Louisiana Fly Fishing

It's bassin' time! While many reports of spawning activity have been reported, most bass are just beginning their mating ritual. The next six weeks will provide fly anglers with a stern test - bedding bass are often the most difficult to entice a strike. Lots of patience is needed - as well as the right fly. Consider that the best conventional lures are the ones that imitate a threat to the nest, such as lizards, frogs, crawfish, etc. Fly anglers might use woolybuggers, leech flies, crawfish patterns. Use long leaders and cast just slightly past the next, then strip slowly with pauses. The "strike" will be light, so flies tied on sharp hooks are a must.


Fly Of The Month

Bass Bully. This fly is the creation of Terry Wilson of Bolivar, Missouri. Terry and his wife Roxanne are hardcore warmwater anglers and outdoor writers who have authored several books on warmwater fly fishing. In recent years, this fly has proven to be one of the best submergent flies for both largemouth and smallmouth. The Bass Bully is sold by Orvis, but fly tiers with intermediate skills can tie this fly. Materials include TMC 8089 or similiar hook, Zonker Strip for the tail, Estaz for the body, Silli-Legs or Crazy Legs for the legs, lead barbell eyes, and sculpin wool for the head. Best colors are olive and rust, but chartreuse or black are also popular. Video on Terry Wilson tying his Bass Bully can be found on Youtube (click here).


Featured Tackle

Diamondback Clout. Two years ago at the ICAST/IFTD trade show, one of the big surprises - at least for me - was the Diamondback booth. Nate Dablock had resurrected the once-famous brand of fly rods. But there was a caveat: shortly after Cortland bought the company, they closed down the Vermont factory and disbursed the mandrels and other equipment. Which means Dablock had to start from scratch with new models. In the highly competitive fly rod market, it would take something innovative to regain recognition. Enter the Diamondback Clout. What caught my attention - and that of everyone else - was the "Link Grip". It adds ergonomic functionality to a rod designed for the perfect blend of power and finesse. As one reviewer described, "A die-hard trout angler's dream rod". At the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair (conclave) last October, the Diamondback booth received a lot of requests from participants anxious to cast this rod. Nearly all gave it high praise. As Nate says, "Cast the rod, not the cork". Implying that once you cast this rod, you'll love the rod - and the grip! MSRP is $425 and comes with a lifetime warranty.



 TIPPETS

Friday, March 24, 2017
We were saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Billy Munn after a long battle with cancer. Munn was considered one of the best - if not THE best - deer hair spinners in modern fly tying. The Bridgeport, Texas resident was a longtime member of the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and a fixture at the FFF Southern Conclave, Sowbug Roundup, and several other events. In 1986, Munn was awarded the Federation of Fly Fishers' Buz Buszek Award, for lifetime achievement in fly tying. In 2006, he put out a 2-hour DVD tutorial "Tying Hairbugs with Billy Munn" that has become a cult video. Ed Jaworoski, one of the biggest names in fly fishing, commented on the video saying "During my 50 years in fly fishing, I've seen the work of the best tiers in the business. When it comes to working with deer hair and similiar materials, Billy Munn is the standard by which all other tiers are gauged.". My late friend Chris Helm, himself a master of deer hair and a Buszek Award winner, told me that most of what he had learned came from Billy Munn. The fly tying world owes a great debt to this gentle man, and hopefully we can repay by passing on his legacy.

The Bassmasters Classic kicks off today at Lake Conroe, with the weigh-in taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The last couple of years we've pretty much neglected this event and for good reasons. First, the event was outside our state and even our "regional readership". Second, there wasn't much interest in folks traveling that distance for the Bassmasters Expo, one of the largest fishing exhibitions in the country. And third, Louisiana had - at most - just one resident in the field. But this year it's different. For starters, Houston is where southwest Louisiana goes to play. I expect to see a lot of Cajuns at the Expo and weigh-in. And they'll have some favorites to cheer on... the 2017 Classic will feature three Louisiana anglers. Greg Hackney and Ryan Lavigne, both of Gonzales, will be joined by Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part. Hackney and Crochet have fished the Classic before; for Lavigne this is his first.

LDWF has partially reopened Waddill Refuge. This popular urban outdoors area was closed following The Great Flood of August, 2016 when most of the facility - including the education center - was damaged. The center remains closed while repairs continue; it was for this reason that the Red Stick Fly Fishers moved their annual "Red Stick Day" fly fishing festival to another location this year. The good news is that the ponds are back in shape and stocked and should have good fishing. Many BR area fly anglers fish Waddill and report excellent action on flies.

Another news report from LDWF was very sad indeed. On Monday, enforcement agents recovered the body of Phillip D. LeBlanc of Port Barre from the Pirates Cove area of Toledo Bend. This is an area I fish frequently, so the news hit home so to speak. A witness observed LeBlanc fishing from the front deck of his boat, and then moments later the boat was unmanned. When his body was recovered, he was NOT wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). What caused his death is unknown.

