Sunday, January 24, 2021

Online tying sessions expanded

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place - and likely for the next several months - Louisiana fly fishing clubs will continue to hold their routine fly tying sessions online.  Since last April, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers - and later, the Acadiana Fly Rodders - have been conducting "Virtual Tying Tuesday" via the Zoom meeting application. Then, in December the Red Stick Fly Fishers hosted a club meeting using Zoom under the hosting of the FFI Gulf Coast Council  (owners of a pro Zoom account). 

In 2020, Virtual Tying Tuesday was only available to club members and only using Zoom. The Pro account restriction of 100 users per session was one impediment to general public broadcast.  But the greater impediment was bandwidth.  Over 50 "live" users results in some degradation.  It's a problem that Zoom has had since it's explosion in popularity the past year, and an issue they are working hard to improve. 

In December, KFF went to simulcasting VTT on YouTube.  Live streaming to the Tube allows for unlimited number of participants, and the greater bandwidth of their mature platform results in better video quality. In addition, YouTube live streams can be "cast" to smart televisions (those connected to internet).  Watching fly tying on a 48" TV in high definition is a blast! 

Equally important, YouTube sessions are recorded. Late for a session? No problemento!  Just drag the red dot on the video timeline to the far left and start from the beginning.  If you miss it all together, the video is usually available for 48 hours after the session. 

Starting this Monday, Red Stick will hold their monthly fly tying sessions on Zoom for "active" participants with live-streaming to YT for "casual" participants.  Kisatchie and Acadiana will be continuing their live-streaming as well, when they resume Virtual Tying Tuesday on February 2nd. Check their websites for links to the tying sessions.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Rainbeaux trout stockings going statewide this week

Back on December 17th, rainbow trout were stocked in four park ponds in East Baton Rouge Parish (Perkins, Forest, Greenwood, North Sherwood Forest) and one in Ascension (Lamar-Dixon).  These ponds were stocked by local recreational agencies.

This week, sixteen more ponds statewide will be stocked with this coldwater species as part of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries "Get Out and Fish!" community fishing program. Stocking begins on Thursday, January 14th.

Here is a listing of ponds to be stocked:
- Oil Park, Jennings
- Burbank Park, Baton Rouge
- Bogue Chitto State Park, Franklinton
- Grambling City Park, Grambling
- Zemurray Park, Hammond
- Bayou Country Park, Houma
- Girard Park, Lafayette
- Turners Pond, Minden
- Parc Natchitoches, Natchitoches
- Joe Brown Park, New Orleans
- Fort Randolph State Historic Site, Pineville
- Purple Heart Memorial Park, Ragley
- Elmore Mayfield Park, Ruston
- William Polk Park, Vidalia
- Sidney Hutchinson Park, Walker
- Southside Regional Park, Youngsville

Kiroli Park in West Monroe is the only GOAF program pond not to be stocked this year.  That is due to park maintenance in progress.

All anglers ages 16 and older must possess a Louisiana fishing license. While there is no legal daily limit, anglers are encouraged to keep four (4) fish per day and release the rest.

Rainbow trout are native to rivers and lakes in western North America, but have been stocked in coldwater environments across America and the globe. In winter, several states stock in community ponds to give anglers an opportunity to catch an active fish when warmwater species are mostly dormant. These fish die off once water temperatures exceed 70 degrees. In Louisiana, depending on pond location and depth, that could be anytime between mid-March and mid-April.  However, few if any trout remain in these ponds by March 1st. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2021 fly fishing calendar - updates

In a normal year, by December 15th we've put together a complete calendar of  fly fishing and kayak fishing events for the coming year.  Well 2020 was not a normal year.  In fact, if 2020 were a house, we'd burn down the house, scoop up the ashes, then burn the ashes, and bury what was left in a sealed container deep beneath the ground!

The continuing pandemic has resulted in an almost complete cancellations of activities for the first half of 2021.  Here's a brief summary of regional events with intended dates in parenthesis:

  • New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo (Jan. 23) - cancelled
  • Atlanta Fly Fishing Show (Feb. 5-6) - cancelled
  • Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Feb. 13) - cancelled
  • FFI Gulf Coast Sweetwater Classic (Feb. 26-27) - postponed to Sept. 17-18
  • Red Stick Day conclave (Mar. 6) - postponed to Fall TBA
  • Kisatchie Fly Fishers Fly Fish 101 (April) - postponed to Fall TBA
  • Sowbug Roundup (May) - cancelled

In addition, club meetings are continuing on Zoom.  Some club trips are still scheduled, but the majority have been cancelled until Fall.   Check with your local club to see what trips, if any, are taking place this year.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Here's wishing our members and friends, and all of their families, a most blessed holiday season. Hope everyone finds something under the Christmas tree they can use for their piscatorial pursuits in the coming year.

We also wish everyone a prosperous and healthy 2021.  With much emphasis on healthy!  Hopefully, this time next year things will be back to normal, and we can enjoy the company of others and celebrate as we have in the past.

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 - especially our troops. Love and peace to everyone!

Sunday, November 08, 2020

LWF Commission declines action on menhaden restrictions

For the second time in three months, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission opted to punt rather than deal directly with a growing conservation issue related to coastal fisheries.

At their November 5th meeting, the LWFC was to consider a motion of intent to create a exclusion zone for menhaden fishing. Pogey boats would have to fish outside one mile of the coastline, in an effort to limit the bycatch of recreational species common within one mile, and avoid user group conflicts. Louisiana is the only coastal state that does not have an exclusion zone.

