Louisiana Fly Fishing

Rainbeaux trout time. Just before Christmas, LDWF and Baton Rouge Recreation (BREC) did their annual stocking of rainbow trout in four of the 15 ponds that BREC manages. But Baton Rouge wasn't the only beneficiary - Lamar Dixon in Gonzales, Hutchinson Park in Walker, Girard Park in Lafayette also received stockings. Torres Park in Chalmette and Zeemurray Park in Hammond were also on the list to receive trout in January. Most of these ponds are being stocked under LDWF's "Get Out and Fish" community fishing program. As for the trout... they've recovered nicely from the record warm spell around Christmas and are now full of vigor. Black or olive woolybuggers will work, but the best flies seem to be midges and dries in sizes 14 and 16.


Fly Of The Month

Long Creek. Jeff Guerin is the only guide on the Little Missouri River in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and owner of www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com. He also puts on the Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest each February and a terrific guy to boot! Jeff has created several flies that imitate the aquatic insects on his favorite river, and his Long Creek is one of his favorites and most popular. It imitates the Light Cahill and March Brown mayflies common to the river. The Long Creek is also popular with the "rainbeaux trout" stocked in Louisiana ponds. Why do we do not know, but then again why does a trout eat a marshmallow? While this fly is somewhat easy to tie, Jeff sells it on his website for just $1.90 each.


Featured Tackle

Orvis Recon Rods. This USA-made fly rod has gotten a lot of great reviews recently, including Fly Fisherman magazine's Best Mid-Priced Rod of 2015. But in a market where there are many good mid-priced rods, what makes the Recon stand out is their "Bass Series" - three rod weights (8, 9, 10) that come in legal bass tournament length of 7-foot, 11-inches. Forget the legal bass concept... a shorter 8-weight rod has definite advantages for kayak anglers and those who love casting for bass, snook, tarpon, whatever in tight cover. With the discontinuation of the very popular Ross FlyStik rods, bass enthusiasts were very pleased to see the new Mojo Series from St. Croix and the Recon Shorts from Orvis. The Mojo is more affordable at $150, but the Recon ($450) is the better casting tool. In fact, in my test casting I found it to be better than the $850 Sage Method (the expert rod preference du jour). Very light in the hand, the 8-weight 7-11 model Recon is gorgeous as well with it's deep green blank and black nickel hardware. It comes with rod tube and a 25-year warranty.



 TIPPETS

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
CCA sets fishing seminars this month. Those ever-popular fishing seminars hosted by local chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association begin next week. On Tuesday, February 16, the Bayou Chapter will hold a general meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant in Houma. Guest speakers will include CCA-Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson, LDWF Commission member Dan Davis, and CCA-Louisiana VP of Governmental Relations, Camp Matens. Also on Tuesday, the Livingston Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Guest speakers will be Captains Owen Langridge, Greg Schlumbrecht, and Scott Ayers. Also, Sam Barbera of LDWF. On Thursday, the Comite Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Kristenwood in Greenwell Springs. Speakers will be Captains Owen Langridge, Greg Schlumbrecht, Derek Hudnall, Sam Barbera, and kayak angler Elliot Stevens. All of these seminars are $5 for members, $10 for non-members, with ladies and kids free, and include food and beverages.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
What's happening this week. It's Mardi Gras week. Mardi Gras, chic a la pas, run away, tra la la! 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. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church off Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Setup for tying is 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Special guest will be Dale Darling, member of the Rainy Flies design team and author of five books on fly tying. Dale will tie a few of his favorite flies. Guests are welcome! For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Tuesday, it's the North Louisiana Fly Fishers annual "Chili and Flies" meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Members will compete - and eat - chili, and later, a fly tying contest using materials provided (sort of Iron Fly competition). For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. 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. Time is 7:00pm. 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 Bayou Pirates hold their monthly meeting at Hook1 Louisiana on East 70th street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the 14th-ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Cost is $5. It begins Friday evening with tying, Saturday is the main event with programs, fly tying demos, exhibitors, vendors. Sunday is the "Can You Take It" casting session. For more info, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com. Also starting on Friday, and continuing thru Sunday, it's the 31st annual Central Gulf Boat Show at the Civic Center in Lake Charles. Hours are 1pm to 8pm on Friday, 10am to 8pm on Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Admission is $7 adults, ages 6-15 $2 and under 6 free. On Saturday, the Ascension Parish Library on Irma Boulevard will host another fly tying clinic. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. There's no cost. Bring your tools, materials provided. Basics of tying fresh and saltwater flies. For more info, contact instructor Darrell Crawford at 225-644-7989. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" clinic. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Cost is free, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FT101 is a one-day, 2-hour, free hands-on clinic on basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

Sunday, January 31, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting in Alexandria. Time is 6:00pm. Location TBA tomorrow, check their website at www.cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com. On the agenda: their upcoming "Sac-A-Yak" on February 27th. The public is invited. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Saturday is the 24th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am at a location TBA. There's no cost, but registration is required as class size is limited. Orvis FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to actual fishing. Some additional casting techniques are introduced. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Orvis will hold another "Fly Tying 101" at their BR store. FT101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided, but bring tools if you have some. Class size limited so registration required. Call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday kicks off "Conclave Season" across the deep South. A conclave is a public event where there are programs, fly tying demos and sometimes clinics, casting demos and clinics, exhibitors and vendors, and various other activities related to our sport. In most cases, food and refreshments are available. Admission is usually free or a nominal fee that includes the entire family. To offset the costs, there are typically raffles or silent auctions. In some cases, there might be additional activities, for example, kayak demos. While most flyrodders use the lexicon "conclave", these events usually are named "expo", "festival", or "fair". Coming up in February, we have several conclaves - the Ed Rizzolo Tying Festival (Feb. 6 in Houston, TX), Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest (Feb. 13 in Murfreesboro, AR), Acadiana Conclave (Feb. 20 in Lafayette, LA). One event that usually is on the list is the Guadalupe River Trout Fest in New Braunfels which was cancelled this year.

Of all the conclaves, the Ed Rizzolo Tying Festival boasts one of the largest number of demo fly tiers, averaging between 60 and 100. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers of Houston, it was formerly known as the "Texas Fly Tying Festival" and renamed in honor of club member Dr. Ed Rizzolo, a widely-respected tier and teacher who conducted clinics for the club and who started this great event. Sadly, Ed is no longer with us, having passed away a couple years ago. But forum member "Animal Chris" Sumers continues with the organization of one of my favorite events each year. One can sit and watch tiers from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas or elsewhere. Or cast one of the new rods from TFO or other vendors. There's always a celebrity tier and this year that person is Drew Chicone. Drew is an author, writer, fly designer, and photographer. His book credits include his latest "Redfish Flies", and his many flies include the GT Pinfish, Disco Shrimp, Drew's Redfish Fly, and my favorite, the Gummy Minnow. The Festival will be held at it's usual place, Bethany Christian Church Hall at 3223 Westheimer in Houston. Time is 8:30am to 4:30pm. Admission is $10 adults, $15 family, children under 12 free. Lunch and refreshments are available. For more info, check out the post in our forum or go to www.texasflyfishers.org.