Registration for the summer-long CCA STAR tournament has begun. In fact, it's into week 3. Over the 12 weeks prior to kickoff on May 27, Early Bird winners are being drawn on a weekly basis for a variety of prizes. The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has the largest and most popular saltwater tournament, in large part because it allows anglers to fish at their convenience. It also offers a large number of divisions for species and gender/age, as well as four Kayak Divisions and two Fly Fishing Divisions. Fly anglers and puddlers also have the opportunity to win in other divisions as well. Such was the case two years ago when Jonathon Craft captured one of the tagged redfish from his kayak. The first 10 tagged reds caught by STAR participants get prizes - first red gets a Chevy Silverado, the next 9 get a rigged-out boar. Chances for another kayak angler or even fly angler winning in 2017 took a big step when CCA announced, that for this year, they plan to double the number of tagged reds released from 50 to 100.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The April issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine is now available in convenience stores and outdoor retailers. The big news this month is the transition of editor. In the "First Cast" column, retiring editor Andy Crawford recaps his 14 years as an LAS staffer, including five as editor, and tells of his future plans. In the "News Breaker" section, newly appointed editor David Hunter Jones introduces himself to readers. Here are a few other of this month's highlights: in my Fly Lines column, "In-Crease Your Odds" examines the popularity of the Crease Fly with both anglers and fish. Louisiana's "Crease Fly Ambassador" and LFF Forum member, Kevin "Musicdoc" Andry, shares his recipe for tying this fly and tactics for using it. In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells yakkers how to "Keep 'Em Honest" and prevent thieves from stealing your kayak and gear. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst tells about the often-overlooked, but good eating Lookdown. In feature articles, Jerald Horst tells about good spring fishing for speckled trout at Bayou Lacombe; Dave Brown shares Toledo Bend guides secrets for big bass during spawning season; Kinny Haddox tells us about big bass opportunities in north Louisiana courtesy of Santus Mitchell, a Lincon Parish deputy and avid bass angler; Rusty Tardo shares guide secrets of fishing reds and specks around "The Castle" in Lake Borgne. Plus other articles, columns, tide charts, solunar tables, and fishing forecast.

Registration is now open for Paddlepalooza XIV to be held the weekend of April 29, with activities at Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. That's right, Grand Isle. After a dozen years in Leeville, Louisiana's 2nd largest kayak tournament - and the nation's 4th largest - had to move to a larger venue as participation has continued to grow to nearly 300. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, fishing takes place along the Highway 1 corridor from Galliano to Grand Isle. It's a roadrunner tourney - puddlers can launch anywhere in the boundary. After 13 years of staging this event in Leeville, Palooza moves this year to Things kick off on Friday night with jambalaya dinner, Captains meeting, and other activities. Saturday is the fishing day. After the weigh-in, there's the fish fry (fish weighed in) and a huge raffle with proceeds going to one of the club's charities. As for prizes, contestants with the heaviest Cajun Slam (slot red, speckled trout, flounder) are awarded. There's also a Ladies Slam, and a Kid's Slam (free entry). New this year is the Senior Slam for ages 65 or older. Those in the Senior Division that are 70 years or older can also apply to use a trolling motor on their yak. Entry fee is $60 and includes entry, Friday and Saturday night dinners, door prizes and raffles.

Monday, March 20, 2017
What's happening this week. It's a busy one. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will be demonstrating the "Kray Phish", a fly created by Fish Skull Pro Tyer Daniel Moss which features two of their new products, Cray Tails and Faux Bucktail, and is effective for largemouth and smallmouth. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are this weekend's "Marsh Madness" tournament, the CPR Challenge, and new kayak fishing products. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Felicianas Chapter holds their annual banquet at the American Legion Hall in Clinton. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Thursday and continuing thru Saturday, it's the 20th annual Sowbug Roundup at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Sowbug is the nation's largest "club conclave". Hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, the event features more than 100 fly tiers, numerous vendors and exhibitors, and seminars and casting clinics. Admission is only $5 and includes all 3 days. For details, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Livingston Chapter holds their annual banquet at Forest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth). For more info, call 225-296-0423. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101" clinics covering the basics of flatwater kayaking. Time is 5:00pm. Cost is $45 per person and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD and instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For details, or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, it's the annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on Bluebonnet Boulevard. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Orvis FF101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing with hands-on basic casting instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact 225-757-7286. The Orvis store will also conduct a "Fly Fishing 201" later that same day. Orvis FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic applying casting and rigging skills to actual fishing situations. Again, seats are limited, so contact 225-757-7286 to pre-register. Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual "Marsh Madness" kayak fishing tournament out of Coco Marina in Cocodrie. Entry fee is $25. Prizes are for top 2 redfish stringer weight. It's a single launch site, shotgun start. Unfortunately, no fly fishing is allowed for this event as it's a tackle exchange tournament. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

The annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival takes place this Saturday. Celebrating it's 70th anniversary, the NOCPBBR is the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country. It's also got something for everyone: there's a bank fishing rodeo with five divisions, a student bass fishing tournament, a kayak fishing tournament, and a "fishtival" with exhibitors and other activities of interest to anglers and their families. Of interest to fly anglers is the fishing rodeo - in addition to the Junior Anglers, Bass Adult, Champions Challenge and Cichlid Team categories, there's the Fly Fishing Category for the heaviest bass or cichlid (Rio Grande perch). The Fly Fishing Division is open to all ages. Registration is $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for under age 13. Folks can pre-register online until this Thursday, March 23rd. The fishing rodeo hours are 6:30am to 11:00am (weigh-in). For puddlers, the kayak fishing tournament, known as "Boats on the Bayou" is held on Bayou St. John from 7:00am to 10:30am. Entry fee is $15 pre-registration, or $25 on-site. Onsite registration begins at 6:00am. There are four categories for BOTB: bass, redfish, trout, and trashbash (any other species). What I like about this tournament is that, while winners receive trophies, the top prize - a kayak - doesn't go to the winner, but is drawn from all participants present. Another aspect of this event of interest to fly anglers and kayak anglers is The Fishtival. Once again, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be on hand, tying flies and giving casting lessons. Also, Masseys Outfitters will be doing kayak demos on Bayou St. John. Other exhibitors include the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and a variety of others including local artists and gifts. For complete info on this great event, go to www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Here's our mid-week tidbits in a "quick hitting" format inspired by my favorite website, dandydon.com (which incidently, played a large part in the creation of the LFF website 20 years ago). I hope to keep this a regular feature from now until things slow down in summer.

