caught by Japanese angler Ikuko Sakagawa. Ms. Sakagawa landed the fish while guided by Capt. Tristan Daire. If approved, it will be the new women's 10kg (20 lb) tippet class fly record... and only a pound heavier than the current record. Congratulations to both anglers!

Cold-tolerant weevils? Brazilian weevils are the natural predator of giant salvania, an invasive plant that has ravaged a number of lakes and backwaters in Louisiana. For years, researchers have attempted to use the weevils in place of costly chemical applications. But the weevils aren't as cold-tolerant as the plants. For that reason, parts of northwest Louisiana remain the hardest hit by salvania. Recently, LSU Ag researchers found a colony of weevils on Cross Lake that survived the extremely low temperatures from last month. It's hoped that by breeding these cold survivors, the weevils will be able to withstand cold and establish a permanent, reproducing domicile on north Louisiana waters.

Old Man Winter has some left. Fortunately the cold front coming thru later this week will only bring freezing temperatures for one night across most of Louisiana, and just barely below freezing at that. This past week the swamp maples were in bloom, another sign that Spring will soon be here!

Friday, February 21, 2014
Today begins the 2014 BassMaster Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. The "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing" isn't all that popular among flycasters, but the results of this - and any tournament - tell us a lot about bass and their behavior. Louisiana only has one qualifier: that's Cliff "Cajun Baby" Crochet from Pierre Part. We'll be pulling for Cliff and hoping he can beat the Bama boys!

Bob Popovics joins the TFO Advisory Staff. According to a press release from Angling Trade, Bob Popovics has agreed to be involved in the design of TFO rods and related products. For the past 40 years, Popovics has been at the forefront of saltwater fly fishing and fly tying. In the late 70s, he introduced the Surf Candy patterns, and later co-authored "Pop Fleyes" with Ed Jaworowski. Popovics was featured at two of the FFF Gulf Coast Council events, and demonstrated both fly tying and fly casting.

Orvis of Baton Rouge is planning several events in the months ahead. They will continue to be offering their Fly Fishing 101 and 201 classes, as well as a few Advanced Fly Tying classes. Also, the end of April will feature their "Spring Days" culminating with a Saturday featuring guest speakers, tiers, and other happenings. Also, the "Fly Fishing Film Tour" will be held at Orvis next Friday, February 28th. If you haven't got tickets, there's some remaining. Great videos, lots of door prizes and an affordable cash bar!

Dick Cabela passed away this Tuesday. He was 77. Richard Cabela was co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Cabelas, Inc. Dick, his wife Mary and Jim, cofounded the giant retailer from humble beginnings - it started as a mail-order business for hand-tied flies. Today it's a 3.6 billion company with over 50 stores in the United States and Canada. Throughout it's rise, Cabelas has remained true to it's mail order roots, and also to fly fishing. It remains the largest retailer of fly fishing tackle and accessories in the world, with numerous house brand products that emphasize quality at a bargain price.

Monday, February 17, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their February meeting - rescheduled from last week - at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Casting prior to the meeting around 6:00pm, with meeting starting at 6:30pm. Several members will demonstrate their favorite flies. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Bud Bethea will be tying the Lefty's Deceiver, a great saltwater pattern. Visitors are encouraged. Starting Friday it's the BassMasters Classic on Alabama's Lake Guntersville. The Classic Expo will be held at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center thru Sunday. Admission is free. For times and exhibitors, go to www.bassmasters.com. On Saturday, the Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club will hold their rescheduled Red River Rumble at Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Entry fee is $20. This CPR bass tournament is to raise money for Heroes On The Water. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Also on Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Saturday Tying Clinic". Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There is no cost. Beginners are welcome, bring your own tools, materials are provided. Also on Saturday, the Orvis Company Store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" sessions. Time is 1:00pm to 3:00pm. There is no cost, but registration is required as seats are limited. Tools and materials provided. To register, call Alex at 225-757-7286.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
We've updated our Guides and Retailers pages. Finally! I know for some it's been a long wait, but not having a daily 7am to 7pm routine does allow for more time on the website. If you see something that is incorrect or missing, please email me. I'll try to keep them up-to-date from now on.

Magazine columns for your pleasure. In addition to my "Fly Lines" column in Louisiana Sportsman, there's a new fly fishing column in the monthly Angler magazine - Bayou edition. The columnist is our good friend Larry Offner. The Angler is available at numerous outdoors retailers, as well as various restaurants and coffee shops.

The January issue of Florida Sportsman had an article on backhand flycasting. Like most magazines, archived columns of previous months are posted online. This article by Capt. Mark Krowka was from their January issue, entitled "Using the Rest of the Clock". Check it out.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Just announced - kayak happenings this week. On Thursday, Massey's Outfitters in Covington will host a free Kayak Fishing Seminar featuring Casey Brunning. Casey is kayak columnist for Marsh and Bayou magazine, and a member of the Hobie Pro Staff. Time is 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the store on Highway 190 in Covington. Admission is free and there will be food and beverages. On Saturday, Backpacker of Lafayette will conduct a free on-the-water Kayak Demo at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. A wide selection of boats will be available to test including Hobies. On Sunday Backpacker of Baton Rouge will conduct a free Kayak Demo at BREC's Wampold Park off Stanford Avenue. Time is 12 noon to 4:00pm. As far as we know, these are the first kayak demos for 2014, and a chance to get an intro into the exciting world of kayaking and kayak fishing.