Euro-nymphing for bream? Czech it out! It's the topic of my Fly Lines column in the February issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, now available at sporting goods and convenience stores statewide. Euro-nymphing in all it's various forms is quite the craze for coldwater trout, especially on large tailwaters. But by adapting a few of the concepts, it's a proven killer on early season redears. Particularly those that spawn deep or pre-stage in 3 to 8 feet of water. Other columns - Chris Holmes talks about the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's year-long catch and photo tournament and how it benefits folks whose schedule can't accomodate tournaments. He also gives tips for measuring and photographing your fish. Jerald Horst tells us why "croakers are croaking" and the good ol' days of bull croaker catches. Jerald and his wife Glenda give us some recipes for "Shrimp and Corn Soup" in their Seafood Bible column. Feature articles include "Slow Hand" by Rusty Tardo on why working lures slow this month in Dularge can produce trout and reds (flies would apply as well). Jerald Horst tells why Millers Lake is a black crappie mecca - and it's currently back open after duck season. I'll probably be headed there soon. Another hot spot for February is going to be Toledo Bend - and you can guess why! Chris Berzas gives tips on where to look for the lunkers. It's not just here in central Louisiana that the fishing is hot, the Pearl River can be good as well and Joel Masson tells where to target bass even if the weather turns cold.

Sunday, January 24, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on 1400 Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month, guest speaker will be Jim Wright. Jim is sales associate with the Orvis store in Baton Rouge and specializes in fishing on the Lower Mountain Fork in southeast Oklahoma. Jim will speak on fly fishing the LMF, including the changes to the river and fishery brought on by the floods of the past year. He will also speak and demonstrate some of the latest products from Orvis. 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 leading the group on tying Tube Flies. The public is welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Tuesday Tying Clinic" inside the White River Fly Shop. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your own tools, if none, a few sets are available for use. Materials are provided. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. Time is 7:00pm. Location TBA. The public is invited. Starting at noon Friday, and continuing thru noon Sunday, it's the 7th annual "Red River Rendezvous" at Bonham State Park in northeast Texas. Hosted by the Red River Fly Fishers, the event was moved from Beavers Bend State Park a few weeks back due to the park closure from flooding. The RRR has no organized activities other than a dinner on Friday night and pot luck on Saturday and Sunday morning. Instead, there's a wide variety of fly tying that goes on. Similiar to the Toledo Bend Rendezvous held in November. Cost is $10 per person for the weekend; accomodations must be made separately. For more info, go to www.rrff.org. On Saturday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their annual "Frozen Chozen" outing for rainbow trout to the Little Missouri River in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. For details, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Saturday, the Orvis Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" clinic at their Perkins-Rowe store. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic that covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting (one hour of casting instruction). For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7296. Also on Saturday, the Orvis BR store will hold a "Fly Tying 101" session at their store on Bluebonnet. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. There is no cost, but registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FT101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle of Lafayette will hold a "Kayaking 101" clinic. Time is 10:00am. Cost is $45 per person, and includes instruction, use of kayak, PFD, paddle. For more info or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Correction and clarification. In Thursday's posting, I mentioned that the recent Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's Minimalist Challenge spurred some internet debate on several forums after an article by Todd Masson of NOLA.COM concerning undersized speckled trout. I stated in Thursday's post that "quite a number of trout were weighed in that weren't quite 12 inches in size". WHAT I SHOULD HAVE STATED WAS THIS - "quite a number of trout were brought to the scales that weren't quite 12 inches in size". Each fish brought to the scales in the club's kayak tournaments are measured prior to being weighed. If the redfish doesn't touch the 16-inch mark or touches, or goes over, the 27-inch mark, it's disqualifed. Any speck that doesn't touch the 12-inch mark is also disqualified. So only "legal" fish were weighed in. As to why there were a good number of trout under the 12-inch mark brought to the scales? Well, that was the subject of Todd's article. Nobody intentionally broke any laws or rules... it's just that trout DO shrink as much as a 1/4-inch when placed on ice. The question that Todd brought up - applying to kayakers, boaters, bank fishermen, and guide captains - is that, knowing the trout will shrink, do you keep a 12-inch fish when caught? Knowing that the LDWF agent may or may not take shrinkage into account, it's probably best to play it safe and release any trout less than 12-1/4 or red less than 16-1/4 inches.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
We were saddened on news of the passing of Jack Dial. He was 69. Jack was a very active member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers and served on their board of directors as well as their fly tying chairman. He was also a member of their weekly "Lunch Bunch" gathering that met to talk fishing and tell stories. He and his son Jonathon spent a good deal of time fishing. Jack was a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans and served in the US Air Force in Vietnam. In the last few years, his condition digressed from a neurological disorder and he was unable to tie flies or even enjoy time on the water. Visitation will be at St. Thomas More Catholic Church at 10am Friday, with funeral mass following at 11am. Our thoughts and prayers go to Jack and his family.

Sunday, January 17, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on East Prien Lake Road. Fly tying and discussion start at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's pattern will be Lance Egan's Rainbow Warrior. Beginners are 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 Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda is this year's tournaments, location feature and tackle tips. The public is welcome. For more info, go www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Tom Bullock will be tying a pheasant tail nymph. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Everyone is invited. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. There is no cost, but registration is required as class size is limited. Orvis FT101 is a one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic on the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. For more info, or to register, call Alex at 225-757-7286.

They'll be talking about this one for years to come. No, it's not yesterday's Packers-Cardinals NFL playoff game. Even though that too will go down as one of the great classics. Instead we're talking about the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Minimalist Challenge" which was held yesterday out of the Leeville Launch. Almost 125 puddlers set out from the public launch around sunrise and just about everyone came back with fish - and then some! To say the marsh fishing was on fire would have to be the understatement of the century (so far). Over 1,000 pounds of fish were weighed in and that doesn't tell half the story! Several dozen bull reds were caught and released (fish 27 inches and over must be released) and several hundred speckled trout were caught and released (12-inch minimum). In addition, the very few who didn't weigh in fish actually had fish to weigh in, but opted not to wait in line for an hour or more (realizing they probably wouldn't win something). Two reports had reds fighting over a topwater, with one trying to eat the lure hanging from another's mouth! I'm not sure if the milder-than-normal winter or just the perfect storm (literally) of the right conditions, but for anyone hoping for a repeat performance, this coming Wednesday appears to be it. After Wednesday, higher winds followed by a strong cold front will slow things down.

