Saturday, December 29, 2018

Top 10 Louisiana fly fishing and kayak fishing stories of 2018

For Louisiana fly fishing and kayak fishing interests, 2018 was another notable year.  Some good, some bad.  Here's our picks for the top stories, in ascending order.

10. A good year for fly fishing events.

The calendar was once again filled with events. Some were "conclaves" - those 1 or 2 day festivals put on by clubs that feature programs, fly tying demos, casting instruction, exhibitors, raffles, and more.  The Red Stick Fly Fishers' "Red Stick Day", the Kisatchie Fly Fishers "Cenla Fly Fishing Festival" and the Contraband Fly Casters "Contraband Fly Fishing Expo" all had good attendance and some great programs.

Then there were those popular film festivals and "hangouts". The hangouts  are informal gatherings featuring adhoc tying, casting, conversation - and beer.

Also growing in popularity are fly fishing tournaments.  The 2nd annual "Fly Fishin For The Mission" and "Rio Grande Rodeo" had strong turnouts, with out-of-state folks boosting the attendance.  CCA STAR, Bayou Coast KFC, and Lafayette KFC all continued their passive tournaments with Fly Divisions. A few tournaments in Texas had good turnout from Bayou State anglers.

For 2019, the number of in-state fly tournaments will double. The Kisatchie club won't have a festival (they only do even years), but the New Orleans club is hosting their inaugural "New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo" on April 6th.

9. State record white bass caught.

In the final days of 2018, avid flyfisher Charles Miller made a couple of trips to the Pearl River and hit the jackpot on white bass and hybrid stripers. Two of those of fish were entered into the LOWA Fly Rod Division Top 10 listing - one white bass, the other hybrid. The white bass weighed at a whopping 3.98 pounds. If approved, it will take first place in that species listing.

Charles is an active member of the New Orleans Fly Fishers club and in 2017, was recognized by Louisiana Sportsman as the "Fly Angler of the Year".  He took his fish using a white/chartreuse clouser which he tied himself.

8. Rios added to state record list.

In November it was announced by Lyle Johnson that the Rio Grande Perch would be added to the qualifying species for the state's records list. Johnson is Records Committee Chairman for the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) which maintains the listing of top 10 fish of each species.

Rios are native to south Texas and Mexico, but are considered invasive in Louisiana. They were established in the numerous canals of Orleans and Jefferson parishes as the result of aquarium releases. The flood waters of  Katrina and Rita dispersed them to all waters in those parishes. The dire predictions that they would run displace native panfish populations failed to materialize.

Rios have become a widely popular fly target. When hooked, the big ones fight like a wet cat. By default, any fish added to the Rod & Reel Division is automatically added to the Fly Division. Expect to see quite a few entries pop up in 2019, but not until it gets warm.

7. New books features Louisiana tiers.

In February, Steven Schweitzer's new book, "Designing Poppers, Sliders, and Divers" was released to great anticipation. At the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show, two dozen of the books were sold in the first two hours!  The book is the most comprehensive ever for the topwater lure maker. It includes over 800 photographs, and many dozens of methods, procedures, and tips.

Two of the top popper designers in the country are from Louisiana - Kirk Dietrich and Ron Braud. Both were featured in the book.

Tony Lolli's new book, "The Art of the Fishing Fly", featured the realistic flies of Fred Hannie of Lake Charles. Like Designing Poppers, this book features great photography of flies that focus on the evolution of the art of tying. The forward was written by former President Jimmy Carter.

6. Bull reds run wild at Grand Isle.

Ride The Bull XI lived up to it's reputation as the world's largest kayak fishing tournament, with over 700 participants. Just as noteworthy was the number of bull reds caught - 99 - second highest in tournament history. But that was just the beginning of a great bull run.

During an IFA Kayak Fishing Tournament in October at Grand Isle, over 300 bulls were caught by the 38 anglers participating. Even more impressive is that all were caught on artificial lures!  Since IFA Kayak events are CPR, bull reds are eligible as all are photographed and released.

A week later, kayakers flooded the pass and experienced a redfish blitz of unusual severity!  Sadly it came to an end soon after when the first cold front of the season brought very cold weather to the island.

5. Where were the speckled trout?

When it comes to weather, 2018 couldn't have been much worse for anglers in the western parishes. From Lake Charles to Shreveport, we experienced a bitterly cold January, prolonged chilly weather into early April, and throughout the year, excessive rainfall. Some stations saw as much as 140 percent of normal rainfall.

All this bad weather had a great impact on the Calcasieu estuary. Salinities were near zero at Lake Prien for most of the year, and far below normal as far south as Commissary Point. The result was some of the worst speckled trout fishing in many years. During the CCA STAR tournament, some spots on the leaderboard remained empty until July. Things didn't improve much in October and November, prime time months for the estuary.  Thankfully, redfish salvaged a large number of trips.