Instead, the Commission voted to adopt a motion to extend a “gentleman’s agreement” on exclusion zones within areas where shoreline recreational fishing was most common. That would basically be Grand Isle, Elmer’s Isle, and Holly Beach. Currently such an agreement exists with the town of Grand Isle. However it was pointed out in the meeting that this has been broken numerous times by certain vessels – and there are no penalties for doing so.

While supporters of the proposal brought forth evidence for an MFED, commissioners were swayed by arguments from Omega Corporation, the state’s only menhaden producer, that LDWF studies showed very little bycatch – only 2 percent of redfish and speckled trout. Even though those studies were decades old.  Basis for an MFED in other states might've helped, but that was never brought to discussion.

Back in September, the Commission voted to delay action on reducing speckled trout limits from 25 to 15, with an increase in minimum size from 12″ to 13″. Instead, they opted for yet another study on seatrout recruitment with results to be presented at the LWFC October 2021 meeting.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

LWFC to hear proposal for menhaden restrictions

This Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will consider a notice of intent to establish an exclusion zone for commercial menhaden fishing at their monthly meeting in Baton Rouge. Meeting time is 9:30am.

Agenda Item #9 proposed by Commissioner Chad Courville will include supplemental information presented by Jason Adriance, Marine Fisheries Biologist. The proposal being put forth is a one-mile exclusion zone for commercial harvesting from the Louisiana coastline.

These small, oily baitfish are of significant importance to anglers,  because they’re an essential food source for most gamefish in the Gulf and Atlantic waters, as well as whales, dolphins, and other marine species. They’re also a highly valuable commercial species. Billions of menhaden each year are processed into fish oil, fish meal, fertilizers, cosmetics and other products.

In recent years, menhaden harvest has increased and created conflicts with recreational anglers, as well as put gamefish species at risk. Thousands of spawning size red drum each year are killed as a result of bycatch. And according to some researchers, the nearshore harvest of menhaden may be responsible for a decrease in the total biomass of red drum and spotted seatrout - as much as fifty percent!

While a one-mile zone is certainly better than the status quo, the FFI Gulf Coast Council is lobbying for extension to 2 miles. The reason is that large numbers of nearshore spotted seatrout and red drum that depend on menhaden often exist beyond the one-mile boundary.  Extending the boundary would not only reduce the bycatch of red drum, but perhaps offset the need for drastic limit changes in speckled trout.  

Participation

Due to the public health emergency guidelines established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 40 members of the public will be allowed in the meeting room. However, the meeting will be broadcast via Zoom.

To attend via webinar, first register at:
https://wlf-la.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k_8aD3IYQAyi4nTeqwpYKA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

While attending and speaking in person may not be likely, the public can send comments to the Commission in advance of the meeting.  Please email to Comments@wlf.la.gov by 5:00pm, Wednesday, November 4th. Your email must include the agenda item # (9) in the subject of your email. The body of your message should include your name and address before your comment.  No comments will be accepted via webinar.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Louisiana braces for record-setting Hurricane Delta

Here we go again!  Sometime around 1:00pm on Friday, Hurricane Delta will make landfall around Cameron as a strong Category 2 storm.  In doing so, it will tie the record for the most tropical storms to hit the Louisiana coast in a single year (4) and tie the most to hit the Gulf Coast in a year (9). It also adds to the record of Atlantic storms in a single year (25).

But of greater concern than any record, it will make landfall just a few miles from where Hurricane Laura did only 6 weeks ago.  

Cameron, Calcasieu, and other southwest parishes were just starting to recover from Laura. Even as far north as Rapides Parish, there's still clearing of debris and cable/internet is still unavailable in some rural areas.  Delta will add salt to the wound... it's expected to take a course only slightly east from Laura, hitting the Jennings area and passing slightly east of Alexandria, maintaining hurricane force winds along this path.  The reason for Delta maintaining it's strength is it's rapid movement. 

Recent cool fronts have lowered water temperatures near the coast, reducing the "fuel" needed for the storm to intensify.  It's rapid movement will not give Delta enough time to throttle down before making landfall.  For that reason, this remains a very dangerous storm.  The public is advised to take all precautions.  For more details, go to www.getagameplan.org.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Great Fall weather for this Saturday's Rio Rodeo

12th annual Rio Grande Rodeo
Saturday, October 3, 2020

7:00am to 8:00am - registration
8:00am to 12 noon - fishing
Shelter #2, LaFreniere Park, Metairie
$15 entry fee includes lunch & refreshments

A reminder that this Saturday, it's the annual Rio Grande Rodeo sponsored by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club. This is a fly fishing only tournament for the Rio Grande cichlid that inhabits the waters of Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Two categories will be awarded: Longest Rio and Most Rios.

While most fishing events have been cancelled since March due to Covid-19 or more recently, tropical storms, the Rio Rodeo is set to go on. Weather should be ideal - forecast calls for SUNNY and high of 72 degrees! Participants are asked to wear masks when gathering and maintain proper distancing.

Although the early registration is passed, onsite registration is available from 7:00am to 8:00am at tourney headquarters at LaFreniere Park. Look for the NOFF signs at Shelter #2. To speed up registration, please print and fill out the registration form below and bring it with you that morning.

Registration Form

After registration, you may branch out to any PUBLIC accessible fishing waters in the boundary area (Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines parishes). Just make sure to be back for the 12 noon weigh-in deadline.  

Raffle.  We'll be holding a raffle to help Casting For Recovery. The prize is a TFO fly rod. Tickets are $10 each, or $20 for 3 tickets.