Meanwhile, in north Louisiana... The North Louisiana Fly Fishers held at a "Realistic Tying Workshop" yesterday at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Nationally-renown realistic tier Fred Hannie of Lake Charles led a group of 21 tiers and a few observers to tie a crawfish and an ant. I was in attendance and I've got to say there was some very good crawfish tied. In fact, one tier - who will remain anonymous - was going to take his home and boil it! Call me old-fashioned, but I like my crawfish with a bit less mono and flexament. Anywho, the NLFF club has a raffle going on up until their Caddo Conclave in April. It's a complete tying set featuring a Peak Rotary Vise, numerous tools, accessories, and some tying materials. The set is worth over $400. Tickets are $20 each. I'll be posting complete details in the forum later this week.

Latest news from Ouachita trout waters. The two most popular tailwater fisheries among Louisiana trout enthusiasts are Lower Mountain Fork (Broken Bow, OK) and the Little Missouri (Murfreesboro, AR). Both have been ravaged by record rainfall this winter, the LMF in Beavers Bend State Park much moreso. Beavers Bend is still closed and will be until the water main is repaired and cabins have water. Even if the park was open, the tainter gates are still open and could remain open for another two weeks. At least there's some good news. Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife and Conservation is continuing to stock, so the trout should be adjusted and spread out when fishing resumes. Also, Eddie Brister is clearing land for a new fly shop - this time on higher ground! The floodwaters, decimation and closure of the LMF have resulted in cancellations of trips by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, the relocation of the Red River Fly Fishers annual "Red River Rendezvous" and now the rescheduling of the Lower Mountain Fork Foundation's annual "Mystery Fly Tournament". Originally scheduled for February 27, it's been moved back to April 23rd. Meanwhile, there's better news for the Little Missouri River. The bunger valves remain open, but the lake is on the fall. Without any significant rainfall, it's possible that the 24x7 generation could also end (weekday generation only) in time for the North Louisiana Fly Fishers' annual "Frozen Chozen" at the end of this month.

Sunday, January 10, 2016
What's happening this week. A busy one ahead as meetings, events and activities get back into high gear. Not to mention the college football championship on Monday night between Clemson and the Gumps. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The public is welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Jim Kelly, officer and secretary for the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation. Jim will talk about recent flooding on the LMF in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, as well as what the near future holds, and what assistance the LMFRF might be. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church off the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. There will be fly tying as well as an update on the upcoming Natchitoches Fishing Expo set for March 5th. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. On Wednesday, Pack and Paddle at 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette will host an evening with professional kayak angler and Jackson Kayak designer, Drew Gregory. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. Gregory, host of the kayak fishing show "Hooked on Wild Waters" will talk about the development process involved in building kayaks. The public is welcome. For more details, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club will hold it's monthly meeting at Hook1 Louisiana at 1914 East 70th street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Also on Thursday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers will hold their first quarterly meeting of the new year at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:00pm. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will 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 tools, materials are provided. The club has a few tools for use during these sessions for beginners. Newbies are welcome! On Friday, and continuing thru Sunday, it's the annual State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds in Shreveport. Times are Friday 12 noon to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 8pm, Sunday 10am to 6pm. Admission is $5, under 12 free. For more details go to www.statefairoflouisiana.com. On Saturday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will host a "Realistic Fly Tying Workshop" with Fred Hannie at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required. Bring your fly tying equipment, materials are provided. For more info, check out the January issue of the NLFF newsletter posted in our forum. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of it's "Fly Tying 101" classes at their location in Perkins-Rowe off Bluebonnet . Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. The class is free, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. FT101 is a one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided, but if you have your own tools bring them. To register, contact Alex at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's the start of kayak fishing tournaments with the Bayou Coast club's annual Minimalist Challenge. Location will be the Leeville Public Launch. There's a 130 registration limit, and that limit was reached two weeks ago. Still, it should be interesting to see the results after this hard cold spell. Also on Saturday, the "Get Out and Fish" Community Fishing Program holds a rainbow trout fishing tournament at Sidney Torres Memorial Park in Chalmette. Prior to the event, LDWF will stock 600 pounds of rainbeaux trout. Categories include Little Angler (8 and under), Junior Angler (9-15), Adult Angler (16 and older). Anglers 16 and older must possess a valid fishing license. For more info or to register, go to www.wlf.la.gov and click on Get Out and Fish.

As mentioned, we have now entered into "conclave season". A conclave is old skool jargon for any gathering of fly fishers where there are defined activities and/or a formal schedule of activities, related to our sport. In some cases, they are still referred to as conclaves, but in most cases they've adapted to the titles such as "expo", "festival", "fair" and even the metrosexual "faire". The Red River Rendezvous in two weeks is more like the Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous, aka Toledo Bend Rendezvous, in that there's no formal activities. Just a lot of fly tying and cooking. Still, it's the first big event of each year. Hosted by the Red River Fly Fishers of Denison, Texas, it was to be held once again at Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. However due to the record releases from the spillway above the park, and the resulting damage to bridges and other infrastructure, the park remains closed indefinitely. As a result, RRFF has moved their Rendezvous to Bonham State Park in northeast Texas. The weekend remains the same, as does the format. For more info, go to their website at www.rrff.org.

All that flood water has to go somewhere and the Red River and Mississippi River are the recipients. The Mississippi at Baton Rouge is currently at 40 feet and expected to crest to near 44 feet on January 18th barring any more rain. That is 8 feet above flood stage. Earlier today I received an email stating that the flood gates at Morganza would be opened Monday (tomorrow) at some time, but I've not heard confirmation (or I'm too busy watching the football game). Opening the spillway would relieve pressure on the levees south of Baton Rouge. Earlier today, the Bonnet Carre Spillway near Laplace was opened to further relieve pressure on the levees around New Orleans. There's been mixed feelings about opening the Bonnet Carre, but at this time of the year it's probably not likely that algae blooms will happen. Further, the spillway openings have had resulted in great fishing in the northshore rivers and Highway 51 canals in summer and even the following year. The Morganza opening would be a boon for anglers in the Sherburne area, though it's going to ruin the remainder of deer hunting season.

Sunday, January 3, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Ascension Parish Library in Gonzales will host a free Fly Tying Class at their South Irma branch. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. There's no fee. Session will cover the basics of tying fresh and saltwater flies. Bring your tools, materials provided. For more info, contact instructor Darrell Crawford at 225-644-7989 or email wimpflies@gmail.com. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" class. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. There's no fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic which applies basic casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. For more info, or to register, contact Alex at 225-757-7296.