4. Steve Lessard does it again!

Steve Lessard of Geismar is a kayak fishing legend. He's become what Kevin Van Dam is to bass fishing. Steve is the only two-time World Champion, with numerous tournament victories and multiple "Kayak Angler of the Year" and other awards from IFA and his home club, Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club.

In October, Steve added to the accolades with an impressive victory at the BCKFC 2018 Championship. He and other qualifying anglers for the event braved severe weather at Lake Hermitage in search of 2 reds and 2 trout. His total of 14.17 pounds edged out 2nd place Jimmy Baker's 12.03 pounds. Steve's win also earned him enough points to also win "BCKFC Angler of the Year".

3. Sweet goodbye to friends of the fly.

In March, Bernard Victor "Lefty" Kreh passed away at age 92. Lefty was recognized as the greatest fly angler of modern times. Outdoors writer, author, instructor, innovative fly tier, world-traveled angler, humorist and conservationist, Lefty's popularity skyrocketed - along with many other legends such as Stu Apte, Flip Pallot, Joe Brooks and Lee Wulff - thanks to the American Sportsman TV show in the mid-60s. 

As recently as a year before - at age 92 - he was giving seminars and casting clinics to large audiences at The Fly Fishing Show venues. During my lifetime, I'd seen Lefty almost two dozen times and in each case, he spent nearly as much time teaching kids and newcomers as he did conversing with experienced anglers and industry professionals. That might be his greatest legacy.

Although Lefty was a resident of Maryland, he had an impact on many Louisiana anglers who saw him in person. And the many who learned from his books and videos. During his lifetime, he made several appearances here in Louisiana and numerous fishing trips. Nearly everyone who has spent time with Lefty has a story to tell. There was NEVER a dull moment with this great angler!

Closer to home, we lost two great gentlemen of our sport.

Maumus "Timau" Claverie, Jr. was a giant in marine conservation. A distinguished attorney from New Orleans, Timau was an avid fly angler, a board member of the New Orleans Fly Fishers, and former board member of the FFF Gulf Coast Council. For decades he served with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) on both state and national level, was a member of the IGFA board of directors, Billfish Foundation, and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and much more.

Jim "Tuna" Thompson was a longtime active member of the Baton Rouge-based Red Stick Fly Fishers. A graduate of the Naval Academy, and later a practicing attorney for DEQ, Jim served on the RSFF board for a few years, and was a longtime fixture of the club's "Lunch Bunch". A complete fly angler, he loved fly fishing for bass, specks and reds as much as he did traveling for bonefish or coldwater trout.

2. House Bill 391.

Over the past decade, Louisiana's "Sportsmans Paradise" has slowly become "Posted Paradise" as more coastal landowners have cut off public access to tidal waters. Our state remains the only one of fifty for which tidal waters are not public. This issue has been a major concern for kayak anglers, and in some cases, tournaments have been cancelled or relocated because of lack of public access.

This past legislative session, Representative Kevin Pearson of Slidell introduced a bill that would've allowed public access - with some concessions to duck hunters and other private concerns. HB391 surprised many observers by passing House Committee. It even appeared to have enough votes on the House floor. That's when large out-of-state oil companies took action, bringing in over 50 lobbyists to work against HB391. When the full house voted, the bill was defeated 59 to 37.

While every coastal angler agreed that HB391 had an uphill battle to become law, it didn't help when CCA - which had claimed neutrality on the issue - got involved and took a stance against the bill. It's not clear how many memberships CCA lost because of this, but based on Facebook comments, they have a lot of fence to mend.

1. HB687 fails.

While many anglers were focused on House Bill 391, HB687 was every bit as important. It would've restructured basic hunting and fishing licenses, reducing the number from 117 to 30 licenses. It would've also raised fees on basic fishing licenses by 42 percent. While most would consider that increase a bit high, consider that we'd not had a basic fee increase in 20 years.

Of greater importance, the increased fees were necessary for matching federal funds. LDWF receives no money from general funds, so all monies are from direct revenues plus money distributed by the Interior Department through Dingell-Johnson and other federal excise taxes. For every dollar the state generates directly, roughly four times that amount is recieved from the distribution.

HB687 was necessary for LDWF to fulfill many funding needs, including completion of repairs on the Booker-Fowler hatchery, to combat giant salvania and other aquatic weeds, and to continue outdoors education programs.

The bill passed committee with flying colors, but was defeated on the House floor. Sadly, most legislators saw the fee increase much like a tax increase. LDWF failed to make the point that, under new federal guidelines, the state did not have as many qualifying dollars to match with. They also failed to emphasize that if Louisiana loses these dollars, then more of the matching pool goes to states like New York and California. No word on whether an attempt in the 2019 session is in the works.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas!

This marks the last of activities until after New Years. So starting now, we'll be on break. If something does comes up, it'll be posted in the forum or on our Facebook page.

So here's wishing a most blessed Christmas for all our friends! Hope everyone finds something under the Christmas tree they can use for their piscatorial pursuits in the coming year.  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.".

Friday, December 21, 2018

More rainbeaux trout on the way!