The Grand Isle Weekend has been cancelled this year. Sponsored by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, the GIWE is the largest fly fishing outing held each year in Louisiana. It's been held in late June for the past decade, and prior to that, was held in July, and included members of clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere. At their general meeting Monday night, RSFF members were told of some circumstances that had arisen that would have required a change in venue or dates for the GIWE. Instead, the club voted to cancel the event for this year. Like many of you, I'm sad to hear this.

Flymen Fishing Company has released Faux Bucktail a synthetic version of the popular natural bucktail material. FFC sells it's products under the brand name "Fish-Skull", with most products aimed for warmwater and saltwater applications. According to FFC, Faux Bucktail represents the first tapered mult-use synthetic fiber. One of the key differences is that this new material is not hollow like bucktail, so flies will sink faster. But also the material doesn't flare out when cinched with thread, so Clouser Minnows will keep a more "streamlined" look when tied. My friend Daniel Moss - a pro-staff member of FFC - is using this on his baitfish patterns and says it comes out clean. I've got a shipment coming in and will test it out later this week.

David Hunter Jones is the new editor for Louisiana Sportsman magazine. David replaces Andy Crawford, who retires today. Prior to this position, David was editor of Firearm News magazine, and also a chief writer for BassMaster magazine. The Florida native loves saltwater fishing and deer and turkey hunting, so he should fit right in with the majority of the magazine's readers. He'll have big shoes to fill - Andy has done a great job since 2009 in continuing to build the magazine as one of the best outdoor tabloids in the country. Andy will continue to contribute as an outdoors writer, but will focus his efforts on his professional photography services.

At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting Monday night Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport brought several 2017 kayaks for club members to demo. Those included two new pedal models I'd not had a chance to demo - the Native Manta Ray Propel and Perception Pilot. Both were very fast boats, clocking between 4.0 and 4.6 knots at a high cruising pace. Personally, I preferred the Pilot for fly fishing as the "motor" is easily stowed. But perhaps the best boat for fly fishing that I tested was the Wilderness ATAK 120. It's very stable and comfortable and surprisingly nimble, clocking 3.0 to 3.2 at cruising speed. The low profile also made for low wind resistance.

Hatch Magazine has done a review of the Redington Classic Trout. Folks who have heard me praise this rod (I own a 3-weight and 5-weight) know that I've compared it as the budget version of the legendary Sage Lightline series. But as Hatch magazine points out, the RCT doesn't have the excellent distance capabilities that more expensive "trout rods" have. In fact, I'd say that my TFO Finesse 3-weight is a tad better on distance than my RCT 3-weight. But both are GREAT rods for trout and bream fishing, and both offer a lifetime warranty that's tough to beat. To read what Hatch Magazine had to say, click on this link.

This cold spell has slowed action down considerably in north and central Louisiana. Yesterday I took the kayak out for bass and caught a couple and missed a couple others, but it was a very slow day for mid-March. The water temperature on my depthfinder was 58 degrees! That's almost 10 degrees less than it was a week ago. I did not see any small bream in the shallows, a telltale sign. Good news is that more normal March weather is on the way next week.

Monday, March 13, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting. For this month, there's a change in time and venue - from 5:00pm at the Red River Waterway Commission on Sibley Lake in Natchitoches. Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport will be bringing several new 2017 fishing kayaks for attendees to demo. Afterwards, Adam will be doing a brief presentation on kayak rigging. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will be holding their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, but with Daylight Savings Time the club pre-meeting casting practice will restart beginning at 6:30pm. 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. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Wednesday, the CCA Westbank Chapter will hold their annual banquet at NOLA Motorsports in Avondale Doors open 6:00pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year CCA membership, admission, dinner and open bar. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will demo hackle techniques and discuss the Regal vise. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, it's the first day of the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual club trip to the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas, aka "March Brown" trip. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also starting Thursday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsmans Show at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The "Granddaddy of Louisiana Outdoor Shows" will run 12pm to 7pm on Thursday and Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturday, and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day, $5 for kids. With a couple hundred exhibitors and numerous activities, too many to list here! There's seminars by fishing pros, and deals to be had on fishing gear. Fishing kayaks will also be featured. Details can be found on the website at www.lasportsmenshow.com.

Registration is now open for Women's Fishing Workshops. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), CCA Louisiana, Cabelas Outdoors Fund, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the LDWF Foundation are teaming up to present two Womens Fishing Workshops this Spring at Cabelas. The dates are April 22 and May 20, both on Saturday. It's open to women 18 and older. Seats are limited to 30 women per event. LDWF biologists and other instructors will teach attendees about fish identification, handling, fishing equipment, basic skills, as well as cleaning, storing and cooking fish. Fifteen participants will have their name drawn to apply their skills on an overnight fishing trip to Grand Isle! These sessions book up quickly, so register asap. For more info and registration, click on this link.