In today's Advocate newspaper Outdoors section, Joe Macaluso has compiled a calendar of outdoors events for 2016. For anyone who gets the Advocate, or has access at their local market or other store, you might want to pick up a copy as most of the fly fishing events we list on our calendar are in this issue. I find the printed copy sometimes more convenient than our web version, but as always, check our website just to make sure as some dates and locations do change during the year (as well as some added).

The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual Minimalist Challenge is in two weeks - Saturday, January 16 - but it's already closed to registration. Yep, that's right. The tournament accepts just 130 entries and it reached that number just after Christmas! One reason for the popularity of the Minimalist is that it's the club's first of five smaller "Series tournaments" that go to awarding Angler of the Year. Everyone jumps on this one, then as soon as Steve Lessard, Brendan Bayard (and a few others) have established themselves as solid favorites to win AOY, the crowds thin for the remaining events. Which is good, because these smaller events are GREAT opportunities for newbies to come in, learn a spot, learn from experienced anglers, and not feel lost in the crowd. I've posted the entire list of BCKFC tournaments on our calendar page - including their Paddlepalooza, one of four major kayak tournaments in Louisiana each year, and the 3rd largest in the country.

The 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour has revealed it's list of films, and the trailers can be seen at www.flyfilmtour.com. The 3FT will be making only one showing in Louisiana, at Orvis in Baton Rouge on Friday, February 19. Tickets are $15 and available only thru the Orvis store. Doors open at 6:00pm, with the show starting at 7:00pm. Orvis is donating some excellent giveaways and there'll be refreshments for a nomimal amount. Best yet, the proceeds from this event will benefit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. One warning... there are a limited number of tickets available for this showing. When all the tickets are sold, that's it! So get yours early as the 3FT has sold out at Orvis the last two years. For more info, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

Saturday, January 2, 2016
2016 marks our 20th anniversary as a website. In 1996, we formed as "Louisiana Fly Fishing Journal" and in 1997, changed our name to "Louisiana Fly Fishing" and procured our current domain name. As the story goes, I attended a workshop on HTML and website creation and immediately put the newfound knowledge to work supporting my favorite hobby. But some credit goes to Scott Long of DandyDon.com who gave me guidance and inspiration. Scott's website - which he created for his dad Don Long to report on LSU Sports - was as much a news blog as it was static content and that's been the theme I've maintained here.

A couple new additions for 2016 to our site. We'll have a new page up soon listing the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) state top 10 Fly Rod Division records. Currently, the LOWA site is the only location for this listing (RodnReel.com has a listing but it's over 5 years old). The problem is that the LOWA listing contains ALL the records and it's a PDF download which is tedious and time-consuming on a mobile device. Also, some have reported that LOWA records page is often down (I spoke to Lyle Johnson and this is an issue he's aware of). While our record list won't be the most recent - we plan to update on a quarterly basis - it will still be of great convenience to our readers and other fly fishers who might hook up into that unexpected beast of a fish.

Another new addition will be a Rio Grande record list. The Rio Grande cichlid is considered an invasive species and therefore the LOWA has no interest in maintaining their records. We certainly understand that. However, being an independent entity, we have no qualms with maintaining records for this highly-sought fly rod species. So starting this year, we're going to maintain a top 10 listing for the Rio Grande Perch. The application will be free, and the process will be somewhat easy. Here's an overview of how it'll work: (1) catch a rio, (2) take a photo of the fish with the fly and fly rod in the picture (3) get the fish weighed on a LDAF-approved scale and get a picture of the fish on the scale (4) on an application form, record the weight and get a witness of the weigh-in with contact info. (5) email the photos and the application form. No need to mail it in, but I will have a mailing address just in case.

Friday, January 1, 2016
Welcome to 2016. First off, wishing all our LFF Community and their loved ones the best wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous year ahead. May your flies get victimized early and often by various piscatorial predators! And may there be many great fishing stories to tell... even if some are borderline truth. lol. As you can see from the Calendar page, there are many great activities coming up this year for those of us who pursue fish on the fly and/or from a paddlecraft (or peddlecraft). Fishing-wise, this promises to be another great year. No killer hurricanes or killer freezes or major oil spills in 2015 to setback what was a terrific year for coastal fishing. With lots of rain this past fall and winter, the lakes in north and central Louisiana are full to the brim, and hopefully full of bream for this spring!

Louisiana... they're trying to wash us away. Randy Newman's song keeps playing in my head everytime I look at the latest river stages for the Mississippi and Red Rivers. All that flood water being released from the dams in Oklahoma and Arkansas is coming downstream. The current crest projection for the Big Muddy at Baton Rouge is 44 feet on January 16. That could go up with more rain in the watershed. Regardless, that's enough water to force the Corps to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway and/or the Morganza Spillway. It's doubtful the Morganza will open because the Red is so high (both flow into the Atchafalaya at Morgan City). That means Bonnet Carre is the likely release valve.

The state of the Lower Mountain Fork and Little Mo. As most LFF readers know, these are two tailwater fisheries 2.5 hours north of Shreveport that hold trout year-round and are popular coldwater destinations for Louisiana trout enthusiasts. LMF in southeast Oklahoma (within Beavers Bend State Park) and Little Missouri in southwest Arkansas. Both of the tailwater lakes have exceeded flood pool for the second time in 8 months, and as a result, there's a whole lot of generation (and releasing) going on! Spillway Creek on LMF saw a record volume of water flow through the spillway gates this past week and the result was another reshaping of the river, including a new creek, and with bridges and the fly shop wiped out. Beavers Bend State Park remains closed and likely will remain so for a few weeks. The Little Mo is in better shape but it could be 24x7 generation for the next few weeks. I suggest using the LINKS on the right column of this page to keep up with the latest on Lower Mountain Fork and Little Missouri.

Best of 2015, and whats to come in 2016. In the January issue of Louisiana Sportsman, I take a look back at the past year, and recognize outstanding achievements in Louisiana fly fishing. This is the 3rd year I've done a "Best" list, and it's become very popular. Not just with Louisiana fly anglers, but with North Koreans (I only report the facts, I don't try to explain them). Congrats to Stephen Robert, Kevin "MusicDoc" Andry, Scott Myers, Gary Peterson, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers, and the New Orleans Fly Fishers. I also look ahead to 2016, highlighting several of the many events and activities taking place in our state and across the region. Also in the January issue: in his "Paddles 'N Puddles" column, Chris Holmes gives the best methods for anchoring a kayak. In the Seafood Bible, Glenda and Jerald Horst visit with celebrity cook "Uncle Larry" Roussel and share his recipes for Cajun Stir-Fry Shrimp and Lima Beans and Shrimp. Keith LaCaze tells why litter is a problem across this state, with a couple ugly photos taken just down the road from where I live. Yikes! In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst details the often-overlooked snowy grouper. In articles of interest, Rusty Tardo tells us about the short-run opportunities out of Reggio during winter for reds and specks. Jerald Horst tells about the great yellow bass run out of Caney Lake in winter. David Brown keys us on the conditions that "flip the switch" and get early season bass looking for areas to bed. As always, there's regional fishing forecasts and tidal and solunar charts for the month.

