Thursday, March 07, 2024

LWF Commission opts for 4-fish limit

Today the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission rescinded the proposed Notice of Intent (NOI) for new redfish regulations of a 3-fish daily creel, 18"-27" slot with no overslots, and replaced it with a 4-fish daily creel, also with a 18"-27" slot (no overslots).  So basically added 1 more fish to the proposed daily limit. But in doing so, that extra fish will add 11 more years to the Spawing Potential Ration (SPR) recovery to the Conservation Standard. 

Comments were evenly divided between the 3-fish and 4-fish proponents. Two new commission members both voted for 4-fish while the retired members they replaced had both voted in support of 3-fish. CCA Louisiana has been spearheading efforts to get a 4-fish regulation in place, while Fly Fishers International Gulf Council (FFI-GCC), Louisiana Wildlife Federation, and other groups supported the 3-fish limit.

A public hearing will be held on April 29th for the modified NOI.  If no further changes are made, this proposed regulation will go into effect either July or August.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

LWF Commission to review redfish regs - again!

This Thursday, March 7th, the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission will once again review arguments and consider amendments to proposed redfish regulations. This comes after the 3-fish, 18-27 inch slot proposed Notice of Intent (NOI) passed in December by the Commission was only days away from taking effect.

By now, it's common knowledge that redfish are being overfished. In addition to a number of environmental problems that plague the species, the amount of fishing pressure has more than doubled since the current regulations were established in 1988. Biologists say that changes are necessary to restore both Escapement Rate and Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) back to the conservation standard.

Several conservation groups have supported the 3-fish NOI, including the American Sportfishing Guides Association (ASGA), the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, the Gulf Coast Council of Fly Fishers International (FFI), to name a few.

However, one “conservation” group – along with their bowfishing allies – have continued to push for a four fish limit. What's the difference between a 3-fish limit and a 4-fish limit of the same slot sizes?  About 17 years longer recovery with the 4-fish limit! That group is not denying that they would like to build a hatchery for the purpose of stocking red drum in Louisiana waters. This despite much evidence that hatchery-raised redfish contribute less than 2 percent to recruitment of spawning stock.

What can you do?

  • Contact Commission members below and ask them to retain the current 3-fish NOI, and a faster recovery period.
  • Contact your state legislator and let them know you support the 3-fish NOI.
  • If possible, attend the March 7th Commission meeting in Baton Rouge and speak out!

In crafting your email, be kind and courteous. Please point out some of the issues facing redfish, including the fact that we've doubled the number of anglers since the current regulations were set 36 years ago!

Opponents of the 3-fish NOI have stated they are seeing lots of small reds in the marsh. At least where they fish.. not everyone is seeing this. The real problem is the number of fish making it to maturity. It takes 4-5 years, during which they have to avoid more threats now than ever before. At least 30 percent must escape or our stocks will continue to decline.

Again, if you can make the Commission hearing on March 7th, PLEASE DO SO. Meetings are held at LDWF headquarters, 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge, LA, beginning at 9:30 a.m..

If you can attend, please sign up prior to the meeting start to speak on the topic. Instructions are given when you signup.

Members of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

LA House Natural Resources Committee

With a strong email effort, and a strong turnout, we can finally win the battle to give redfish the faster recovery they need.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Finesse for success for spawning bass

The bass spawn is on in some parts of the state. This is an opportunity to catch a trophy-sized fish, or even just a larger specimen, on your fly rod.

Back in the days when I fished conventional tournaments - and even some that I've fished more recently - the key to getting a spawning bass to eat was to present the lure in the most delicate way possible and keep it near the fish as long as possible.  These "finesse" tactics can be applied to fly fishing as well.

The key is small and near-weightless flies, and longer leaders 8 to 9 feet. I leave the 8-weight at home and bring a 6-weight outfit. That might seem a bit light for battling a big bass. But before you can battle the fish, you need to get it to eat. Spawning bass are exceptionally spooky!  Light tackle and finesse flies are the ticket.

Think about what the conventional angler might use in this situation. From my experience, nothing beats a wacky worm or a fluke. Comparable worm-like flies would be Terry Wilson's Bass Bully or Ted Cabali's Cabali Creature (shown on left).  

As for the fluke, nothing matches it better than the gold standard of freshwater fly fishing, the Woolybugger!

