Thursday, November 09, 2023

It's of-fish-al. New speck regulations active November 20

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has officially published the change in spotted seatrout (speckled trout) regulations. They will go into effect Monday, November 20th. According to biologists, these new regulations will allow the Spawning Potential Ratio of specks to return to 18 percent within 3 years.  Currently, the SPR is 8 percent which is below the Conservation Standard of 14 percent.

The new regulations are as follows:

  • Size limit: 13-20 inches total length, only two fish included within the daily creel limit can be greater than 20 inches total length
  • Daily Creel: 15-fish daily limit per angler
  • Charter guides and crew will not be able to retain a creel limit while on a charter trip but may engage in fishing

The current limits are 12" minimum size (no slot) and a daily creel of 25 fish east of Mermentau River and 15 fish west of Mermentau. The new regulations will be statewide.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Rendezvous tops this week's top four

Here's what you need to know for this week:

1. Toledo Bend Rendezvous this weekend

For those unfamiliar with Rendezvous, it began 34 years ago when members of two clubs met at North Toledo Bend State Park to camp and fish. The following year, the clubs decided to rent the group facility.  Since then, fly tiers and other fly fishing enthusiasts from across several states – along with their families – have gathered for a weekend of fly tying and fishing with only a minimal fee to cover lodging and meals. Some are members of clubs, some are not. Rendezvous is open to all!

There are no organized activities. Everyone is welcome to come fish, tie flies, watch some of the region's top tiers, or tie themselves. You can come for the day or the entire weekend. If you come as a family, the rate for the entire weekend for the whole family or individual is just $40 which includes lodging. For one night lodging, the fee is $20 and for day only the fee is $10. For complete details, go to the Toledo Bend Rendezvous website at

2. New speckled trout regs could soon be law

In Sunday's Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper, Outdoors Editor Joe Macaluso reported that the Legislative Natural Resources Oversight Committee passed on the Wildlife Commission's proposed regulation for speckled trout. That means that new limits - 15 fish per day, with a 13"-20" slot size, and 2 fish allowed over the slot - could be law as early as November 20th.  I expect there will be some allowance for the new regulations to be fully publicized. Incidently, this new regulation is statewide.

3. Speaking of trout, will this cold bring them inside?

For most of October, the east side of the Mississippi River has been on fire for trout. Ponchartrain, Bayou Bienveneu, Lake Borgne, Shell Beach, Biloxi Marsh have all produced excellent numbers of both speckled and large white (sand) trout.

West of the river, it's been disappointing. Traditional October hotspots like Leeville, Catfish Lake, Pointe-aux-Chenes, Montegut, Dularge, Lake Prien have produced few stringers. Some reports on Facebook indicate the trout are still in the lower bays. Kayak anglers are hopeful this strong cold spell will help push the specks into the upper marsh.

4. Turnover requires a different approach

With low temperatures reaching the 30s and 40s across Louisiana, surface water on lakes gets cold and sinks to the bottom. Warmer water rises to the surface, gets cold and sinks. This repetitive pattern continues until equilibrium is established. "Turnover" usually results in several days of poor fishing and relocation of certain species. Sunfish go deep, chain pickeral move to the shallows, and crappie move into creeks, canals and bayous, or nearshore structure. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Louisiana fly anglers recognized with national awards

Yesterday the Fly Fishers International (FFI) announced the recipients of their 2023 Awards of Achievement. These annual awards acknowledge individuals and organizations who have advanced the FFI’s mission of conservation, education, and community.

Two Louisiana residents were recognized.

Chris Williams of Sorrento will recieve the FFI Fly Fishing Skills Education Award. This award is based upon extraordinary contribution or continuous prominent effort promoting comprehensive fly fishing education.  

Jeff Ferguson of Lafayette will receive the FFI Mel Krieger Fly Casting Instructor Award. This award, honors the late Mel Krieger, a legend in fly casting. It's presented to someone who has made significant contributions to the FFI Certified Casting Instructor Program, and have dedicated themselves to fly casting instruction.