Some articles from this month's Louisiana Sportsman magazine are now online. One of them is my "Fly Lines" column, for March the title is "Ask the Fly Fishing Answer Man". Readers can get to it by clicking on this link.

An inconvenient truth? Last week, a large group of prominent fly anglers signed off on a letter to Scott Pruitt, newly appointed head of EPA, criticizing him for his statement that "I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.". The signees took serious objection to his denial that human activities - particularly burning fossil fuels - is a primary contributor to global warming. The list of signees included Yvon Chouinard, Ted Williams, Craig and Jackie Mathews, Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano, Brandon Shuler, Phil Monahan, Tom Sadler, Marshall Cutchin, and many other prominent fly fishing writers or industry folk. To Pruitt's credit, he didn't deny that global warming is real. In fact, he seems to acknowledge it. He questioned how much of an impact burning fossil fuels is having. Personally, I think there is some human factor. You don't take trillions of tons of buried hydrocarbons, burn them off into the atmosphere, and not have some impact. The concern to many fly anglers is with regards to marginal trout streams, such as those in north Georgia and western New Mexico.

Monday, March 6, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: their upcoming Acadiana Conclave on April 1st. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA Bayou Lafourche Chapter holds their annual banquet at Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center in Thibodaux. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. On Friday, the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana! More on that later. On Saturday, it's the annual Fly Fish Texas. More on that later. Also starting Saturday, and continuing Sunday, it's the inaugural Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a "Kayak Fishing Workshop and Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. The workshop is 8:30am to 10:30am and costs $10. Registration is required as spaces are limited. The Demo Day will begin at 12 noon and run until 2:00pm and is open to the public. All this is subject to weather, so call 225-925-2667 to confirm, or check their Facebook page. On Sunday, it's the start of Daylight Savings Time, which should be great news for working folks looking to get in afterwork time on the water on in their garden.

The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana this Friday as the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will once again host this series of short documentary films celebrating our sport. Doors open at 6:30pm, with showing starting at 7:00pm. At this writing, only a few tickets are still available. For the last 3 years all 150 tickets were sold out prior to the event! So be sure to call the Orvis store at 225-757-7285 for availability. Tickets are sold only at the Orvis store. All proceeds go to Project Healing Waters. There's a very affordable cash bar, and some great door prizes. The subjects of theseilms feature Kamtchatka rainbows and salmon, Florida tarpon, Mexican tarpon and permit, Alaskan trout, Siberian taimen, old friends fishing their favorite water, Montana trout, and Fanning Island in the Pacific. A complete list of films, along with details and trailers can be found at www.flyfilmtour.com.

A busy weekend for fly fishing events in north Texas. In and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there's three (3) big events taking place! The Trinity River Waterway Development event is geared more towards beginners, so I'll concentrate on the other two: the annual Fly Fish Texas hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Fly Fish Texas will again be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, just southeast of Dallas. The event runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm and features seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics, fish biology, and even casting certification seminars. There's also fishing onsite for rainbow trout. Admission is free with paid admission to the Center. For a schedule of presentations, and list of activities, go to tpwd.texas.gov and click on "Fly Fish Texas". Meanwhile in Plano, at the Plano Events Center, Saturday and Sunday will be the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Show director Beau Beasley is trying to bring a Texas-version of his much popular annual "Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival". It'll feature some of the biggest names in fly fishing such as Lefty Kreh, Ed Jaworoski, Mike Mercer, Wanda Taylor, Tom Rosenbauer, Bob Clouser, and others. Along with some of the top regional anglers such as Stacy Lynn, David Leake, Steve Dally and others. The list of vendors is exhausting! Admission is $20 per day. Attendees can also sign up for special classes for an extra fee. A few of the classes have already sold out, so please check online. Then there's the beer tasting! Several local brews will be offered. Complete details on this event can be found at txflyfishingfestival.org.

Kudos to the Red Stick Fly Fishers for a great conclave! Their Red Stick Day was held this past Saturday at the BREC Perkins Road Park in Baton Rouge. Although the setting was different from the usual Waddill location, everything went smoothly. A lot of thanks go to Events Chairman Pete Sturgis. Dr. Ed Lash of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was special guest. The nationally-renown deer hair tyer gave his first slideshow presentation ever, and it was a homerun! I understand from Ed that Pete assisted him with putting together this presentation. As usual, there were LOTS of great raffle items and the jambalaya lunch was fantastic. There are two more club conclaves scheduled for Louisiana in 2017, the Acadiana event on April 1st and the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo in August.

Speaking of events, the 2018 calendar is already being populated. During the past month, I've received dates for some club activities, including the Natchitoches Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Expo hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters. But we still have a few dates undetermined for 2017. I was told at Red Stick Day, that dates for the New Orleans club's annual "Rio Rodeo" and the Finaddict Fly Fishers club's annual bream rodeo will soon be coming. I'm really looking forward to both these events!