The Get Out and Fish! community fishing program partners LDWF with parks and neighborhood ponds throughout the state to provide a quality fishing experience for all ages. Each of the 12 community fishing sites is managed by inland biologists and stocked with channel catfish at intervals during the year, and with rainbow trout in winter.

Yesterday LDWF announced that rainbow trout will be coming to the ponds in mid-January. Stocking information will be provided via their Facebook page. The ponds include: Girard Park (Lafayette), Zemurray Park (Hammond), Torres Park (Chalmette), Burbank Park (Baton Rouge), Kiroli Park (West Monroe), Turners Pond (Minden), Polk City Park Pond (Vidalia), Purple Heart Memorial Park (Ragley), Grambling City Park Pond (Grambling), Fabacher Pond (Youngsville), Mayfield Park (Ruston), and Hutchinson Park (Walker).

LDWF stocked over 8 million fish in 2018

Speaking of stockings, the LDWF Inland Fisheries Hatchery - in cooperation with the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery, Shreveport's Cross Lake Fish Hatchery, and LDWF's Rockefeller Refuge - stocked over 8 million fish into 59 waterbodies across the state this past year.

Gamefish species included: over 7 million Florida-strain largemouth bass, 412,000 bluegill, 117,000 redear, 58,000 northern-strain largemouth, 42,000 striped bass, 27,000 channel catfish, and 15,000 black crappie. Other species stocked included triploid grass carp, threadfin shad, and golden shiner.

Most of the stockings take place in spring and fall, when fingerlings are large enough to be handled and water temperatures are conducive to growth and survival.

While our native northern-strain largemouth are capable of reproducing adequately, biologists stock with large numbers of Florida-strain in hopes there will be sufficient cross-breeding. These hybrid offspring grow much faster and larger than either Floridas or Northerns, and make up almost all of the 10+ pound bass caught in Toledo Bend, Caney Lake and other state waters each year.

One more fish stocking story: False River

Last week, over 4,800 black crappie and 4,600 bluegill were stocked into False River near New Roads. The average size of the crappie was 5 inches, while the average size of the bluegill was 4 inches. The fish were reared at Booker Fowler Hatchery near Forest Hill. Additional stockings will continue on periodic basis. Other species stocked in recent months include largemouth bass and redears.

The stockings represent part of the efforts to restore this once-great fishing lake, at one time ranked one of the five best freshwater lakes in America. In the late 90s, the lake began a rapid decline, blamed in large part on agricultural drainage into the lake, resulting in a buildup of sediments over the large shell beds that served as spawning beds.

Another part of the restoration will revive the "flats" that were covered with sediment. Beginning in mid-January, an estimated 95,000 cubic yards of sediment will be dredged from the lake bottom on the North Flats using geotubes that filter out the sediment and transport it to an area adjacent to the lake. The dredging operation is expected to last about 7 months.

Funding for the dredging project was secured by legislation sponsored by state representative Major Thibaut in cooperation with the False River Watershed Council. A watershed management plan, revised this past year, will draw from the expertise of many parish, state and federal agencies to insure the longterm vitality of False River. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Rainbeaux trout are here!

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.

Yesterday, BREC kicked off rainbeaux trout season with stockings at three ponds: Palomino Park, Zachary Community Park, and Howell Community Park.  While the stockings usually bring euphoria among fly anglers, there was some disappointment.  For one, none of the ponds in south Baton Rouge were stocked - first time ever!  Second, the number of ponds stocked continues to decline, from five in 2010 to three this year. 

Still, we expect fly anglers to take advantage of what's available.  A few things to keep in mind. Even though trout are not regulated by LDWF, 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).

Most of the stocked fish are between 8 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.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

IFTD Sells Out in Record Time

The week of October 16-18, 2019, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) will host the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show (IFTD) at the Denver Convention Center in Colorado. For the first time in 10 years, the show will not be co-joined with ICAST, the world's largest fishing trade show.

When the decision was made to separate, it was met with some concern about exhibitor interest. Well that concern is no longer. Earlier this week, AFFTA announced that all of the exhibitor booths for the show have been sold, and that a waiting list is already in progress.  It marks the earliest that IFTD booths - separate or with ICAST - have been completely booked.

Acccording to AFFTA President Ben Bulis, the decision to move the show to Denver was to make it more geographically convenient for retailers. ICAST will continue to be held in Orlando for the foreseeable future. While IFTD gives retailers and media a look at all product lines, it's also the event at which new products are introduced and showcased. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

What's happening this week - 12/16

A light schedule with Christmas only a little more than a week away. Perhaps the biggest "happening" this week will be the stocking of rainbow trout in designated ponds. No dates have been specified, but we'll be monitoring.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  On the agenda: nominations for club directors for 2019, fishing reports. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. This is the club's annual Christmas Party, food provided. Members encouraged to participate in Dirty Santa. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

What's happening this week - 12/9

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will be holding their annual Christmas banquet. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their annual Christmas party. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

What's happening this week - 12/2

On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Hall on 415 Roselawn 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 Street in Abita Springs. Gathering at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome.  For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston, at their Katy Freeway store, will host their 12th annual Inshore Fly and Light Tackle Expo. Time is 10:00am to 4:00pm. Special guest will be Enrico Puglisi. The Expo will also feature several prominent fishing guides, and fly tiers from south Texas. Also, fly casting clinics and demos. For more info, go to www.fishingtackleunlimited.com.