Please join us in congratulating Chris and Jeff for their accolades and on the great work they’ve done. You can learn more about their contributions by checking out this post on the FFI Gulf Coast Council website post at

Chris, Jeff, and other 2023 FFI award recipients will be recognized in an Awards Ceremony to be held online on October 18th at 7:00pm CST. The public is welcomed to watch. Check out the FFI Awards Ceremony page at

Friday, October 06, 2023

Big day for fisheries conservation in Louisiana

At yesterday's monthly meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission acted on two items of significant interest to saltwater anglers.

1) Passed on NOI establishing a coastwide one-mile buffer zone for commercial harvesting of menhaden. The vote was by the narrowest of margins, 4-3, and must get a final approval based on economic considerations. But it's the first time we've gotten this far in establishing a one-mile buffer.

2) The Commission gave final approval to an NOI setting new redfish limits of 3 fish per day, 18-24 inch slot with no overslot. Now it goes to the Legislative Natural Resources Oversight Committee for final approval before it becomes law.

Many thanks to everyone involved who sent in comments, signed petitions, or showed up in person to comment.

The menhaden industry will fight hard to make sure the one-mile restriction doesn't become rule. In their comments, they suggested that limiting their access to pogies just off the beach would be a crushing blow to jobs and the coastal economy. While today's LWFC approval marks a step closer to success, this battle is far from over.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 23, 2023

Venues: Baton Rouge, Minden, Woodworth, Monroe
Free admission!

Established by Congress in 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrated the 4th Saturday of September. The day recognizes the contributions of America's hunters, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts.

Here in Louisiana, NHF Day is celebrated annually at four venues - Bodcau (Haughton), Bayou Black (Monroe), Waddill (Baton Rouge), and Woodworth. Activities including archery, canoeing, fishery, target shooting, outdoor games, live animal exhibits, educational displays, and more. Many of the activities are geared towards youth and family, and there's even food and soft drinks provided at no cost.

The Waddill and Woodworth venues will feature fly fishing, casting and tying thanks to the Red Stick Fly Fishers and Kistachie Fly Fishers, respectively. Each of these clubs will demonstrate and give hands-on teaching of tying and casting. As well as talk about fly fishing opportunities in Louisiana and elsewhere.

Admission to each venue is free for all ages. Time varies depending on location, but all start between 8:00am to 9:00am and end between 1:30pm and 2:00pm. For more details, go to

Monday, September 04, 2023

Register now for the Rio Rodeo

14th Annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, September 30, 2023
7:00am – on-site registration
7:30am – 12:30pm (weigh-in)
Event site: No Wake Outfitters
1926 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA
$15 entry fee includes lunch and refreshments

Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club, the Rio Rodeo is the longest running freshwater fly fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast. Target species is the wary Rio Grande Cichlid. All entry fish must be caught on flies and fly tackle. Categories are “Longest Rio” and “Most Rios”.

The rodeo is open to all fly anglers. Advanced registration must be received by mail by Saturday, September 23rd. Onsite registration is from 7:00am to 7:30am day of the tournament. Both onsite registration and weigh-in will be at No Wake Outfitters in Metairie. 

For complete details, and to download registration form, go to the NOFFC website at   For a printable poster of the Rio Rodeo, CLICK HERE (800kb, PDF format).

Friday, September 01, 2023

September - a month of transition

SweatFest 2023 has been a record breaker. Excessive heat and drought, and while the drought is coming to an end, the heat is forecast to remain for at least for the first two weeks.  The good news is that sometime in September, relief will come. Some years it comes early, some years late.  

Science dictates it will happen. Consider that the amount of daylight and angle of the sun today is equivalent to that of April 9th. The combination of lower air temperatures at night and shorter days/longer nights means greater radiative cooling of waters. Just in the last week, the water temp here on Cotile Lake has dropped 3 degrees (measured at 8am each morning).