The winter issue of Tide magazine is out. Tide is the official publication of the Coastal Conservation Association, and part of the perks to CCA members with their membership. This is one of the best saltwater magazines in my collection, and this issue demonstrates why. Patrick Murray does a second installment on "Mythbusting", where he takes on several of the commonly held fishing axioms, proving that they're not always true. In "Lessons Learned", writer Charlie Levine gives the life story of Florida guide Captain Steve Huff, one of the most revered and innovative fly saltwater fly anglers of the past 50 years. Brian Holden writes about winter patterns for speckled trout and redfish. Chris Holmes writes about Louisiana's "Rigs to Reefs" program and how it's helping to restore historical fishing hotspots. Also: CCA's mission to restore marsh areas; the success of reopening Texas' Cedar Bayou to the Gulf; reports from across the states on CCA activities, including Maryland CCA's upcoming TieFest fly fishing festival featuring Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, and other recognized fly experts.

Now is the time for all good tiers to come to the aid of their clubs. Or their favorite clubs, if they don't belong to one. February marks the beginning of the "conclave season". Conclaves are 1-2 day celebrations of fly fishing, often referred to as festivals, fairs, or expos, and sponsored by clubs and other non-profit organizations. A conclave features programs, fly tying demos, casting demos, exhibitors, and more. All are open to the public, most are free, and most feature regional experts, certified casting instructors and accomplished fly tiers. In a few cases, a nationally-recognized headliner is featured. To offset the costs associated - and keep it free to the public - clubs hold silent auctions and raffles at these events. The most popular item in these raffles are boxes of flies. In most cases, a box of 6 to 12 flies works, the number depending on the type and complexity of the flies. With cold weather expected to persist - the mammoth El Nino is expected to reverse it's December pattern and give us cold weather through February - it makes for a good excuse to hone your tying skills, build up inventory for the fishing season ahead, and put a few aside for conclave donations. Your donation of flies (and anything else) not only helps to offset costs of these events, but also make enough money to donate to projects and causes. Examples: Acadiana Fly Rodders "Reel Recovery Retreat", and Red Stick Fly Fishers BREC ponds enhancement projects. Check the LFF Calendar out for upcoming events. Make plans to attend at least one this winter/spring, and if you tie flies, donate at least a box or two of your flies. Thanks!

Sunday, December 20, 2015
Merry Christmas everyone! As usual this time of year, activities are null as everyone is enjoying the holidays. We'll be taking a couple weeks off ourselves and post back around New Years. If anything comes up, we'll post in the forum. Hopefully some of you are able to get out on the water over the holidays, especially those locations where the rainbeaux trout have been stocked. On the coast, marsh fishing remains very good, and it's a great time to take kids out and get them into reds, specks, drum, flounder, sheepshead. Regardless, here's wishing a most blessed Christmas for all our members and friends! And hopefully, something under the tree that can help us catch more fish... or at least make the trip more enjoyable! And let's not forget the reason for the season: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.".

What's happening this week - and next. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Note that this is the 3rd Monday instead of the usual 4th Monday. The club holds their tying in December a week earlier because of the holidays. As always, the public is welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Saturday, January 2nd, the Orvis store will begin their winter educational sessions with a "Fly Fishing 101" workshop. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. The Orvis FF101 is a free, one day, 2-hour course focused on the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There's one hour of rigging and one hour of casting instruction. Pre-registration is required as class size is limited - and these classes usually fill up! For more info, or to register, contact Alex Beane at (225)757-7286.

As mentioned, the Orvis winter classes begin January 2nd. There's Fly Fishing 101, Fly Fishing 201, and Fly Tying 101. All are free and open to the public. Class size for each is limited, so pre-registration is required. I strongly suggest looking at the LFF Calendar page and checking out the available dates. If you or someone you know is interested, sign up as early as possible as most of these sessions do fill up in advance of the class. Especially the FF201 sessions. I've had a number of folks tell me they learned a lot more from actually applying basic knowledge to on-the-water situations.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Get Out and Fish Chalmette has been postponed - again. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has announced that the rainbow trout tournament scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed to January 16. That means that the rainbow trout stocking - which was to take place prior to the event - will also be postponed until January. All this is due to warmer water temperatures expected over the next few weeks - at least for Chalmette. I'm not privy to what current water temps are for Sydney Torres pond. I checked one lake here in Cenla this morning and it's at 61. That's about 5 degrees warmer than it was last year this time. Like most of the eastern part of the country, it's been a warmer-than-normal December. Rainbow trout begin to stress at 68 degrees water temperature, stop growing at 73 degrees, and begin to die at 77 degrees. How will this affect stockings in the Baton Rouge, Gonzales, and Lafayette areas? Consider that the forecast for Chalmette thru New Years calls for highs in the 70s and lows in the low 50s to low 60s. By contrast, the forecast for Baton Rouge calls for highs in the 60s and 70s, and lows in the 40s to low 50s. So there's reason to hope BREC ponds will get trout before January 1st.

Destination Texas Expo set for September 8 thru 10. Destination Texas is the name for the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Texas Council's annual fly fishing fair, aka "conclave". For 2016, it'll have a new location and new time of year. The first two expos were held in May/June in New Braunfels. This coming year, it'll be held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; Grapevine Convetion Center to be exact. Some of the casting, kayaking and other on-the-water activities will take place at Lake Grapevine. Russell Husted, IFFF Texas president, pointed out that with a population of 6 million, the DFW metroplex gives them an opportunity to reach to a much broader audience. Look for expo details to be posted this spring at www.txflyfishexpo.com.

The IFA Kayak Tour has announced their 2016 schedule. The Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) presented by Hobie Fishing has five regional divisions each with two tournaments. Regional qualifiers are eligible for the national championship in October. The Louisiana Division will hold their events on Sunday, May 15, at Lafitte and on Sunday, August 7, at Houma. The national championship location has not been announced. The last two years its been held in Louisiana, so odds are it'll be held somewhere else for 2016. Each IFA-KT tournament is a CPR format (catch-photograph-release) with 100 percent payout. For more info, go to www.ifatours.com.

