Sunday, January 22, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Tom Bullock of Shreveport, who will talk on "Soft Hackled Flies and How to Fish Them". The public is invited. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Sydney Dobson will lead in tying the Hollow Fleye, a Bob Popovics pattern. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying clinic in the White River Fly Shop area. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. Tying tools available if needed, otherwise bring your own. Materials are provided. For more info, contact Ron Brooks at 225-271-3100. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel in New Orleans (across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome! On Saturday, it's the Orvis Baton Rouge "Travel Day". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will conduct their annual "Frozen Chozen" outing to the Little Missouri River in Murfreesboro. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will host their recurring "Hobie First Cast" instructional fishing trip. Cost is $99 and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD, anchors, guide and basic instruction. Registration is limited, and may already be sold out, so do check first. For more info or to reserve a spot, go to www.packpaddle.com.
As mentioned, Saturday is Travel Day at Orvis. The Baton Rouge store on 7601 Bluebonnet will host fly fishing guides from Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Bahamas. In addition, local guides from Louisiana will be on hand. During the day, there'll be presentations from each of these guides, as well as fly tying. The event is free. Details and a schedule have been posted on our Events Forum.
Speaking of events, CCA Louisiana will hold a luncheon next Thursday, February 2nd, at the L'Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 11:30am. Admission is $25 and includes lunch. What's getting a lot of attention is that the guest speaker is Governor John Bel Edwards. There's been loads of speculation, particularly after the brief and tumultous term of Charlie Melancon as LDWF Secretary, as to where the governor stood with regards to recreational fishing in our state. I think him asking Melancon to step down, and now agreeing to talk to CCA members, are positive signs. Regardless, if you wish to hear the governor speak, better get your tickets now. Seating is limited and tickets are going fast! For more info, call CCA Louisiana at 225-952-9200.
Controversy has risen regarding LDWF plans to allow licensed commercial fishermen to use gill or trammel nets on Poverty Point Reservoir near Delhi. PPR is one of the best trophy crappie lakes in the state, but production of this popular species - as well as bass and sunfish - have been on the decline. The purpose of a limited net season - it started Friday and will close on February 28th - is to reduce high populations of catfish, buffalo, carp, drum (goo) and other non-gamefish species. Many crappie anglers are concerned that trophy crappie will be part of the by-catch. Unlikely, but if it does happen, it's a small price to pay. A lake can only support so many pounds of fish, and removing hundreds of pounds per acre of non-game species should result in much better sport fishing as early as next year.
The February issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out. For those without a subscription, the magazine will be available later this week at newstands and convenience stores across the state and lower Mississippi. In this month's issue, my Fly Lines column gives a brief history of ancient fly fishing and transitions into a modern approach where "matching the commie hatch" created the Silli Butt. This fly is proving itself invaluable when targeting the "species of the month" - crappie! In other columns of interest to most LFF readers... Chris Holmes gives the details behind Steve Lessard's second Hobie World Championship back in December in his "Paddles N' Puddles" column. A must read! In their "Seafood Bible" column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share Shrimp and Corn Bisque and other recipes from Mrs. Crappie Psychic (Janelle Folse). In feature articles, Jerald Horst shares secrets from "The Crappie Psychic" - Clyde Folse - regarding crappie fishing and why his lures perform so well. Chris Berzas shares pre-spawn bass tactics on Lake Verret; Kinny Haddox gives a primer on targeting cold season crappie in Caney Lake; Chris Ginn explains why heavier lures can trigger bigger bites during late winter (and this reasoning applies equally to flies, we might add). For those looking for a freshwater boat, this month's issue also has a recap of the top aluminum boats for 2017.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Martin Luther King Day, a holiday for many folks as well as many governmental buildings closed. For that reason, some clubs with 3rd Monday activities have moved to Tuesday this month. One of those is Kisatchie Fly Fishers. On Tuesday, they'll hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Province Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's pattern will be the Jitterbee, a very popular bream fly created by Randy Leonpacher of Baton Rouge. The public is welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is this year's club tournaments as well as details about the 2017 CPR Challenge. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public meeting at Jimmie Davis State Park Conference Center in Chatham on the status of Caney Creek Reservoir. Time is 7:00pm. An overview of aquatic vegetation issues and latest fish sampling will be presented by LDWF biologists. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly club workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Minimalist Challenge" kayak fishing tournment out of Leeville Public Launch. It's one of only two kayak tournaments that limits registration, the limit is 125 anglers and it reached that limit in mid-December. For that reason, we won't delve into details, but they are available on our Calendar page entry and also at www.bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where the basics of fly fishing are applied to real-time fishing situations. Registration is limited, and these sessions do often book up, so please contact Alex at 225-757-7286 for more info or to register. That Saturday afternoon, Orvis will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics in-store. FT101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on workshop covering the basics of tying flies and tying a couple of simple patterns. Tools and materials are provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.