Why is this important? When water temps get below 80 degrees, fish go into their fall feeding frenzy. Bass school, redears congregate, spotted bass turn on, speckled trout move inside, and crappie move to the shallows. So make plans now, tie those flies, get your casting tuned-up. It's about to happen!

For a few species, the happening is now.  Bull reds are thick in the passes, jacks are crushing mullet along the surf and inland bays including Lake Pontchartrain, and the sand trout (aka, white trout) are piled up on oyster reefs and in deeper tidal cuts.  The bulls and jacks make for some epic "Cajun Sleigh Rides" when kayak fishing.  As for the sandies, those 10-inchers back in June are now almost 12 inches, and will be 13-14 inches come October.  Great fun on a 6-weight!  Some fine eating too as long as you ice them immediately and filet them the same day.

Activities wise, there are a few major events taking place this month, all towards the end.

September 23rd is National Hunting and Fishing Day. NHF Day celebrations are hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at four venues statewide. Admission is free. There are hands-on activities for all ages, plus exhibits, food, and more. The Woodworth and Baton Rouge venues will have fly fishing and fly tying supported by local clubs. For details, go to

On September 30th is the 14th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo. Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers, it's the largest and oldest freshwater fly fishing tournament in the deep South. The target species is the rio grande perch, the only cichlid native to the United States, but which was non-native to Louisiana. Pre-registration ends soon, but onsite registration is available. For details, go to

Also on September 30th is the 2nd annual Fly Fishing Round-Up at Millican Reserve in College Station, TX. This event should be of strong interest to fly casting enthusiasts since four (4) members of the FFI Casting Board of Governors will be on hand. There's also fly tying demos, a fishing tournament, Kids Zone, and evening dinner with entertainment. For details, go to

Monday, August 21, 2023

Time for action on redfish and speckled trout

At their July and August meetings, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed two Notices of Intent of immense interest to saltwater anglers - one for regulation changes to red drum, the other for regulation changes to speckled trout.  

Current regulations for both species were set over 30 years ago.  Since then, a number of factors - including a large increase in number of anglers and extensive loss of habitat - have led to their declines.  As a result, both species currently have Spawning Potential Ratios (SPRs) below their conservation standards.

The redfish NOI calls for the following change:

  • Current:    5 fish, 16 - 27 inch slot, one over slot allowed
  • Proposed:  3 fish, 18 - 24 inch slot, none over slot

The trout NOI calls for the following change:

  • Current:     25 fish, 12 inch minimum
  • Proposed:  15 fish, 13 - 20 inch slot, two allowed over slot

While conservationists are delighted about these proposals, they're just that - proposals.  An NOI must go through a public comment period, followed by approval from the Legislative Oversight Committee, and then it becomes rule.

For this reason, there is still much left to do to insure these NOIs become regulation.  We strongly urge fly fishers, kayak anglers, and other champions of conservation to contact the following folks who will help with the final decision process:

LWFC NOI comments sent to:

LA Senate Natural Resource Committee Members

Hensgens, Bob
 Fesi, Michael "Big Mike"
 Allain, R. L. Bret
Connick, Patrick
 Hewitt, Sharon
Kleinpeter, Caleb
Lambert, Eddie J.
 McMath, Patrick

LA House Natural Resource Committee Members

 Coussan, Jean-Paul
 Bourriaque, Ryan
 Butler, Rhonda Gaye
 Carrier, R. Dewith
 Cormier, Mack
 Fisher, Adrian
 Hilferty, Stephanie
 Kerner, Timothy P.
Landry, Mandie
 McKnight, Scott
 Mincey, Jr., Buddy
 Orgeron, Joseph A.
 Riser, Neil
 Romero, Troy D.
Schamerhorn, Rodney
 Wheat, Jr., William "Bill"
 Magee, Tanner
 Schexnayder, Clay

Governor John Bel Edwards

In addition, there will be a special public meeting on September 21st at LDWF Headquarters in Baton Rouge regarding speckled trout regulations.  We urge anyone who can make this meeting to attend.