Pack and Paddle has announced their Spring Demo weekend. PnP typically holds one major demo in Spring, but it's a biggie. It starts with their "Beer and Gear" on Friday night at their store on East Pinhook in Lafayette. Company reps and pro staff members are on hand to answer questions about a variety of kayaks and kayak accessories. Especially fishing related products. On Saturday, the on-the-water demo will feature new models from Jackson, Hobie, Wilderness, Native, NuCanoe, Wenonah, Riviera, Bote Board and more. The dates for 2016 are Friday, March 4th and Saturday, March 5th.

The above mentioned dates and all other 2016 events are being added to our 2016 Calendar almost on a daily basis. We even have a couple events already scheduled for 2017! If you see your activity, or one you know about, and the date or information is incorrect, please respond by Friday. I'm using our calendar as basis for submissions to the Advocate Outdoors annual calendar, to be published on Sunday, January 3rd.

Sunday, December 13, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their annual Christmas gathering in lieu of their monthly meeting. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual Holiday gathering in lieu of their monthly meeting. On Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their annual Holiday gathering at Pack and Paddle. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the St. Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and conversation at 6:00pm, meeting begins at 7:00pm. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Buddy Bethea will be tying the sowbug. As always, beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, a few available for use during session. Materials are provided. On Saturday, the Torres Memorial Park in Chalmette will host a fishing tournament under the LDWF's "Get Out and Fish!" community fishing program. Prior to the tournament, LDWF will stock 600 pounds of rainbow trout. The tournament is open to all ages. Age categories are Little Angler (8 and under), Junior Angler (9-15), Adult Angler (16 and older). In each category, prizes will go for Heaviest Rainbow Trout and Heaviest Other Fish. For more info, or to register, go to www.wlf.la.gov.

Rainbeaux trout season begins this week in Louisiana. As mentioned, the Get Out and Fish tournament in Chalmette on Saturday will be preceded by a stocking of trout. On "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" radio show yesterday morning, LDWF's director of community fishing program, Danica Williams, mentioned that Zeemurray Park in Hammond will receive a stocking of trout this week also. She also stated that LDWF is working with BREC and ponds in East Baton Rouge will be stocked either this week or next, along with Girard Park in Lafayette. Currently, there are 3 ponds managed by the GOAF program - Torres, Zeemurray and Girard. However, Williams mentioned that in Spring of next year they'll be evaluating ponds in Alexandria and Shreveport for addition to the GOAF program.

Christmas trees to save our coast. For residents in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, the best gift for the coming year might not be under the Christmas tree, but the tree itself. By recycling live trees, they will be used to provide wave barriers in marsh to help prevent coastal erosion and save coastal communities. To participate in the Christmas Tree Recycling Program, residents should put their trees out for collection from January 4th through 8th, or deliver them to the parish collection areas - 263 Ashland Landfill Road, 651 Isle of Cuba Road in Schriever, or 160 Crochetville Road in Montegut. Only green trees removed of all lights and ornaments can be used. The trees will be placed in retention fences, in rows. Wave action that carries sediment is slowed, and the sediment deposited along the rows. Breaking of the wave action also reduces the rate of erosion.

Sunday, December 6, 2015
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. This month, the club welcomes guest speaker Steve Hollensed. Steve is a north Texas fly fishing guide from instructor who specializes in stripers, smallmouth and largemouth bass. He's also a member of the IFFF Casting Board of Governors. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church off the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. On Thursday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will host their annual "Pint Night", a fundraiser for Heroes on the Water. Doors open at 6:00pm. A $15 donation at the door gets an all access pass to beer and live music. The first 250 entries get a free commemorative pint glass. Music will be by 2-time Grammy nominee Cedric Watson. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Turkey Trout Throwdown" tournament at Cypremont Point State Park. It's open to the public, entry fee is $25. Shotgun launch at 6:30am, weigh-in at 2:00pm. Heaviest 5-fish stringer of speckled trout wins. For more info, or to register, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, the Fishing Tackle Unlimited store in Houston, 8723 Katy Freeway location, will host their annual Inshore Light Tackle and Fly Fishing Expo. Time is 10:00am to 5:00pm. Headliners are Enrico Puglisi, creator of EP materials and EP Flies, world renown tarpon guru and host of Sportsmens Journal TV show, Andy Mill, and renown Texas guide Chuck Naiser. Other speakers include Capt. Scott Null and Micheal Harris of Jackson Kayak. Several of the area's top fly tiers will be demonstrating, as well as rod builder Kenny Murph. For more info, go to www.fishingtackleunlimited.com and click on "Events". On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will hold another "Kayaking 101" basic skills of flatwater kayaking. Cost is $45 and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD, and instruction. Seats are limited, so register early. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Enhancement of the Independence Island reef in Barataria Bay took place last week. An addition of 6,700 tons of limestone was added to a previously barren section of the 50-acre artificial reef, which is located north of Grand Terre. The limestone rocks create two parallel mounds that will provide feeding and shelter habitat for specks, reds, drum, and other species in this arear with strong tidal flow. The reef has been one of many ongoing reef projects between Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association (CCA).

This Aggie story is no joke. We LSU fans love to make fun of our rivals at Texas A&M by telling Aggie jokes. Such as "Heard about the Texas Aggie who became a carpenter? He cut a board, it was too short. Cut it 3 more times, it was still too short.". Well here's a kudos to the folks at Texas A&M. This Friday they held a concert for the fly fishing charity Project Healing Waters. There was just one artist, but what an artist - Gary Morris! I could hardly believe when I read it... Morris was one of the top country performers back in the 80s with a string of number one hits. After 15 years of not touring, Morris came back last year with a charity Christmas concert schedule. And he's repeating it this year. One of his several charity goals is to raise money for veterans and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) has gotten his support via several concerts. According to an article in the TAM campus newspaper, The BATT, Morris met a veteran who had served in Afghanistan and suffered traumatic brain injury. The vet said that PHWFF not only changed his life, it saved his life. To hear the emotion of one of America's heroes convinced Morris that PHWFF was a charity he needed to support and stay with. If you want to learn more about Gary Morris' support for Project Healing Waters, check out his website at www.garymorris.com. And if you have a chance to see him in concert, absolutely do!