Also on Saturday, it's the 2nd annual "Select A Fly Challenge" fly fishing tournament at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. Time is 7:30am to 3:30pm. Entry fee is $40 donation, which allows selection of one fly. Extra mulligan fly is $20. Target species is rainbow trout. All proceeds go to benefit Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. For more info, go to the TPWD SAFC 2018 web page

Also on Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club Series Championship at Lake Hermitage. While it's only open to BCKFC members who have qualified for the championship tournament, it'll be interesting to see how contestants fare following this week's cold snap. And if the big trout have moved inside along the Highway 23 corridor.  For tournament results, go to www.bckfc.org.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

What's happening this week - 11/25

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 Dr. Leesia Marshall of LSUA's biology department, who will present on the River Continuum Concept. The meeting is open to the public. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your 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 Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7640 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

This day means many things to many different people. For most, it's a day of feasting with friends and family. Here in Louisiana, the dinner table will be adorned with turkey, roast, venison, duck or other hearty meat slowly cooked, along with Cajun favorites like sweet potatoes and corn machcoux. There's a good chance that the bird of choice is stuffed  with crawfish or shrimp.  I'm getting hungry just typing this, lol!

Here in the Cormier household, while we do enjoy our feasting and football, we still recognize Thanksgiving as a day to give thanks for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. We're thankful for all the woods, waters and wildlife we have here in the Sportsmans Paradise. And for the numerous friends we've made through our love of outdoors.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2019 Calendar reminder

Yep, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah - and our Spring Calendar deadlines. If you have, or know of, a fly fishing event or kayak fishing event taking place in 2019, please check the LAFlyFish Calendar and see if it's posted and the date and location are correct. Exact details are not required at this time. If the event is missing, or info is incorrect, please email me at catch(at)laflyfish(dot)com.

If you look at our Calendar page, you'll see most of the annual events have already set dates. Event managers know that early announcement leads to better attendance.  Some dates not yet set include series tournaments for the Bayou Coast and Lafayette kayak fishing clubs, kayak demo days, and a few CCA fishing seminars.  We are told the kayak tournament dates will come in late December.

We accept event submissions at any time for our calendar. However, there are publications of these events done on an annual or monthly basis. The first of these has a deadline of December 1st. So if you wish for your event to get FREE publicity - and it's NOT on our Calendar - you have until that day to send it to us.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What's happening this week - 11/19

With the Thanksgiving holiday, a very light week ahead.

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  Bill Morrison will lead in tying the Dragon Tail Streamer. 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. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  On the agenda: the club's upcoming fly fishing expo in July. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: recap of the Turkey Trout Throwdown, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Rios now eligible for state record listing

Earlier this month, it was reported by outdoors contributor Joe Macaluso in The Advocate newspaper (Baton Rouge) that the Louisiana Outdoors Writers Assocation (LOWA) has added the Rio Grande Cichlid to the state's freshwater fish records list.

Rios are native to south Texas and northern Mexico. Due to the aquarium trade - and intentional or accidental releases into waterways - they've become established in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, and southern Florida. Incapable of tolerating very cold water, Rios are most active from late Spring thru early Fall, and seemingly disappear in Winter. They've become a favorite of warmwater fly anglers due to their tendency to eat flies, their wary nature and dogged fight when hooked. Their popularity among flyfishers led to the New Orleans Fly Fishers club establishing the annual "Rio Grande Rodeo". The 10th annual rodeo was held in early October.

So far, flyfishers have been elated with the news. According to LOWA Fish Records Chairman Lyle Johnson, the state's only cichlid will now list the top 10 of this species effective immediately. This will apply to both "Rod and Reel" and "Fly Fishing" divisions. Records can be submitted via forms on the laoutdoorwriters.com website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pat Cohen to highlight Rizzolo Tying Festival

This February, the Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival will celebrate it's 27th year as the largest fly tying event on the Gulf Coast.  Hosted by the Houston-based Texas Fly Fishers club, the fest annually features one of the top names in fly tying and/or fly fishing.  It also features nearly a hundred tiers from across Texas, Louisiana and other states.

TFF has announced that Pat Cohen will be their headliner for the 2019 festival.  Cohen is considered one of the world's top deer hair tiers as well as other patterns for bass, trout, pike and other species.  Pat isn't just a tier who ties flies, but an avid angler who does on-the-water testing of patterns to find what works.

Cohen was featured at the Contraband Fly Casters Expo in Lake Charles back in July.  For those who missed this great fly artist, here's another opportunity.  The Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival will be held on Saturday, February 9th at Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer Road in Houston. The Festival opens at 8:30 am and tying will continue until 4:30 pm.