The End of Icepocalypse? Today's ice storm - or cold rain - pelting Louisiana is yet aggravation to what has been an unusually cold winter. But there's good news... the 10-day forecast shows a return to more seasonal weather thru next week. Dry days and high temperatures flirting with the 70-degree mark! It's going to take a couple of weeks of that kind of weather to get water temperatures close to normal. However, some longtime guides and pro anglers think that the fish could react very positively if the water temps went up several degrees, regardless of what "degrees" it happens to be. I, for one, certainly plan to test that theory out...

Saving GRACE. Last year, Sage Manufacturing introduced the GRACE fly rod, a limited-edition pink blank adorned with pink reel seat and pink wraps, for the purpose of raising money for Casting for Recovery. CfR is an organization dedicated to helping women overcome physical and mental challenges associated with breast cancer through fly fishing retreats. The retreats are offered at no cost thanks to generous companies like Sage and organizations like the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). Last week, Sage announced that sales of the GRACE rod had raised $14,050 for CfR. Women fly anglers found the rod not only cosmetically attractive, but the rod action to be superb. Sage Marketing Manager Eric Gewiss said, "The GRACE rod expresses Sage's enthusiasm to help breast cancer survivors the best way we know how - by building an elegant fly rod that's comfortable to cast.".

Kenny Chesney accepts Honorary Board membership to the Building Conservation Trust, the habitat program of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). The country superstar has a long history of involvement in ocean conservation and stewardship, through his music and his life. The Trust supports projects that revitalize critical marine habitat. For example, building reefs in Florida's St Johns River, and floating islands to restore marsh in Louisiana. In accepting the position, Chesney stated, "We have come to a place where everyone needs to get involved if the oceans, beaches, the sea life is important to us as human beings. No one person can save the world - or the water.".

Sunday, February 9, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the LDWF building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda are fishing reports, their upcoming Red Stick Day conclave (March 8th), and other upcoming activities. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. There is a chance this meeting could be cancelled due to weather... more on that later. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church off Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. This one will have to be monitored as well. Check their website at canecountry.blogspot.com for details. On Thursday the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For details, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448. Friday is Valentine's Day... don't forget to share with the one you love. Also starting Friday evening thru Sunday is the 12th Ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. More on that later.

Here we go again! Yet another "Polar Vortex" is scheduled to hit the state this week. Currently the forecast has a high chance of wintry mix forecast for the northern parishes beginning Monday night and continuing Tuesday and Tuesday night. The southern parishes will see very cold rain and lots of it. This is NOT good news for anglers of any persuasion (fly, lure, bait) as water temperatures, windy conditions, and more recently, high runoff and murky water, have combined for the worst winter fishing in 24 years! An example was yesterday's Bayou Coast club's "Double Trouble" kayak tournament in which only 9 of the 22 teams landed any reds or specks. Further, water temperatures in south Louisiana remain in the 40s. On several trips this week around BR area ponds, I struggled to catch a few fish in waters that are normally productive even this time of year. Of equal concern... normally mid-February begins the peak run of crappie in southeast Louisiana, and the start of the bass pre-spawn. With each week, it appears those will be delayed into March. With this week's forecast, all we can suggest is tying flies. Someday... somehow... warm days will return!

The 12th Ever Little Mo Fly Fest is this weekend in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. FYI, the Little Missouri River is one of the most popular year-round coldwater trout fisheries among Louisiana fly anglers, especially for those who live north of Opelousas. Proximity is certainly one reason (about 2.7 hours from Shreveport). But the Lower Mountain Fork near Broken Bow, Oklahoma also offers year-round trout water and is also the same distance from Shreveport. The difference could be in the fact that The Little Mo gets less pressure than the The Lower Fork (the LMF is a favorite among north Texas anglers). But it's also true that The Little Mo has an excellent dry fly fishery... the best of any trout water in Arkansas. Whatever reason it is, this much is true: there's always a strong contingent of Louisiana folks at the annual Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival. The Fest kicks off Friday evening at the Community Center with some tying. But the main event is Saturday with an array of fly tiers, presentations, and vendors. The highlight each year is the presentation by AFGC biologists on "The State of the Little Mo". It gives their latest findings on trout and other species that live in the river, and possibilities for future management. On Sunday, there's the annual on-the-water casting clinic conducted by LMFFF organizer Jeff Guerin. The clinic deals with various moving water situations. For more info on this event, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Bayou Pirates club has rescheduled their CPR bass tournament that was set for this coming Saturday out of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier. The new date is Saturday, February 22nd. The cancellation was forced by a threat for freezing rain on Friday in northwest Louisiana and possible icing of roads on Saturday morning.

It's official - January was the coldest in Louisiana in 35 years, and depending on location, was somewhere in the top 10 coldest in history. For example, Lafayette had an average temperature of 45.2 degrees for the month, making it the 8th coldest ever for that city. And now that Naquin the Nutria has seen his shadow, expect six weeks more frigid weather. This week is certainly proving Naquin to be reliable... at least for northern parishes. The high temperatures won't get out of the 40s until Sunday! In addition, a forecast for rain most days will make it seem even colder. Patience... patience... Spring will come.

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