The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's CPR Challenge began last Tuesday. While there are no live fly fishing tournaments by any of the Louisiana kayak clubs, the Bayou Coast and Lafayette clubs do have a fly fish division to their CPR tournaments. You must be a member of their club to participate. For BCKFC, the tournament lasts from January 1st to November 31st and for fly rod includes bass, redfish and speckled trout categories. For LKFC, the tournament this year has been broken into 3 time slots. Points from each time slot for fly rod bass, redfish, and speckled trout will be added to determine the CPR Cajun Slam Fly Rod champion. For details on these CPR tournaments, go to www.bckfc.org or www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Sunday, February 26, 2017
A big week ahead! We have Mardi Gras, the largest annual fly fishing event in Louisiana (Red Stick Day), as well as the largest kayak demo of the year. More on those later. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest presenter will be Kevin "Doc" Andry, who will demonstrate and discuss tying and fishing the Round Dinny (bream) and Crease Fly (bass, saltwater). Refreshments will be served. Guests and visitors are welcome! Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Nathanael Fickett will lead the group in tying the Crappie Candy. If time permits, also the Squirrely. Both are flies whose originators will be featured tiers at Red Stick Day. Bring your tools. If none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a holiday and day of festivities for most of Louisiana. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.northshoreflyfishing.org. On Friday, it's the kickoff for Pack and Paddle's annual "Spring Demo Weekend" in Lafayette which continues Saturday. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual conclave in Baton Rouge. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a Kayak Demo Day at Chicot Lake near Ville Platte. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Perception, and KC Kayak. Weather permitting.

This Saturday is Red Stick Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers of Baton Rouge will celebrate their 25th annual fly fishing festival (conclave) otherwise known as "Red Stick Day". This year the event had to be moved from it's traditional location at the LDWF Waddill Education Center to the BREC Perkins Park Community Center due to continued flood restoration work at Waddill. Time will be 8:30am to 3:00pm. Admission is free! Red Stick Day is the largest fly fishing event in Louisiana, in terms of attendance. There's seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics and coaching, and a huge raffle that benefits the club's educational and conservation projects. Each year, the club brings in one of the biggest names in fly fishing and/or fly tying. This year's headliner is Ed Lash of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, considered one of the top deer hair tiers in America. Ed will be demonstrating as well as giving a seminar. For those that may want to wet a line, Perkins also has a fishing pond with a good population of medium-sized fiesty bluegills. For complete details on this event, including seminar topics and schedule and list of tiers, go to the club's website at www.rsff.org.

Pack and Paddle's big Spring Demo Weekend kicks off this Friday at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette with the "Beer and Gear Social". Drink local brews provided by industry paddlesports reps, talk paddling, meet local kayak club members, and more. There's door prizes, and even a chance to win the Hobie Pro Angler 14 that Steve Lessard used in December to win his 2nd World Championship. And it's all free! Time is 5:00pm with the drawings at 7:00pm. On Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold their annual "Spring Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond on 300 Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The event is free. While PnP does a few other demos in the year (they also do personal demos on request), this is by far the largest. The full line of 2017 boats from Hobie, Jackson, Native, Wilderness Systems, NuCanoe, Wenonah, Bote Board and others will be available for testing. Industry reps will be on hand to answer questions. For more info on this event, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Sunday, February 19, 2017
What's happening this week. Monday is President's Day and a holiday for some. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Gene Taylor will lead in tying the Partridge and Peacock wet fly. Beginners are welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, with general meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly program at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge, 555 Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.northlaflyfishers.org or check the LFF Forum for meeting details. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is discussion of the upcoming Marsh Madness tournament. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a public meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:00pm. An update on the current status of the lake and management of giant salvania will be discussed. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome! Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a special seminar, "Secrets of Successful Kayak Tournament Fishermen", featuring two of the world's top kayak anglers - Steve Lessard and Brendan Bayard - both from Louisiana. In addition to tips and tactics for catching a variety of fish from kayak, Steve and Brendan will also share details on the 2016 World Championship which was held in Leeville, and where Steve became the first-ever two-time world champion despite fierce competition from a couple members of the Australian team. The public is invited and refreshments will be available. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation will host it's annual Mystery Fly Tournament on the Lower Mountain Fork River. Registration kicks off at 6:30am, fishing at 7:00am, "weigh in at 12 noon. There's an evening dinner as well. Entry fee is $50. For more details, go to www.lmfrfoundation.org.

Sunday, February 12, 2017
What's happening this week. 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. On the agenda: the upcoming 25th annual Red Stick Day fly fishing festival, fishing reports. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on the Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will demonstrate the "Mop Fly", which was quite the talk at the recent Atlanta Fly Fishing Show. Bring your tools if you have them, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during the meeting. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Tuesday is Valentine's Day. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers monthly meeting has been moved to the 21st this month due to the conflict with Valentine's Day. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Mike Hawkins will show how to tie a "Deena Fly". This is the go-to fly for the Lower Mountain Fork River. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will conduct the second of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Tangi Chapter will hold a free fishing seminar at Boat City USA on 4113 Club Deluxe Road in Hammand. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speakers will be Ashley Ferguson, LDWF biologist and Capt. Mike Gallo. For more info, call 225-952-9200. Starting Friday evening and continuing Sunday, it's the 12th ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival. More on that later. Also starting Friday evening and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Guadalupe Trout Unlimited's annual TroutFest 2017 at Lazy L&L Campgrounds in New Braunfels, Texas. Special guests include Jen Ripple, Wanda Taylor and George Daniel. Proceeds go to benefit GRTU's conservation projects on this southernmost trout tailwater. For more info, go to www.grtu.org. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Boulevard. Time is 2:00pm. FT101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic that covers the basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided for the session. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