For more info, click on the image (for larger size) or go to www.texasflyfishers.org.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

What's happening this week - 11/11

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be David Cresson, Executive Director for CCA-Louisiana. David will talk on the latest on saltwater fisheries management and conservation projects the organization is working on. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  Rush Clay will do a presentation on Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma. Also, election of 2019 NLFF board. Guests are welcome.  For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the second of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road.  Time is 7:00pm.  Joe Bandera will be teaching the A.P. Emerger. Bring $1 to cover materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome!  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will welcome the "Sage, Redington and Rio Factory Tour" in conjunction with their quarterly "Fly Fishing Hangout". Time is 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Location is the PnP store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Representatives from all three companies will be on hand with rods, reels and lines for attendees to test cast. Also, there'll be fly tying demonstrations and locally-brewed craft beer. In addition there'll be a raffle for a Redington rod, special discounts on Sage, Redington and Rio products, and more. For details, go to www.packpaddle.com. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

FTU Inshore Expo to feature Enrico Puglisi

On Saturday, December 8th, Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston will host their 11th annual Inshore Expo at their store on 8723 Katy Freeway. Time is 10:00am to 5:00pm. The FTU Expo is a free event dedicated to light tackle and fly fishing interests. In addition to seminars by national and regional anglers and captains, there's also fly tying demos by area tiers, casting demos, and factory representatives.

Each year, the FTU Expo features a renowned name in fly fishing. Past headliners include Enrico Puglisi, Flip Pallot, Steve Rajeff, Andy Mill, Gary Loomis - to name a few. This year's headliner will be Enrico Puglisi. If you missed his appearance at FTU several years ago - or at Uptown Angler in New Orleans a few years back - then this is a great opportunity to see one of the most innovative, entertaining and informative fly tiers alive today.

Other presenters include Laguna Madre guide Ernest Cisneros, Aransas fly fishing guide JT Van Zant, and outdoors artist Chance Yarbrough. For more info, go to www.fishingtackleunlimited.com.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

What's happening this week - 11/4

Tuesday is Election Day.  Please remember to go vote!

Also on Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall. Time is 6:30pm. Guests welcome. For more info, contact Bob Tabbert at 337-989-0815.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St Francis Xavier Church Hall, 444 Metairie Road.  Time is 7:00pm.  Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions.  Materials provided - bring $1 to cover costs of materials.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This weekend, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Fall Catch and Eat" marsh fishing outing along Highway 1 south of Galliano.  The Saturday night fish and shrimp fry is open to members and their guests, and members of other clubs.  RSVP required.  For details, go to www.rsff.org.

Friday, October 26, 2018

PnP Fly Fishing Hangout November 18th

Fly Fishing Hangout w/ SRR Factory Tour
Sunday, November 18, 2018
2:00pm - 4:30pm
Pack & Paddle, 601 E. Pinhook, Lafayette
FREE event

The good folks at Pack and Paddle will be holding another of their "Fly Fishing Hangouts" next month, this time in conjunction with the Sage, Redington and Rio Factory Tour.  The Sage trailer will be on hand loaded with rods, reels and lines for folks to try out. Company reps will be on hand to talk about every aspect of Sage, Redington and Rio gear.

There will also be other activities including fly tying. The store will have a fly tying den. Folks can also check out the wide variety of fly tying materials and tools that PnP now carries.

Each attendee will have a chance to win a Redington fly rod to be given away at 4:00pm. Also, special discount coupons will be given out on all Sage, Redington and Rio products. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Midweek tidbits - Lefty Kreh auction and recognition, new LDWF pond

Lefty with Catch Cormier at 2006 Home Waters Expo
This Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28, the remains of the Lefty Kreh estate will be placed on auction online. Hundreds of rods and reels, thousands of flies, assorted gear, fishing art, signed fishing books, and much more from the estate of America's most famed and loved fly fisher who passed away in March at age 93.  Starting bids will range from $20 to around $400, depending on rarity and value. The auction will be conducted by Langs Auctions. Check live.langsauction.com for details.

While on the subject of Lefty Kreh, the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, has established the "Lefty Kreh Memorial Conservation Fund" to honor the legendary angler.  The Fund will provide support to important conservation projects advanced by BTT and TU, including joing projects by the two organizations that advance the fly fishing continuum, from coldwater fisheries to saltwater flats.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a new addition to their community fishing program, a.k.a. Get Out and Fish! Sidney Hutchinson Park in Walker will be the site of a free youth fishing event on Saturday, November 3 to celebrate the addition. Ages 15 and under are eligible for prizes in two categories - Little Angler (8 and under) and Junior Angler (9-15). In addition, the first 100 youth to register will receive a goody bag and every participant will be entered into a raffle for prizes. Adults who accompany each minor will also be entered into a separate raffle. Catfish will be stocked prior to the tournament.  Like most GOAF ponds, it's likely rainbow trout will be stocked later in December.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bull reds running wild at Grand Isle

This past Friday and Saturday, the IFA Kayak Tour National Championship was held out of Grand Isle. The objective of this saltwater-based tournament series is to earn highest points based on a daily catch of biggest redfish and biggest speckled trout. Because the format is CPR (catch, photo and release), there is no slot limit restrictions on reds. So bull reds are not only acceptable, they're targeted.