The annual Red River Rendezvous set for the last Saturday this month has been relocated from Bonham State Park to Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma. This move took place sometime since early December; I was uninformed about the change until this past week. Hosted by the Red River Fly Fishers of Sherman, Texas, this longtime event is back where it originated and was held for many years. Over the last four years, it was moved to Beavers Bend State Park and then to Bonham State Park, both about 2 hours from Shreveport. And for that reason, had more attendance from Louisiana fly anglers than when it was at Eisenhower. For those who were planning to go to RRR, this move may change your plans.
Of course, the last Saturday this month is the Orvis Baton Rouge store "Travel Day" event and there's been lots of interest on social media. If you haven't checked out details, there's a couple of posts in our forum giving specifics. Or you can go to Facebook and search for Orvis Baton Rouge and click on their Events page.
Climate change affecting trout stockings. Some south Texas lakes that receive winter stockings of rainbow trout may not be stocked a second time this year as in the past. The reason is higher than normal water temperatures. I imagine there could be some reconsideration for LDWF stockings in Kiroli Park (Monroe) as well. After the artic blast a week ago that brought ice and snow to most parts of Louisiana north of I-10, and dropped water temperatures into the 40s, it's gotten very mild since. And water temps are back up into the upper 50s and lower 60s. Fishing reports from across the coast yesterday were the best I've seen for this time of year. I expect if this weather pattern holds up we could see numerous "full bags" of trout and reds coming out of this Saturday's Minimalist Challenge kayak tournament. One thing is for certain, now that global warming appears to be accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community, how will it affect winter fishing? Will the great marsh fishing we've had this winter be the future norm?
Monday, January 9, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda: rainbeaux trout fishing reports from the BREC ponds, other local fishing in January and discussion about upcoming Spring events. The public is invited. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on the Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:00pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will give a presentation and partial workshop on "How to Create a Blog". The meeting is open to the public. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. On Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at the Masseys Outfitters Mid-Town location on 509 North Carrollton in New Orleans. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: 2016 Angler of the Year awards, 2016 CPR Fish Pics Awards, and discussion about upcoming tournaments. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop at 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" session. Time is 2:00pm. Orvis FF101 is a FREE, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. For more info or to register, call 225-757-7286.
Our website was down last night and earlier today. Everything seems back to normal, but the situation will be monitored. Our web host is located in Wisconsin, and during these severe winter periods we seem to get the most downtimes.
Speaking of weather... the forecast calls for highs in the 70s later this week and after this past "wintry mix" weekend, it'll seem like tropical heat. Don't be lured into thinking the fish will be more active just because the air temperature is much warmer. Right now, the surface temp on the local lake is 43 degrees. At depths of 8 feet or more, it's 40 degrees. It's going to take a LOT of warm, sunny days to get the temperatures back up to where fish are very active. Because our marsh is adjacent to the heat sink that is the Gulf of Mexico, and because most of it is shallow, I expect that might be the best fishing for now, BUT slow presentation will be the rule.
Fly Fishing Film Tour tickets now on sale. The Orvis store in Baton Rouge is currently selling tickets for F3T showing on Friday, March 10th at their store in Perkins-Rowe. Tickets are $15 each. This is the only showing so far scheduled for Louisiana. The last two years, the Orvis showing of F3T has sold out in advance, and I fully expect the same to happen this year. If you've never been to an F3T event, it's a great time and the short films just keep getting better each year.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall at 415 Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly in Abita Springs. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge kicks off their Spring educational series with Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Tying 101. Fly Fishing 101 is a one-day, 2 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. Fly Tying 101 is a one-day, 2 hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Both FF101 and FT101 are FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, call 225-757-7286 or go to the Orvis Baton Rouge website and use the link to register for classes.