As mentioned, the Little Mo Fly Festival is this weekend at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This event celebrates the nearby Little Missouri River as well as fly fishing in general, and is always a fun time! The "Little Mo" below Narrows Dam (Greeson Lake) supports several miles of year-round fishery for rainbow and brown trout. In addition, the upper Mo above Greeson supports a 5-month fishery for rainbows. The Little Mo Fest was concieved 12 years ago by Jeff Guerin, river guide and owner of the Little Missouri Fly Fishing website. Things kick off on Friday evening with fly tying and home cooking. Saturday is a full day featuring tying, seminars, exhibitors, retailers, casting and more. Programs include "European Nymph Fishing", "Building Furled Leaders", and "River Critters". The highlight of the event - as each year - is the "State of the Little Mo" presentation by AFGC biologists Christy Graham and Kris Nault. Saturday evening there's a presentation "Crappie on the Fly" followed by the annual Fantasy Fly Draft. Sunday morning at 10:30am, there's the "Can You Take It" combat casting clinic at Riverside Park (cost is $5). Over 20 fly tiers will be participating, the list can be found on the Little Missouri website. For complete details, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.

Sunday, February 5, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop in Slidell. Bring your tools, if none, tools are available during the session. Materials are provided. On Saturday, it's the 25th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where the basics of fly fishing are applied to real-time fishing situations. Registration is limited, and these sessions do often book up, so please contact Alex at 225-757-7286 for more info or to register. That Saturday afternoon, Orvis will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics in-store. FT101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on workshop covering the basics of tying flies and tying a couple of simple patterns. Tools and materials are provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

Saturday is the Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. This marks the 25th celebration of this event, considered the largest gathering of fly tiers each year on the Gulf Coast. Sponsored by the Texas Fly Fishers club, the fly fest is held at Bethany Christain Church at 3223 Westheimer. Time is 8:30am to 4:30pm. Normally held the first Saturday in February, the event was moved back a week this year due to the Super Bowl. In addition to nearly 100 tiers, the event features a celebrity fly tier. Past headliners have included such names as Bob Clouser, Tim Borski, Blane Chocklett, Boyd Pfeiffer and others. For 2017, special guest tier is David Nelson, owner of Squimpish Flies and expert on river fishing for striped bass. There's also several fishing and tying seminars, vendors, and casting. For complete details, go to www.texasflyfishers.org.

This weekend's Atlanta Fly Fishing Show was a blast. After having attended the Somerset and Denver shows in the past, it was great to see the show come to the South. One of the many highlights was the initial induction of the Southern Trout Legends Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Southern Trout magazine, twelve names were inducted in total: Ernest Peckinbaugh, Dave Whitlock, Jim Gaston, Harry Middleton, Don Pfitzer, Charley Elliot, Soc Clay, J. Wayne Fears, Don Howell, Curtis Fleming, Gary Merriman and Mark Cathey. For more information about each of these inductees, go to www.southerntrout.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2017
What's happening this week. For us football fans, this is the last week until late summer for us to relish our favorite team sport, as this week is National Signing Day for college football (Wednesday) and the Super Bowl (Sunday). The Super Bowl has some bearing on fly fishing as well. Since this year's game will be played in Houston, the annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival - sponsored by the Texas Fly Fishers of Houston - has been moved from it's traditional first Saturday in February to the 2nd Saturday in February. We'll have more on this event posted in our forum. Back to this week's activities... On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome! On Thursday, CCA Louisiana will hold a members luncheon at L'Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge. Time is 11:30am. Admission and lunch is $25. Special guest speaker will be Governor John Bel Edwards. There's still some tickets left, but they're going fast. Call 225-952-9200 to get tickets. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia. This is the same as the "Fly Fishing Show" events held at Somerset, Marlborough, Pleasanton and Denver. It will be the largest fly fishing event in the South in 2017. For details, go to www.flyfishingshow.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. FF101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour workshop designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. It includes one hour of tackle and rigging, one hour of casting, and other basics. Registration is limited, to reserve a spot call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store will conduct another "Fly Tying 101" class in the afternoon. FT101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, call 225-757-7286.

In today's The Advocate newspaper - available across south Louisiana - Outdoors contributor (and retired editor) Joe Macaluso has an article on fly fishing along with a list of upcoming fly fishing and kayak fishing events. To check out the article, click on this link.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project was approved for "fast tracking" last week in the final days of President Obama's administration. This is a significant win for Louisiana in it's fight against coastal wetlands loss. The project is a major part of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) proposed 50-year, $50 billion effort to save and rebuild our coast. The diversion would be located near Myrtle Grove and is expected to add nearly 30 square miles of land by year 2070. By fast tracking this project, years can be shaved off construction. It's expected that President Trump will also approve this, with his policy of "get it done, get it done now". With fast-tracking, environmental reviews and permitting time should be cut in half.

Not everyone is happy about the Mid-Barataria diversion. For commercials, it means that some of their prized species, particularly shrimp and oysters will be displaced from closer, more convenient areas close to Highway 23. But some recreationals are also concerned; they point out that the Caenarvon diversion has actually created more open water than land building. Well, there's a reason for that. The marsh bottoms are like sponges. When heavier sands and sediments are layered on top, it compresses these organic bottom soils. The result is more, deeper water - for a short time. Later, as these bottoms reach maximum compression, the deposits begin to build. In fact, the diversion plan makes it clear that land building would not occur until two decades after the flow of river water begins. The good news is that these "compressed" lands have much greater longevity than normal marsh, especially after repeated tropical storms.