Thursday, December 3, 2015
The December issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available in convenience and sporting goods stores. Most of the content is hunting related, as we're in the middle of the seasons. But fishing - and cooking - is a 365-day activity here and so there's plenty of both to whet the anglers' apetite. In my "Fly Lines" column, I explain why, come winter, speckled trout become LSU fans. They may not bleed purple-and-gold, but they do eat purple-and-gold. In his "Puddles 'n Paddles" column, kayak fishing editor Chris Holmes lists 11 products that the kayak angler might want to find under the Christmas tree. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst reports on a study by Paige O'Malley, a Nichols State University graduate student on movement of bass during hypoxic conditions. Great article, with some very interesting results. In their "Seafood Bible" column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share recipes from Dr. Bob Weiss, including Oysters and Tasso cream-sauce pasta and oven-finished Panko Trout with baked tomatoes. Yum, yum! Fishing articles include the story behind the state's pending record tarpon - possibly a USA record as well - a 246-pounder caught off Grand Isle in October. Patrick Bonin tells of a green trout - green speckled trout - caught in Bay St. Louis. David Brown explains why jigs are effective in cold water situations for bass. Chris Ginn writes about one tournament angler whose shallow-minded when targeting bass on cold days. BUT... the article that most LaFlyFish.com readers will enjoy is a hunting story about Paul Lawler's encounter with a rattlesnake. Paul is a member of the North Louisiana Fly Fishers, a member of our LFF forum, and along with his brother, Don, one of the most active fly tiers in the region. For all of you who know Paul, you won't be surprised one bit what he did with that snake!

The Fall 2015 issue of Flyfisher magazine is out. Flyfisher is the official publication of the International Federation of Fly Fishers and one of the perks of membership in the IFFF. I've said on many occasions, this is one of the best magazines of our sport, with many articles of interest to the average fly angler. The latest issue is a good example... the theme is saltwater fishing on the Gulf Coast. It also features several Louisiana flyfishers or members of our forum, or folks we know. In Tying Editor Verne Lehmberg's "Focus on the Fly", featured flies include the "Pinfish" by Fred Hannie, "Coma Spoon" by Catch Cormier, "Lefty's Deciever" by Chris Sumers. Other regional tiers - Steve Flanagan, Kevin Hutchinson, Jerry Loring, Rosario Martinez - also have flies featured. Fred Hannie is the featured tier in the "At The Vise" column. He gives step-by-step instructions for his "Marsh Candy". Folks attending his tying clinic on January 16 - hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers - might want to check this article out. Among the many columns... Casting Editor of Flyfisher is Louisiana's own Tom Tripi. He writes about casting from skinny water boats - pirogues and kayaks - and techniques for practicing casting from plastic boats. In the "Obituaries" column, sad to say there's names there that many of us recognize - Slim Mitchell, Oscar Feliu, Chet Smith, and Diana Turner (this is one column we never want to see people we know). Feature articles include "A Case of the Disappearing Bluegills" by Terry and Roxanne Wilson. There's a recap of awards from the IFFF Fly Fishing Fair held in August. Several names familiar to Louisiana fly flingers were recognized - Mike George won the Buszek Memorial Award for fly tying achievement, Fred DuPre won the the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award, Duane Hada won the Dr. James Henshall Warm Water Fisheries Award, Rick Pope won the Silver King Award, Steve Hollensed won the Casting Board of Governors Mel Krieger Instructors Award. IFFF Councils also submit candidates for the Council Awards of Excellence. Recipients from the Gulf Coast Council were Jeff Deuschle and Ken Koffel. Southern Council winner was Steve Jensen, and Texas Council winner was Lee Yeager. Each award winner has a brief writeup about them and their contributions to our sport. If you don't get Flyfisher magazine, I suggest joining the IFFF - for $35 a year ($85 for 3 years) you'll be getting a great magazine and supporting a great cause!

Sunday, November 29, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant located inside the Ramada Inn on 1400 Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing on Saturday, it's the biennial "Renzetti Fly Fishing and Rod Building Fair" in Titusville, Florida. The fair features the biggest names in fly fishing and dozens of vendors, fly tiers, and rod building exhibitors. Admission is $15, and the Friday night banquet "An Evening With The Legends" benefits Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters. For more info, go to www.renzetti.com.

Speck-tacular fishing right now. After the big cold front 12 days ago, that brought the first freeze down to the southern part of the state, the speckled trout bite pretty much shut down. Good catches of redfish and flounder remained, but wind, wind, and more wind hampered flycasters. This past week we saw moderation in temperatures and wind - and the trout responded. The reports I've gotten since Thanksgiving Day have been nothing short of fantastic. The diversity of locations - from roadside pits to marsh bayous to open lakes - means that fly anglers can accomodate their favorite style of fishing and still have success. A lot of the trout are being caught on clousers under VOSIs, on various charlies, streamers like Whitlock Baitfish and Seaducers, even spoon flies. But the best fly has been poppers. Poppers are not just catching the bigger fish, but it's the most fun. The key to fishing poppers for trout is to NOT set the hook on the visual strike. Specks are notorious for short strikes. Instead, feel the strike, then strip-set the hook.

25 Best Towns for Fly Fishing for Trout. That's the title of a new book by author and writer Bob Mallard of Maine. Mallard is also the author of "25 Best Places: Fly Fishing the Northeast" and "50 Best Places: Fly Fishing for Brook Trout". He also contributed to "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish". So you get the picture... Mallard likes lists! In "25 Best Towns" for trout, he evaluated feedback from anglers across the country. The featured towns are places where anglers can stay and have access to not one, but multiple blue-ribbon trout fisheries while there. These are also places where non-fishing accomplices can pursue other interests. As the press release states, "This means more time on the water and less time behind the wheel". For the Louisiana fly angler planning a destination trip, this book could be well worth the $29.95 suggested retail price. Published by Stonefly Press, it's now available for pre-order. For more info, or to order, go to www.stoneflypress.com.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving! This day means many things to many different people. For most, it's a day of feasting with friends and family. The turkey, roast, venison, duck or other hearty meat that has been slowly cooked is delivered to the dining table accompanied by veggies, casseroles, and desserts (most notably, pumpkin pie). Here in Louisiana, there's a good chance that bird of choice is stuffed with crawfish or shrimp. Or that one of the "veggies" is sweet potatos or corn machcoux, and maybe even jambalaya. I'm getting hungry just tying this, lol! For some, today marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Sad but true... some retailers can no longer honor the tradition of Black Friday and keep today one for the family. And then there's the real purpose of this day - which many of us still honor - to give thanks for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. This morning at mass, our priest mentioned that despite our hardships, we in Louisiana have much to be thankful for. The words "crawfish", "shrimp", "fish" came up... yes, we DO have much bounty that God has given us here in the Sportsmans Paradise. But as he pointed out, the best he's given us is each other. Just in the fly fishing and kayak fishing realms, there are so many wonderful folks. I'm so blessed to have met and known many of them and hope to meet many others in the coming year.