2017 is here. As mentioned, Orvis of Baton Rouge has kicked off their Saturday educational sessions, which currently are scheduled through the end of February. These include "Fly Fishing 101", "Fly Fishing 201" and "Fly Tying 101". These one-day, 2-hour sessions are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. Dates and times can be found on our Calendar page. The new year also brings the start of regional events, including the popular Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Feb. 11), Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival (Feb. 18), Acadiana Conclave (Feb. 25), Red Stick Day (Mar. 4), Fly Fish Texas (Mar. 11), and Sowbug Roundup (Mar. 23-25). In addition, two new regional events - the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show (Feb. 3-4) and the Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival (Mar. 11-12). Then there's the ever-popular Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Orvis store on Friday, March 10th. This event has sold out the last four years. It's a great time, so be sure to get tickets early! On March 25th, it's the New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, which includes both a Fly Fish Division and "Boats on the Bayou" kayak fishing tournament. As for kayak fishing events, not much going on until April (BCKFC Minimalist Challenge in January is already booked up on alloted registration). But look for several kayak demos coming up in mid-February thru March. Nearly all will feature the MANY new kayaks for 2017, including a wide array of new pedal boats from Wilderness, Perception, Native, Hurricane, Feelfree, Old Town, and Jackson. Along with the new Hobie models with 180 Reverse.
Jack Montoucet is the new LDWF Secretary. On Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that State Representative Jack Montoucet of Crowley will serve as head of Wildlife and Fisheries beginning January 16th. Montoucet is owner of an alligator farm - Jacques Crocs and Farm Pride Processors - and is a retired Fire Chief for the Lafayette Fire Deparment. He's also served as president of the Louisiana Alligator Association, so he has a rich background in areas served by the department. In accepting his position, Montoucet vowed to be "a uniter, not a divider" and promised that all parties would have a seat at the table. Montoucet replaces Charles Melancon whose one-year term was tumultous (at best). Melancon repeatedly took executive actions that went counter to both constituents and biologists, and insulting his critics in public. Add to that a continuing audit of LDWF reaching back to the BP Oil Spill that revealed numerous irregularities, and Montoucet will have a lot to deal with the moment he takes office. We wish him wisdom and the best of luck!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
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. However, if anything important comes up, we'll post it. 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.".
Know someone interested in fly fishing? What a great time of the year to learn our sport! Beginning the first Saturday of January, Orvis in Baton Rouge will begin offering their Fly Fishing 101, Fly Fishing 201, and Fly Tying 101 classes. We've posted the dates and times on our Calendar page. If you go to the Orvis BR webpage, there's a link for online registration. Or you can call the store directly. In addition to the Orvis classes, some clubs have beginning classes. For example, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their annual Fly Fishing 101 on Saturday, April 8th at the LDWF Booker-Fowler Hatchery. Again, dates are listed on our Calendar. And finally, there's those "conclaves" - one or multi-day events hosted by fly fishing clubs which feature speakers, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics, in some cases even kayak demos, and of course, beginner sessions.
Sunday, December 11, 2017
What's happening this week. As this is December, a number of clubs will hold their annual holiday party or gathering this week. Since these are member-only activities, we don't list them here. But they are listed on our Calendar page. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church Community Center off the Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. 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. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying session inside the fly shop area. Time is 6:00pm. Please note that the session has been moved up from the regular 4th Tuesday because of the holidays. Bring your tying tools, if none, the store has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided.