Sunday, January 22, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Tom Bullock of Shreveport, who will talk on "Soft Hackled Flies and How to Fish Them". The public is invited. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Sydney Dobson will lead in tying the Hollow Fleye, a Bob Popovics pattern. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying clinic in the White River Fly Shop area. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. Tying tools available if needed, otherwise bring your own. Materials are provided. For more info, contact Ron Brooks at 225-271-3100. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel in New Orleans (across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome! On Saturday, it's the Orvis Baton Rouge "Travel Day". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will conduct their annual "Frozen Chozen" outing to the Little Missouri River in Murfreesboro. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will host their recurring "Hobie First Cast" instructional fishing trip. Cost is $99 and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD, anchors, guide and basic instruction. Registration is limited, and may already be sold out, so do check first. For more info or to reserve a spot, go to www.packpaddle.com.

As mentioned, Saturday is Travel Day at Orvis. The Baton Rouge store on 7601 Bluebonnet will host fly fishing guides from Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Bahamas. In addition, local guides from Louisiana will be on hand. During the day, there'll be presentations from each of these guides, as well as fly tying. The event is free. Details and a schedule have been posted on our Events Forum.

Speaking of events, CCA Louisiana will hold a luncheon next Thursday, February 2nd, at the L'Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 11:30am. Admission is $25 and includes lunch. What's getting a lot of attention is that the guest speaker is Governor John Bel Edwards. There's been loads of speculation, particularly after the brief and tumultous term of Charlie Melancon as LDWF Secretary, as to where the governor stood with regards to recreational fishing in our state. I think him asking Melancon to step down, and now agreeing to talk to CCA members, are positive signs. Regardless, if you wish to hear the governor speak, better get your tickets now. Seating is limited and tickets are going fast! For more info, call CCA Louisiana at 225-952-9200.

Controversy has risen regarding LDWF plans to allow licensed commercial fishermen to use gill or trammel nets on Poverty Point Reservoir near Delhi. PPR is one of the best trophy crappie lakes in the state, but production of this popular species - as well as bass and sunfish - have been on the decline. The purpose of a limited net season - it started Friday and will close on February 28th - is to reduce high populations of catfish, buffalo, carp, drum (goo) and other non-gamefish species. Many crappie anglers are concerned that trophy crappie will be part of the by-catch. Unlikely, but if it does happen, it's a small price to pay. A lake can only support so many pounds of fish, and removing hundreds of pounds per acre of non-game species should result in much better sport fishing as early as next year.

The February issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out. For those without a subscription, the magazine will be available later this week at newstands and convenience stores across the state and lower Mississippi. In this month's issue, my Fly Lines column gives a brief history of ancient fly fishing and transitions into a modern approach where "matching the commie hatch" created the Silli Butt. This fly is proving itself invaluable when targeting the "species of the month" - crappie! In other columns of interest to most LFF readers... Chris Holmes gives the details behind Steve Lessard's second Hobie World Championship back in December in his "Paddles N' Puddles" column. A must read! In their "Seafood Bible" column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share Shrimp and Corn Bisque and other recipes from Mrs. Crappie Psychic (Janelle Folse). In feature articles, Jerald Horst shares secrets from "The Crappie Psychic" - Clyde Folse - regarding crappie fishing and why his lures perform so well. Chris Berzas shares pre-spawn bass tactics on Lake Verret; Kinny Haddox gives a primer on targeting cold season crappie in Caney Lake; Chris Ginn explains why heavier lures can trigger bigger bites during late winter (and this reasoning applies equally to flies, we might add). For those looking for a freshwater boat, this month's issue also has a recap of the top aluminum boats for 2017.

Sunday, January 15, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Martin Luther King Day, a holiday for many folks as well as many governmental buildings closed. For that reason, some clubs with 3rd Monday activities have moved to Tuesday this month. One of those is Kisatchie Fly Fishers. On Tuesday, they'll hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Province Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's pattern will be the Jitterbee, a very popular bream fly created by Randy Leonpacher of Baton Rouge. The public is welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is this year's club tournaments as well as details about the 2017 CPR Challenge. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public meeting at Jimmie Davis State Park Conference Center in Chatham on the status of Caney Creek Reservoir. Time is 7:00pm. An overview of aquatic vegetation issues and latest fish sampling will be presented by LDWF biologists. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly club workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Minimalist Challenge" kayak fishing tournment out of Leeville Public Launch. It's one of only two kayak tournaments that limits registration, the limit is 125 anglers and it reached that limit in mid-December. For that reason, we won't delve into details, but they are available on our Calendar page entry and also at www.bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where the basics of fly fishing are applied to real-time fishing situations. Registration is limited, and these sessions do often book up, so please contact Alex at 225-757-7286 for more info or to register. That Saturday afternoon, Orvis will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics in-store. FT101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on workshop covering the basics of tying flies and tying a couple of simple patterns. Tools and materials are provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

The annual Red River Rendezvous set for the last Saturday this month has been relocated from Bonham State Park to Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma. This move took place sometime since early December; I was uninformed about the change until this past week. Hosted by the Red River Fly Fishers of Sherman, Texas, this longtime event is back where it originated and was held for many years. Over the last four years, it was moved to Beavers Bend State Park and then to Bonham State Park, both about 2 hours from Shreveport. And for that reason, had more attendance from Louisiana fly anglers than when it was at Eisenhower. For those who were planning to go to RRR, this move may change your plans.