The 38 qualifying competitors had no trouble catching bull reds behing Grand Isle. According to several Facebook posts, HUNDREDS of bull reds were caught by contestants. All on artificial lures (tournament rules). While none were caught on fly rod, prospects for fly anglers should be really good until it gets too cold.

As is often the case this time of year, many of the late spawning bulls will move to the backside of barrier islands and even into the lower marshes.  It's not uncommon to find these redzillas in shallow water areas in places like Hopedale, Port Sulphur, Leeville, Weeks Island, and Lafitte.  Targeting them on fly is not only challenging, but once hooked, a long, epic battle is guaranteed!

Back to the IFA championship... winning his unprecented fourth title was Benton Parrot of Spanish Fort, Alabama who frequently fishes Louisiana waters. Benton's two biggest reds were 43.00 and 41.375 inches, and two trout were 17.00 and 19.00 inches. Other top five finishers were Aaron Clay, Scott Bienvenu, Matthew Vann, and Fil Spencer. Biggest red was Spencer's 44.25 inches - which based on conversion was approximately 35 pounds!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

What's happening this week - 10/21

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. 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. This month, the club will be tying tube flies. 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 Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7640 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Sunday, Pack & Paddle will hold their annual Fall Kayak Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm.  This is a free event. While PnP does individual demos per advance request throughout the year, this is one of the few events where folks can come try their boats out with no advance notice.  They'll have their widest array of kayaks available, including the new 2018 redesigned Hobie Outback.  Also, monster deals on some 2018 demo models.  For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com

Sunday, October 14, 2018

What's happening this week - 10/14

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month, the group will tie the Surface Seducer Double Barrel Popper. 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. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: upcoming tournaments, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

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. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This weekend, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will have their annual "Marsh Invasion" outing at Pointe-aux-Chenes. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Saturday, it's the annual Fall Wildlife Celebration at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Teague Parkway in Bossier City. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Among the various activities and exhibitors, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will be participating, doing fly tying and fly casting demos and lessons. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will hold a "Hobie Demo Day" on Bayou St. John just past the Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Boats available for testing include: Hobie Pro Anglers 12 and 14, Compass, Compass Duo, and the new 2019 redesigned Outback. Weather permitting, check their Facebook page for updates.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Make plans for Toledo Bend Rendezvous

Toledo Bend Rendezvous
November 2-4, 2018
North Toledo Bend State Park, Zwolle, LA

What is Rendezvous?  It's the oldest, pure fly tying event east of the Rockies, currently celebrating its 30th year. Tiers from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and elsewhere get together at North Toledo Bend State Park for a weekend to fish and tie flies. There's no planned activities, but plenty of fly tying, food, fly casting and fishing, with only a minimal fee to cover lodging and meals.

The activities take place at the park's group facility, which features a commercial kitchen and dining hall, and lodging available for up to 150 people in 5 heated log bunkhouses (30 beds each). There's also a heated central shower and restroom building with nice night lighting on all the sidewalks and a large main log building with A/C, picnic tables and a large barbeque trailer.

Attendees can come for a weekend (lodging and meals included) or just for the day (Saturday). The event is open to the public.

Held the first weekend of November each year, the Toledo Bend Rendezvous (aka Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous) is co-sponsored by the IFFF Texas and Gulf Coast Councils.  For complete details, go to the Toledo Bend Rendezvous home page.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

What's happening this week - 10/7

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For details, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gordon Shaw  will  be  talking about  the  differences  in  fiberglass  fly  rods.  They  are  making a comeback!  Casting lessons during the social gathering at 6:00pm, meeting starts at 6:45pm and presentation will begin at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road.  Time is 7:00pm.  Bring $1 to cover materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome!  For details, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This Saturday's PAC Fall Fly Classic tournament has been cancelled.

On Saturday, it's "Wild Things" celebration at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 434 in Lacombe. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. There is no cost. Hosted by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, the event features speakers, live animals, demos on pirogue building and wildlife crafts. The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will be on hand giving fly tying demonstrations. Food and drink sales at Wild Things help FLWR support conservation and education projects.

Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Cajun Castaway" tournament out of Lake Charles. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, this event is open to the public. Entry fee is $25, and can be paid online via their website. Artificial lures only. The single category is Cajun Slam (combination of one each of slot red, speckled trout and flounder 12 inches or longer). There's an optional $5 calcutta for flounder. Boundaries are Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes, public access only. Weigh in will be at Lake Prien Park. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"Fish My City" to feature New Orleans

On October 12th, the Nat Geo WILD channel will premier a new series - featuring professional bass angler and TV personality Mike "Ike" Iaconelli.  "Fish My City With Mike Iaconelli" follows the Ike-man as he travels to some of the world's largest cities in search of urban fishing adventures - as well as partaking in the local history and culture.  The six-part series includes stops at Austin, Miami, New York, Taipei, London, and New Orleans.