Steve Lessard is once again World Champion. As many of you were aware, this past Thursday thru Saturday were the competition days of the 2016 Hobie Worlds Kayak Fishing Championship, held this year in Leeville, Louisiana after recent stints in Australia, The Netherlands, and China. Unlike the pre-fishing days earlier in the week when conditions were a bit windy but temperatures favorable - and lots of fish were caught - the competition days were brutal! Strong north winds, bone-chilling temperatures, and extreme low tide made for some of the toughest conditions I've ever seen in a Louisiana-based kayak fishing tournament. All three days there were delayed launches due to weather. Several competitors from around the globe - and even USA - failed to catch a redfish after 2 days! But coming into the 3rd day, Steve Lessard of Geismar and Richard Somerton of Australia both had significant inches totals and the two - both considered the world's best - lived up to their reputation. In the end, it was Steve who pulled it out, with Somerton taking 2nd place. Other notable finishes: Matthew Vann of Panama City (USA) finished 3rd, Jianping Du of China was 4th, Matthew Scotch of USA was 5th, Fudong Li of China was 6th, and Brendan Bayard of Baton Rouge (USA) was 7th. Outside of USA, China, Australia, the highest country placers were Igor Azevedo of Spain (12th), Ronald Traas of Netherlands (13th), Rene Winklinger of Austria (15th), and Thorsten Klein of Germany (16th). As for Steve, he becomes the first kayak angler to repeat as Worlds Champion in the 6 year history of the event. As I've said on several occasions, I consider Steve to be to kayak fishing what Kevin Van Dam is to bass fishing, and that's putting him as one of THE BEST anglers in the world!
Speaking of best anglers in the world... I was somewhat taken back by comments I read on a Facebook post that diminished the significance of a Worlds Kayak Fishing Championship. Yes, here in the United States there are more bass tournament anglers than kayak tournament anglers but NOT by a whole lot. On the other hand, kayak fishing is a worldwide phenomena. On a worldwide basis, kayak fishing is easily much larger than bass fishing. Especially since bass fishing is species-specific (largemouth bass are located in only a few countries in the world, most notably USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Russia). The Hobies World Championship is truly a "Worlds Best" competition. I hope the "weigh-in" never becomes a circus event like the BassMasters Classic, but I'd like to see it get more public exposure in the future.
Bring on the rainbeaux trout. This past week's artic plunge dropped water temperatures across most of north and central Louisiana into the upper 40s. Way more than cold enough for ponds to support this popular coldwater species. Texas has already stocked more than 100 ponds and tailwaters all the way down to Houston. As of yesterday, LDWF stocked a pond in Monroe and probably more statewide stockings will be done in the next couple of weeks. We'll keep you posted in our "Rainbeaux" forum.
Now is the time for all good tiers to come to the aid of their clubs! That's essentially the message put out last week by Joe Kahler, president of the Red Stick Fly Fishers. The Baton Rouge based club will be holding their 25th annual "Red Stick Day" on Saturday, March 4th. Like other "conclaves" held each Spring, it's not only educational, and a chance for like-minded anglers to meet up, but also a fundraiser for the club. A large part of the funds raised at conclaves come from boxes of flies offered in the raffles. Flies are ALWAYS a high-demand item. Especially given that most of the flies are not found in any fly shop. And those that are, are not the same quality as those hand-tied by regional tiers. The reason for the appeal at thist time is for a couple of reasons. First, the holiday period after Christmas tends to be sluggish. Not much to do, and nights are much longer than days. Second, the fishing enters a slow period as well. Other than bowl games, not much on the telly either. So, gather those materials now and plan to tie flies for donations soon.
Speaking of conclaves and other events... we're still receiving submissions to our 2017 Calendar. The deadline for Spring events to be submitted to a couple of external calendars is this Friday. After Friday, we'll still be taking entries on a continuing basis for the LAFLYFISH Calendar, for Louisiana Sportsman Fly Lines Calendar, Advocate Outdoors, and other resources. The annual listing we submit to various websites has a deadline of December 25th. The listings we use in Sportsman or other magazines must be submitted no later than 5 days before the start of the prior month (e.g., for inclusion in the May issue, submissions must be by March 26). Recently we've received notice of several events or activities, so keep checking our Calendar page as we don't usually announce these additions. On a side note, the Winter edition of FlyFisher magazine had "Red Stick Day" listed as March 11. The IFFF was notified that the correct date is March 4, and it has been modified on their website. The Spring issue of Flyfisher will have the correct date.
Our Guides, Retailers, and Links listings are being corrected. I apologize for not correcting these sooner. As many of you know, there's been a lot of changes in the past several months regarding retailers of fly fishing and fly tying products here in Louisiana. Three retailers have closed, one is going online only, and two new sources have popped up. There are several new fly fishing guides to add as well. As for links, recently the National Weather Service eliminated the text-only Marine Forecast pages. So I need to redirect those to the graphical ones. There's also been several websites that have disappeared, but also a few new ones to add including the resurrection of the Warm Fly website (now under warmfly.org). If readers have any links to offer - that fit under the categories I've listed - I would appreciate dropping a line.