Thomas and Thomas has a new website. T&T made a big impression at ICAST back in July. Once considered one of the top 3 fly rod manufacturers, the Connecticut-based company underwent ownership changes and some hard times, and in the process, disappeared from a large number of fly shops. But 34-year-old coffee entrepeneur Neville Orsmand came forward and purchased the company. Living just a few miles from the factory, he's a hands-on owner with a strong passion for making T&T great again. His first move was genius - he brought back T&T founder and legendary rod designer Tom Dorsey. I can tell you that their new rods I tested at ICAST were as good as any I've ever cast! But of course, having a great product doesn't help if folks don't know about it. I've seen many good products suffer - even go out of business - because they had no website or a poor website. T&T recently upgraded theirs and it looks terrific. Just as important - it doesn't have all kinds of gimmicky stuff on the page that impedes downloading or navigating. Simple, yet elegant. Much like their fly rods. For more info, go to www.thomasandthomas.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2015
What's happening this week. It's Thanksgiving and that means holidays, Black Friday sales (some starting as early as Wednesday) and a light schedule for fly fishing and kayak fishing activities. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Kenny Robertson of LDWF Enforcement Division who will speak about regulations and safety. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. The public is welcome.

Louisiana has a new governor. In yesterday's runoff election, John Bel Edwards outgained Senator David Vitter for the state's highest office. The governor's position is crucial to sport fishermen, as the governor appoints the Secretary of Wildlife and Fisheries as well as members to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The governor can also lead, support or veto legislation regarding fisheries. In the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, each of the primary candidates was asked a series of questions regarding their history of outdoors and their positions on certain issues. Edwards mentioned that he grew up camping and floating the Tangipahoa River, and that he's caught a 200-pound hammerhead shark and killed a 1,700-pound moose. He plans to appoint someone to the LDWF Secretary position that is an outdoors person who believes in conservation and sound management. He supports lifting the restraints placed on the department by the Jindal administration, and will work to restore the funds raided from the Rigs to Reefs program.

Louisiana has a new lieutenant governor. Billy Nungesser, former Plaquemines Parish president, will serve in the state's second-highest position. The lieutenant governor administers the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which includes state parks. As such, this position can also be important for recreational fishing interests. Nungesser enjoys fishing and has been very active in conservation organizations over the years. I think he'll be a strong voice for sport fishermen and outdoors folks in general.

Restoration of False River moving forward. I've posted to this website, written in my Louisiana Sportsman column, mentioned it in one of my freshwater presentations - but I'll say it again. False River was once one of the best warmwater fly fisheries in the country! This oxbow lake near New Roads was the destination of most of my fly fishing trips from 1980 until it's demise 20 years later. LDWF rated it a quality fishery for bass and stripers. But the bluegill and redear is what made it truly special. Size-wise, not the big stumpknockers like nearby Old River or the Atchafalaya Spillway, but ridiculous numbers of 7 to 8-inch fish. And they absolutely loved wet flies and nymphs! Drainage of the island area led to sedimentation over the spawning beds, and runoff of heavy herbicide use led to the elimination of grasses that provided complex structure and the habitat for grass shrimp which was the forage for the sunfish and juvenile bass population. The False River Ecosystem Restoration Project is currently underway. It includes the creation of two islands at each end, that will receive dredge material and establish additional habitat. In addition, reefs are being built on each end. Grass is also re-establishing. To mitigate the root cause of sedimentation, the Corps of Engineers will modify the primary drainage canal into the lake, adding wiers and other structures to reduce the nutrient and sediment load. Yet another measure is a commercial netting season to eliminate rough species that compete unfavorably against game species. And if all that isn't enough, the lake has been stocked - and will continue to be stocked - with bass and redear sunfish to rebuild those fisheries. Pretty soon (we hope) fishing will be excellent again.

We're saddened to hear that Harvey Ragsdale has passed. The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Council sent out a memo that their former council president passed away Thursday at his home in Springfield, Missouri. He was 75. During the years in which Harvey served as president, and afterwards, as editor of the council newsletter (The Long Casts), several Louisiana clubs were affiliated with the Southern Council. The Long Casts newsletter under Harvey was always an enjoyable read, and many of us looked forward to each issue.

Sunday, November 15, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Church Community Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Meeting time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: the upcoming Turkey Trout tournament, fishing reports, gear tip of the month, and elections for 2016 board. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tying tools, materials are provided. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their twice-monthly fly tying session at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Five Great Locations for Kayak Fishing" seminar with local kayak anglers presenting each of their favorites in the southwest and south-central coastal areas. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. For more details, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. The one-day, 2-hour course covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with one hour of rigging and one hour of casting instruction. Other basics are discussed. There is no cost, but registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold it's final tournament of the year, the annual "Where Y'ak Tournament" out of St. Bernard Parish. Entry fee is $20. The event is open to the public. Weigh-in is at Gulf Outlet Marina from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Heaviest bag of 10 trout and 1 flounder wins. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

Houston has a new fly shop. For fly fishers in the Lake Charles area - or any of our readers in southeast Texas - the 2-hour drive (or less) to Houston provides several sources for fly tackle. Orvis, Bass Pro, Fishing Tackle Unlimited. But after the closure of iFly The Anglers Edge, there hasn't been an independent shop... until now. This weekend Bayou City Angler Fly Shop opened it's doors. Located at 3641 Westheimer Road, it offers a full line of products from Sage, Thomas and Thomas, Redington, Patagonia, Nautilus, Winston, Tibor, Rio, Umpqua and more. If this looks like a premium product fly shop, you're correct. Most box retailers target the lower end of the market, and BCA hopes to satisfy the demands for quality products. It describes itself as a "full service fly shop" which probably means additional services might include casting instruction to guided trips. Although the shop has a website (www.bayoucityangler.com) and a Facebook page, there's no mention of fly tying materials or tools. I hope that is in the works as The Anglers Edge carried a lot of hard-to-find saltwater tying materials.

We have a new World Champion Kayak Angler. The 5th annual World Kayak Fishing Championship Tournament sponsored by Hobie was held this past week on Shang Lake in China. The USA representatives included last year's World Champion, Steve Lessard from Geismar, Louisiana and fellow Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club member Benton Parrott from Daphne, Alabama who won the IFA Kayak Tour Championship earlier this month held out of Chalmette. After a tought 3 days on the water, Ma Xiao Hong of the China team, weighed in a 115-centimeter Yellow Cheek Carp to move into first place and take home the title. Second place went to Li Hai Yang - also of China - whose Top Mouth Culter earned him 45 points (tops for that species). While the USA team struggled - none finished in the top 5 - there's no question that the style of fishing and species of fish was of great advantage to the home team.

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