The New Orleans episode airs on October 19th.  The Crescent City is always a special place for Iaconelli as he won the Bassmasters Classic here.  He'll be in search of three of the city's most iconic fish species.  According to the press release, Ike will be dealing with challenging weather conditions, unusual happenings in the city's flood control system, and a "fearsome historic predator that can grow to 10 feet long". Wonder what that could be?  We'll guess that among those three species is either rios or redfish or both. 

FISH MY CITY WITH MIKE IACONELLI premieres Friday, October 12, at 10/9c on Nat Geo WILD, and will premiere globally in 140 countries and 38 languages. For more info, visit www.natgeowild.com .

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What's happening this week - 9/23

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Goodwood branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Conference Room B on the 2nd floor. Time is 7:00pm. 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.

Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. This is the club's annual "Fall Casting Session". Casting starts at 6:00pm. If inclement weather, we'll watch a video on casting instead. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7640 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual Fall weekend at Lake Concordia, fly fishing for freshwater species. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

Rio Rodeo enjoys another strong turnout

Yesterday was the 10th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo, hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers. According to Sean Gilthorpe, some 40 anglers participated, with some coming from Texas and Mississippi.

This year boundaries were extended to all public waters in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Since it's creation, the "Longest Rio" category has existed. But for 2018, a new category was added for "Most Rios". Here were the results:

Longest Rio
1st Place - Ricky Bonczek - 9 3/4"
2nd Place - Rob Bergeron - 9 1/2"
3rd Place - Kirk Dietrich - 9 1/8"

Most Rios
Tie - Jace Bamewold (Archbishop Rummel Fishing Club) and David Karcher (member New Orleans Fly Fishers) with 21 each.

Thanks to Sean Gilthorpe for this report. The 11th annual Rio Rodeo will be scheduled sometime in the next few months.

LSU AgCenter working to make better bass fishing

According to a news release from the LSU AgCenter earlier this week, researchers at the university are working to make a better bass fishing experience for Louisiana anglers. Led by William Kelso, professor of fisheries at the School of Renewable Natural Resources, and Sabrina Taylor, a conservation geneticist in the school, their team is collecting genetic composition of bass samples from across the state.

Since the early 1980s, more than 100 million Florida-strain largemouth bass have been released into state waters. The objective has been to introduce the fast-growth and overall larger size of Florida-strain and hybridize with native Northern-strain largemouth. These hybrid fish produce the real trophies that everyone dreams of catching.

The problem is that Florida bass have not done well in all waters across the state. In fact, some of the most fished waters - such as the Atchafalaya Basin - biologists have found few genetics of the Florida bass despite heavy stockings.

Researchers at LSU - ACSRR are working on a three-year project to determine what type of habitat best suits Florida strain bass. The result will be to effectively target stocking to those specific lakes. Because a lake can either support quality or quantity but seldom both, this would give Louisiana anglers a choice of fishing quality waters (stocked with Floridas) or quantity waters (stocked with Northerns). 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SweatFest 2018... the sweat just keeps on coming!

Readers may be questioning my wisdom. It wouldn't be the first time anybody has done that. But in this case, it's in reference to the weather.

A month ago, I stated that August was the last full month of SweatFest. And that September would bring us our first taste of cooler weather. Well, we're into the second half of the month and we haven't seen a hint of a cool front.

Let me define what I consider a "cool front" in Louisiana. It's based on temperatures in Alexandria (state center). When either (a)  nighttime temps dip to 60 degrees or lower, or (b) when daytime temps dip below 85 degrees AND nighttime dips below 65 degrees.

Looking at the 15-day forecast, we're not due for a cool front until September 30th. In the last decade, the first cool fronts have come on Sept 16 (2008), Sept. 3 (2009), Sept. 27 (2010), Sept. 6 (2011), Sept. 10 (2012), Sept. 22 (2013), Sept. 15 (2014), Sept. 13 (2015), Sept. 27 (2016) and Sept. 7 (2017). So this would be the latest cool front to invade our state in ten years.

Why is a cool front so important to us anglers? Fish activity is triggered by water temperature. Hot water holds less dissolved oxygen (DO). After a long, hot summer, The DO in most water bodies is very low.  Low DO means sluggish fish. Just as important, the stress placed on fish during long periods of low DO results in weight loss.  That's why Spring fish are usually bigger and healthier than late Summer fish.

As we approach the Fall equinox, a phenomenon known as radiative cooling begins. So even on these hot days, lakes are cooling down... but it's very minimal. In fact, the current water temperature here on Cotile Lake is 84 degrees - only 4 degrees less than the last day of August. The combination of hot days and high humidity are insulating the heat escape.

But a "cool front" as I described accelerates the radiative process, driving surface water temperatures into the 70s. Strong north winds associated with these fronts in combination with cool nights bring oxygen levels up. The result is "Fall Vigor". Both fresh and salt species get very active - and remain so usually until late December.