Of course, the last Saturday this month is the Orvis Baton Rouge store "Travel Day" event and there's been lots of interest on social media. If you haven't checked out details, there's a couple of posts in our forum giving specifics. Or you can go to Facebook and search for Orvis Baton Rouge and click on their Events page.

Climate change affecting trout stockings. Some south Texas lakes that receive winter stockings of rainbow trout may not be stocked a second time this year as in the past. The reason is higher than normal water temperatures. I imagine there could be some reconsideration for LDWF stockings in Kiroli Park (Monroe) as well. After the artic blast a week ago that brought ice and snow to most parts of Louisiana north of I-10, and dropped water temperatures into the 40s, it's gotten very mild since. And water temps are back up into the upper 50s and lower 60s. Fishing reports from across the coast yesterday were the best I've seen for this time of year. I expect if this weather pattern holds up we could see numerous "full bags" of trout and reds coming out of this Saturday's Minimalist Challenge kayak tournament. One thing is for certain, now that global warming appears to be accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community, how will it affect winter fishing? Will the great marsh fishing we've had this winter be the future norm?

Monday, January 9, 2017
What's happening this week. 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. On the agenda: rainbeaux trout fishing reports from the BREC ponds, other local fishing in January and discussion about upcoming Spring events. The public is invited. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on the Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:00pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will give a presentation and partial workshop on "How to Create a Blog". The meeting is open to the public. 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. The public is invited. On Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at the Masseys Outfitters Mid-Town location on 509 North Carrollton in New Orleans. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: 2016 Angler of the Year awards, 2016 CPR Fish Pics Awards, and discussion about upcoming tournaments. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop at 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" session. Time is 2:00pm. Orvis FF101 is a FREE, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. For more info or to register, call 225-757-7286.

Our website was down last night and earlier today. Everything seems back to normal, but the situation will be monitored. Our web host is located in Wisconsin, and during these severe winter periods we seem to get the most downtimes.

Speaking of weather... the forecast calls for highs in the 70s later this week and after this past "wintry mix" weekend, it'll seem like tropical heat. Don't be lured into thinking the fish will be more active just because the air temperature is much warmer. Right now, the surface temp on the local lake is 43 degrees. At depths of 8 feet or more, it's 40 degrees. It's going to take a LOT of warm, sunny days to get the temperatures back up to where fish are very active. Because our marsh is adjacent to the heat sink that is the Gulf of Mexico, and because most of it is shallow, I expect that might be the best fishing for now, BUT slow presentation will be the rule.

Fly Fishing Film Tour tickets now on sale. The Orvis store in Baton Rouge is currently selling tickets for F3T showing on Friday, March 10th at their store in Perkins-Rowe. Tickets are $15 each. This is the only showing so far scheduled for Louisiana. The last two years, the Orvis showing of F3T has sold out in advance, and I fully expect the same to happen this year. If you've never been to an F3T event, it's a great time and the short films just keep getting better each year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall at 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 in Abita Springs. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge kicks off their Spring educational series with Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Tying 101. Fly Fishing 101 is a one-day, 2 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. Fly Tying 101 is a one-day, 2 hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Both FF101 and FT101 are FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, call 225-757-7286 or go to the Orvis Baton Rouge website and use the link to register for classes.

2017 is here. As mentioned, Orvis of Baton Rouge has kicked off their Saturday educational sessions, which currently are scheduled through the end of February. These include "Fly Fishing 101", "Fly Fishing 201" and "Fly Tying 101". These one-day, 2-hour sessions are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. Dates and times can be found on our Calendar page. The new year also brings the start of regional events, including the popular Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Feb. 11), Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival (Feb. 18), Acadiana Conclave (Feb. 25), Red Stick Day (Mar. 4), Fly Fish Texas (Mar. 11), and Sowbug Roundup (Mar. 23-25). In addition, two new regional events - the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show (Feb. 3-4) and the Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival (Mar. 11-12). Then there's the ever-popular Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Orvis store on Friday, March 10th. This event has sold out the last four years. It's a great time, so be sure to get tickets early! On March 25th, it's the New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, which includes both a Fly Fish Division and "Boats on the Bayou" kayak fishing tournament. As for kayak fishing events, not much going on until April (BCKFC Minimalist Challenge in January is already booked up on alloted registration). But look for several kayak demos coming up in mid-February thru March. Nearly all will feature the MANY new kayaks for 2017, including a wide array of new pedal boats from Wilderness, Perception, Native, Hurricane, Feelfree, Old Town, and Jackson. Along with the new Hobie models with 180 Reverse.

Jack Montoucet is the new LDWF Secretary. On Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that State Representative Jack Montoucet of Crowley will serve as head of Wildlife and Fisheries beginning January 16th. Montoucet is owner of an alligator farm - Jacques Crocs and Farm Pride Processors - and is a retired Fire Chief for the Lafayette Fire Deparment. He's also served as president of the Louisiana Alligator Association, so he has a rich background in areas served by the department. In accepting his position, Montoucet vowed to be "a uniter, not a divider" and promised that all parties would have a seat at the table. Montoucet replaces Charles Melancon whose one-year term was tumultous (at best). Melancon repeatedly took executive actions that went counter to both constituents and biologists, and insulting his critics in public. Add to that a continuing audit of LDWF reaching back to the BP Oil Spill that revealed numerous irregularities, and Montoucet will have a lot to deal with the moment he takes office. We wish him wisdom and the best of luck!

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