In tying woolybuggers for bass, I make them larger than those for trout, usually sizes 4 down to 8. My SR71 Woolybugger has proven to be a real killer, with the action of the schlapplen feather too much for Miss Bigmouth to handle.  But any type woolybugger will do, and in fact, the 5.36 pounder pictured above fell for an olive Fluff Butt. A Fluff Butt is nothing more than a woolybugger without the hackle, right?

Remember that these spawning bass are replenishing the waters you're fishing.  So handle them gently and release them to lay their eggs.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Make plans now for Red Stick Day

29th annual "Red Stick Day" fly fishing festival
Saturday, March 9, 2024

8:30 am to 3:30 pm
LDWF Waddill Outdoors Center,
4141 North Flannery, Baton Rouge, LA
FREE admission!

Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, Red Stick Day is the longest-running event of its kind in Louisiana. It routinely features regional as well as nationally recognized speakers and fly tiers.  The casting sessions are led by Fly Fishers International (FFI) Basic and Master level certified instructors.

While the programs, fly tying demos, and casting sessions appeal to both beginners and experts, many attendees enjoy the kayak demos, comradery, and fishing on premises. Lunch is also provided for a nominal cost.  There's also one of the largest raffles of any fly fishing event on the Gulf Coast, which raises money for the club's various educational and conservation projects.

For more info, including a schedule of activities, go to the Red Stick Fly Fishers website at and click on "Red Stick Day".

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The 5 Waves of Sunfish

One of my favorite alien invasion movies is "The 5th Wave" starring Chloe Grace Moretz. In part because Ms Moretz is a great action film heroine. And in part because the story makes far more sense than most others. If an alien race wanted to invade Earth, given the small amount of resources they could bring through the vastness of space, a series of devastating non-confrontational attacks works far better than an all-out military assault.

Speaking of invasions, we have a series of panfish invasions to shallow water starting right now. For us humans, our weapons in this battle will be lightweight fly rods, loaded with various bug and minnow imitations.

The 1st Wave are small bream of various species looking for any feeding opportunity. They'll have a pale color to them. It's mostly a sign that the days are getting longer and water is getting warmer.  This is happening right now.

The 2nd Wave are large redears. The biggest redears in any water spawn early, usually in late February, and in water 3 to 5 feet deep. Cap Spiders, Hares Ears, Jitterbees, Fluff Butts - any fly that gets to the bottom where the fish hold tight - will work.

The 3rd Wave are crappie. Sacalait begin moving to the shallows as early as mid-February but the peak is sometime late February to mid-March.  Look for any structure close to shore, e.g, docks, cypress trees, sunken logs, etc. Although Fluff Butts are the primary weapon against their invasion, Woolybuggers, Cap Spiders, Wet Flies, various beadhead nymphs, will work. When fished under a strike indicator, it allows the angler to work the fly close to structure longer.

The 4th Wave are big bluegills. Like with redears, the largest bluegill spawn earlier than the rest. Timeline is usually early March to mid-April. The beds are usually shallower than with redears and this allows patterns like Slowing Sinking Spiders, Wet Flies, and even poppers to be added into the arsenal.

Then there's the 5th Wave. These are mid-size to large bream of various species that are actively feeding on bugs. This is a time when solid numbers can be caught, and with the water still cool, the fights are scrappy! Usually early April to mid-May. At this point, the "gobbules" will eat just about any bug, minnow, shrimp or worm imitation. But I prefer to fish popping bugs or Triangle Bugs because the eats can be explosive!

So get your tackle ready, your flies tied or purchased. The invasion of sunfish is about to begin, and unlike an alien invasion, it's a fight we can win.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Spring is a time for conclaving!

When it comes to fly fishing, Spring is event season across the deep South. There's a wide range of events from large commercial expos like the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show and Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival to club festivals like "Red Stick Day" and to the larger Fly Fishers International regional events like the "Gulf Coast Classic".

In the past, we referred to these club and FFI regional events as "conclaves". There was some resistance to that name by some because it's defined as "a private meeting".  When in fact, these events are open to the public.

However, we made a strong case to the folks at Webster and Cambridge to add "a fly fishing festival" as a definition.  And to include it as a verb as well. So you can say "He went conclaving" which means a man went to a fly fishing festival. Or if they're gender fluid, "Ze went conclaving". Or if your group went to a conclave, "They conclaved last week".  We've not heard back yet from Webster or Cambridge, but certain our proposal will be adopted someday. 

In the meantime, check out the list of Spring 2024 events here in Louisiana or within a short drive from our state... and "Happy Conclaving!".