Sunday, December 4, 2017
What's happening this week. Before I delve in, let me apologize for not posting last week's "happenings". I was out in the boondocks with my only internet access being my android phone, which doesn't work well (that's putting it mildly) with my updates app. Just remember, if you don't see anything posted, we have a CALENDAR page and it has every event or activity - including the details. Now on to this week... On Tuesday, and continuing thru Saturday, it's the start of the Hobie Kayak Fishing Worlds Championship taking place this year in Leeville. More on that later. Also on Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club holds their bimonthly meeting at the Ward 3 Recreation Complex on 7903 Lake Street in Lake Charles. Time is 6:30pm. Visitors are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors on 1914 East 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Turkey Trout Throwdown" tournament out of Cypremont Point State Park. Entry fee is $25, with payouts to heaviest stringer of 5 speckled trout. Artificial tackle only. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, it's Fishing Tackle Unlimited of Houston's 11th annual "Inshore Fly and Light Tackle Expo" at their store on 8723 Katy Freeway. Time is 9:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free. This year's special guest will be renown master fishing rod designer, Gary Loomis. Also, fly tying demos and fly casting clinics. For more info, go to www.fishingtackleunlimited.com and click on "Events".
As mentioned, this week the world championship of kayak fishing takes place in Leeville. It's kayak fishing's version of the BassMaster Classic, but without all the "theatrics", lol! Over 50 qualified anglers from 20 countries across the globe will be coming to south Louisiana for 7 days of activities and fishing. Contestants will be fishing out of identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 and launching out of the Leeville Public Launch. Pre-fishing takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, with competition on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Target species will be redfish, speckled trout and flounder. This is a CPR tournament (catch-photo-release) so there are no maximum sizes for redfish. Angler with the highest cumulative length over the three-day period will be crowned Hobie Fishing World Champion. Defending World Champion Ma Xiaohong of China will be hoping to become the first repeat champion. That'll be tough - the host nation has won four of the past five HWCs - the exception being Steve Lessard of Geismar who won the championship two years ago in The Netherlands. As for the American team, it's headed by Benton Parrot of Spanish Fort, Alabama, a regular of Louisiana tournaments. Other familiar names are Brendan Bayard of Baton Rouge, Steve Lessard of Geismar, and Matthew Vann of Panama City. Benton believes anglers will have a blast, as no previous venue offered such incredible fishing. And the HWC comes when fall marsh fishing has been speck-tacular! But there's one fly in the ointment...
Fishing had been great, but weather is now an issue. The past couple of weeks has been absolutely terrific marsh fishing, but also freshwater. A lot of the small bayous that are usually muddy in spring and summer were running clear and anglers in kayaks and small boats were enjoying great ultralight fishing. Even the larger lakes were fishing great. Water temps were hovering about 60 degrees and bass were still holding to grass beds. But Friday night a low pressure system moved in from the Gulf. It's brought 5 to 8 inches of rain so far across north and central Louisiana! And cold rain too - 45 to 50 degrees. This monsoon will continue thru Monday into south Louisiana. After that, we get two days of good weather before the strongest cold front of the season barrels down. Thursday and Friday - the first two days of the Hobie Worlds Championship - will see highs in the upper 40s and low 50s across the entire state (even Grand Isle). Winds on the coast will be 20 to 25 knots, with gusts to 30 knots! Just as freshwater anglers are going to have to relocate and change to winter tactics, after this week saltwater anglers will have to do likewise.
The Fall 2016 issue of Flyfisher magazine is out. Flyfisher is the official magazine of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) and one of the perks of IFFF membership. In this issue, there's a recap of the 2016 IFFF Fly Fishing Fair and the 2016 Award Recipients. Among the winners from Louisiana or who have resided in Louisiana, are: Kyle Moppert of Baton Rouge for Federator of the Year, Fred Hannie of Lake Charles for the Charles E. Brooks Memorial Life Award, Ron Foreman of Lake Charles for Council Award of Excellence, and David Diaz for the Floyd Franke Casting Contribution Award. Other winners of note familiar to many of us were: Ray Ramirez of Brownsville for Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award, and Phil Shook for the Silver King Award recognizing lifetime saltwater fly fishing contributions. Feature articles include: "The Wapsi Story" featuring the inside operation and history of the world's largest fly tying materials company (located in north Arkansas); "Grayling" by Charles Jardine on the biology and fishing history of this often-underappreciated coldwater species. In his "Casting Column", Louisiana's own Tom Tripi tells how to improve your short casting game via techniques such as reaching, piling, and parachuting. In his "Fly Box" section, Verne Lehmberg does a pictorial highlight of various flies by past Buz Buszek Award winners, including Walt Holman's Foil Popper, Judy Lehmberg's Starry Night, Chris Helm's Deerhair Bug, and many others. In his "Focus on the Fly" column, Verne Lehmberg showcases a dozen popular grayling flies. In addition to other articles and columns, there's news items, obituaries, calendar of events, and much more. As I've stated numerous times, Flyfisher is one of the best magazines of our sport, and yet another reason to join the IFFF.
Thanks to all who sent in 2017 calendar entries so far. Those have been posted on our Calendar page. Some of the Spring events will be highlighted in my January Fly Lines column in Louisiana Sportsman. The next deadline will be December 17 for inclusion in other publications and websites. Some have asked about kayak series dats for 2017. Those are usually not determined until after the kayak clubs hold their board elections. In fact, most kayak tournament dates - clubs or otherwise - are typically not set until late December or early January.
As posted in our forum, LDWF is ending the Tag Louisiana program. After the article by Todd Masson of Nola.com breaking the news to the public, there was a firestorm response on social media. Even a majority of folks who don't participate were disappointed in the news. And that makes sense, since everyone - well, almost everyone - enjoys reading about the "journeys" of a fish that was tagged and recaptured. CCA Louisiana - a major program sponsor - was also caught by surprise of the news. We'll see if there's a change of heart at LDWF, but I'm guessing that this decision comes from the top.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
What's happening this week. It's Thanksgiving week, and with school out for the week, a chance to take a young person fishing! On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Province Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will lead the group in tying the "Silli Butt", a very effective pattern for crappie, bluegill, even smallmouth bass. Beginners are welcome. Thursday is Thanksgiving, and Friday is "Black Friday" the official start of the Christmas Shopping season. Have a great week!
Cold weather has finally arrived. The cold front that pushed thru the state on Friday brought the first frost of the season last night across north and central Louisiana. Another frost warning is out for tonight. Of consequence to anglers is that this cold air will send crappie to their winter haunts - deep water, feeder creeks, and structures such as bridges and submerged brushpiles. It will also send more trout from open water reefs further up into estuaries. In southeast coastal areas, that means bayous, canals, deadends, and deep pits. In the Calcasieu area, look for trout to be more concentrated in the LNG terminal canals, Lakes Prien and Charles, and Turners Bay. This "second migration" of specks also brings bigger fish in closer proximity of popular kayak fishing launch spots. The 15 day forecast calls for a succession of fronts which should lower tides and expose banks for sightcasting opportunities. The trick will be to pick the right day between fronts when winds are down.
The December issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out and available at sporting goods and convenience stores across the state. As you might guess, a lot of this issue is dedicated to hunting, but there's enough fishing stuff to make anglers happy. In my Fly Lines column - "The Joys of Christmas Fishing" - I recall a mid-December marsh fishing trip with friends Mike LaFleur and Roger del Rio. The coast provides many presents over the holiday season - silver, red, brown and striped - for fly anglers taking the right approach for each species. In his "Puddles and Paddles" column, Chris Holmes advises not to put the yak up for winter. He tells paddlers where to look for fish on cold winter days, and what techniques to use. In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst highlight Kevin Quigley, who shares his recipes for grilled delights on his Big Green Egg, such as Shrimpburgers. In his Game Warden column, Keith LaCaze details the comeback of the Louisiana alligator. In Field Notes, Phillip Gentry gives readers the 10 Commandments of Crappie Fishing. Feature articles include "From Hot to Cold" where Patrick Bonin tells why the Chalmette Hot Water Canal is no longer THE winter hot spot it once was, but how it and nearby waters can still be productive. Kinny Haddox writes about how the drawdown on Lake D'Arbonne is a great opportunity for crappie anglers. Rusty Tardo tells why Pointe a la Hache provides consistent action for winter reds and specks. Many more articles, plus tidal charts, solunar tables, and regional fishing forecasts.