Jan. 20 (Sat) – 5th biennial CENLA FLY FISHING & LIGHT TACKLE FESTIVAL, Kees Park Center, Highway 28 East, Pineville, LA. 8:30am – 3:30pm. Free admission. Presentations, fly tying demos, casting clinics, exhibitors and more. Special guests: Duane Hada, Tadd Fore.  Jambalaya lunch available. Benefits Food Bank of Central Louisiana. Hosted by Kisatchie Fly Fishers club. Website:

Jan. 27 (Sat) – 31st annual Dr. ED RIZZOLO FLY TYING FESTIVAL, Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd, Houston, TX. 8:30am – 4:30pm. The largest fly tying event on the Gulf Coast features over 80 tiers as well as seminars and vendors. Featured guest tier: Les Lehman. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers club. Website:

Feb. 2-4 (Fri-Sun) – ATLANTA FLY FISHING SHOW, GA South Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA. 9am – 6pm. Largest fly fishing show in the South featuring nationally-renown speakers, tiers. Workshops, seminars, destination seminars, exhibitors, and more. FFI will host the Learning Center, with casting and fly tying instruction free to show attendees. Website:

Feb. 24-25 (Sat-Sun) – 7th annual TEXAS FLY FISHING & BREW FESTIVAL, Mesquite Convention Center, Mesquite, TX. Nationally known fly fishing authors, professional guides, expert casters, fly tiers from across the country, dozens of exhibitors. Microbrew sampling. Website:

Mar. 9 (Sat) – 26th Annual RED STICK DAY, Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 N Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA. 8:30am – 3:30pm. Free admission. Seminars, tying demos, kayak demos, casting clinics, food, refreshments. Hosted by Red Stick Fly Fishers. Website:

Mar. 21-23 – 27th annual SOWBUG ROUNDUP, Baxter County Fairgrounds, Mountain Home, AR. 9am – 4pm, each day. Admission $10 for all 3 days, adults with kids under 12 free. Largest fly tying event in the country, over 120 tiers. Seminars, fly tying clinics, vendors. Special guests Davy Wotton, Tim Flagler. Hosted by North Arkansas Fly Fishers. Website:

May 3-4 (Fri-Sat) – 2nd annual FFI GULF COAST CLASSIC, Learning Campus, Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL.  Seminars, fly tying demos, casting clinics, raffles, Mixed Bag Challenge fishing contest. Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) on Saturday 4pm. Hosted by the Gulf Coast Council of Fly Fishers International. Website: or

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Rainbeaux Trout time in Louisiana!

Each winter, over a dozen ponds across Louisiana are stocked with rainbow trout. Some of the stockings are by local agencies. For example, ponds in East Baton Rouge Parish are stocked by Baton Rouge Recreation (BREC). Most ponds are stocked by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries under their "Get Out and Fish" community fishing program.  

These fish can live in water up to 70 degrees - usually mid to late March here in Louisiana.  However, nearly all the trout are usually caught (and kept) by then.

To see the locations of the LDWF stockings, go to:  or click on the image to this post.

A few things to keep in mind. You do need to have a Louisiana fishing license.  All fish must be caught on legal recreational tackle (rod and reel, fly tackle or cane pole). There is a daily limit of four (4) fish per day.

Most of the stocked fish are between 10 and 12 inches, but each pond will have several up to 16-18 inches to give anglers the opportunity for a bigger fish.

For fly anglers, it's an opportunity to enjoy good fishing at a time when native species like bass and bream are sluggish. All that is needed is a 5-weight outfit. However, for those with an ultralight outfit (3-weight or lower), the fun factor is amplified!

Regarding flies. The first couple of weeks the fish are opportunistic. An olive or black woolybugger will work best, along with a few nymphs such as Prince Nymph, Copper Johns, Hares Ears, and San Juan Worms. Once the trout have acclimated to their environment, dry flies work very well late in the day.  

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Here's wishing everyone a merry and most blessed Christmas.  Hope Santa brings that one fly fishing gift you really need... a new rod, maybe some more flies, or perhaps a ruler to measure those 24-inch speckled trout you claim to catch!

While Christmas is a season of festivity, let's not forget the reason for the season: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….” John 1:14. Please be giving to those in need, and pray for those who are less fortunate, for those in suffering, and for those away from their families this season.

We also wish everyone a prosperous and healthy New Year.  There are many great regional activities coming up in 2024, and we'll have more details on those after the holidays.   In the meantime, you can click on our Calendar page to discover what's happening.