The Winter issue of Fly Tyer magazine is out. Fly Tyer is an national publication celebrating all things of the vise, and featuring numerous fly patterns on a quarterly basis. Most of Fly Tyer columns are submitted by guest columnists. Spotlighting this issue in the "Saltwater Feature" column is an article by Fred Hannie of Lake Charles, giving step-by-step instructions on his Mono Grass Shrimp. He also writes on why this realistic pattern is so successful and how it should be fished. In "Materials Notebook" column, David Klausmeyer tells about three new materials and instructions on a fly that uses each one. Drew Chicone shares his StrawBoss fly, a pattern with lifelike motion that he claims trigger the feeding instincts of big bass. Al Ritt shares winter patterns for Colorado; Al and Gretchen Beatty give pro tips for tying CDC wings; Eric Austin provides photo step-by-step instructions for the "Evening Star" salmon fly pattern. Other columns include "Editor's Bench", "Beginners Corner", and "Reader Favorites".
Monday, November 14, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. This month the club will meet early at 5:00pm as they'll be making poppers. Bring your tying tools. Beginners and guests are welcome. Also 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. Visitors are welcome. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are fishing reports, tackle tip, and the upcoming Turkey Trout Tournament. Guests are welcome. 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 if you have some, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their final series tournament of the year, the "Where Y'ak? Throwdown". Fishing is anywhere in St. Bernard or East Plaquemine Parish. Entry fee is $20 plus Paypal fee. Top bag of 10 trout plus 1 flounder wins. Fishing starts at 5:30am and weigh-in is at 1:00pm at Gulf Outlet Marina in Chalmette. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
Donald Trump and fishing. It was the most contentious - and unbelievable - presidential race in my lifetime. It seems like more people voted AGAINST the other candidate rather than FOR someone. But last Tuesday night the voters of America made their decision and elected Donald J. Trump as our 45th president. Unlike many of the protesters who needed a "safe space" following the election, those anglers who supported Clinton (or Johnson) probably found their safe space on the water. The few who did vote Democrat or Libertarian had many concerns, two of which were fishing and conservation. But Trump may be more friendly to both than folks imagine. For example, during the GOP race, he stated that he opposes sale of federal lands because his sons hunt and fish on public lands and those are utilized by many other outdoorsmen. He also has opposed Obama's executive order which designates vast areas of the ocean as "national monuments" to prohibit fishing in those areas. Trump has also opposed the EPA E85 mandate which the Recreational Fishing Alliance and boating groups have opposed because it could damage existing outboard motors. There's also the issue of state management of red snapper - which Obama opposed and threaten to veto any such bill. Most believe Trump would sign such a bill which would be a "yuuge" win for Louisiana offshore anglers. Overall, I see the Trump presidency being more pro-conservation. But time will tell.
Southern Trout Magazine to launch Ozark Edition. For those that aren't aware of this fine magazine, STM is an online regional publication that covers coldwater and smallmouth bass fishing for the southern Appalachians and extending into the Mid-South region or the Ozarks and Ouachita rivers of Missouri and Arkansas. The publisher has decided to spinoff the Mid-South region into a separate magazine. Coming this week is the launch of Southern Trout Ozark Edition. STM will remain a bi-monthly publication, ST Ozark will also be bi-monthly but on those months that STM does not publish. To subscribe for current issues via email, or to read previous editions online, go to www.southerntrout.com
Great speckled trout weather continues. In fact, it might be just a little too good. The numbers are there, but not the size yet. Great reports are coming from open lakes like Lake Jesse, Laurier, Catfish Lake, Lake Barre, Lake Borgne and Big Lake. There's also some nice catches of white trout mixed in. For flycasters, the Clouser Minnow or EP Spawning Shrimp under a VOSI are getting the numbers, but topwaters early are picking up some sizeable fish. Bass fishing also continues to be good, and there's been an unusually late good run on chiquapin! While this dry spell and low river levels have greatly improved fishing in places like Vermillion Bay, it's been bad for stream fishing here in central Louisiana. Kisatchie Bayou is more like Kisatchie Ditch. Of course, the farmers need rain as much as we need for our gardens and lawns. As of now, there's a slight chance of rain on Thursday, but we'll be back to dry weather next weekend as a strong cool front pushes thru the state.