As pointed out, we've had late cool fronts before (September 27).  But we're also having record hot temperatures for the second half of September.  Today's high in Alexandria will be 97 degrees with a heat index of 104.

Before anyone screams out "global warming!", a word of caution. One indication of global warming is the extent of seasonal melt of the Arctic ice cap. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that this year's extent was in the "top ten" of meltoff.  But not nearly as bad as 2008, 2012, 2015, and 2016. Four of those years we had cool fronts in the first half of September. So the problem isn't as much global warming as it is a deflection in the jet stream.

There is some good news. The "love bugs" have shown up. The old timers used to tell us that when the bugs show up this time of year, it's two weeks to Fall. Over a lifetime, I've found their prophecy to be mostly correct. Let's hope it is again - people (and fish) are waiting!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What's happening this week - 9/16

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. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  On the agenda: the club's upcoming fly fishing expo in July. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: recap of the Speck and Red Cup, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

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. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Saturday, it's the 9th annual Rio Grande Rodeo. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day. More on that later.

Saturday is also the first day of Fall. We've not had any cool fronts so far. We're past due, hopefully one soon.

This Saturday is the annual Rio Rodeo

The Rio Grande Rodeo is Louisiana's premier fly fishing tournament. Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers, the target species is the Rio Grande Cichlid. Considered an invasive species by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, it's actually native to south Texas - the only American cichlid. However it wasn't found in Louisiana waters until pet store (and aquarium) owners began dumping the species into the maze of waterways in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. After the massive flooding of Hurricane Katrina, rios expanded their presence in the two parishes.

Despite concerns by LDWF, rios have not displaced sunfish species as once feared. Over many decades, they've not exhibited displacement in Texas waters, so why here? In fact, their numbers have been kept in check by cold winters. And the fact that largemouth bass find them to be easy, delicious meals. 

Fly anglers have fallen in love with rios! They love to eat flies, especially wets and popping bugs. And once hooked, it's like fighting a wet cat! On light tackle - 2 thru 4 weight rods - rios can be as much fun as the law allows.

Nine years ago the New Orleans Fly Fishers organized a tournament for this species. It's been a hit ever since averaging between 30 and 50 participants. This Saturday that tradition continues. The event is open to the public. Onsite registration begins at 7:00am Saturday. All entry fish must be caught on fly tackle using artificial flies. This year, fishing is expanded to all public waters in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Lunch and refreshments will be available for participants at the weigh-in. The registration and weigh-in will be at the intersection of Henry Thomas Drive and Palm Drive.

For complete rules and maps of legal fishing areas, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day

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, with events in 37 states.

Here in Louisiana, NHF Day is celebrated annually at four venues - Bodcau, Monroe, Baton Rouge, and Woodworth - with attendance at each in the thousands. 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, Bodcau and Woodworth venues will feature fly fishing, casting and tying thanks to the Red Stick Fly Fishers, North Louisiana Fly Fishers and Kistachie Fly Fishers. Admission to each venue is free for all ages. Time is 9:00am to 2:00pm. For more details, check out the post in our Events Forum or go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

What's happening this week - 9/2

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will host a "Fly Tying Level 1" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:00am.  Cost is $20 and seats are limited, so pre-registration is required.  The class will cover the basics of fly tying, with hands-on instruction in tying two flies effective for fishing here in Louisiana. All tools and materials are provided.  To register online, go to www.packpaddle.com and click on "Store Events".

Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-n-Redfish Cup. Open to the public, entry fee is $25. The format is as follows: you can fish anywhere in Louisiana public waters. Bring your fish to Pack and Paddle in Lafayette before 5:00pm Saturday. Food will be served. Heaviest stringer of 4 fish (max 2 slot reds, max 2 specks) wins. Entry fee includes 1 raffle ticket for a new Solo Skiff (more raffle tickets can be purchased at the weigh-in). For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com

Keeping an eye on the Gulf

This weekend's low pressure system over the northern Gulf has given us our only taste of hurricane season so far. But the majority of storms that hit the northern Gulf Coast take place in September, so no sigh of relief yet. And now we may have our first storm.

A tropical wave in the Bahamas is slowing moving northwest. The National Hurricane Center has given it an 81 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm. If it's a storm, the name will be Gordon.

Like most low-pressure systems in the Atlantic and Caribbean this year, development has been slow due to wind-shear, and milder water temperatures. But once it moves into the Gulf, this system will find more ideal conditions. In fact, it's forward speed may be the only thing preventing it from reaching hurricane strength.

Starting Monday, we'll be posting all updates on this storm on our Facebook page.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September is here, let the transition begin

While SweatFest 2018 isn't over, it soon will be. For example, the averages for today in Alexandria are 92 high, 72 low. By the last day of this month the averages are 84 high, 62 low. But that's half the story, because average humidity in September is lower as well. The combination of lower air temps and lower humidity and shorter days/longer nights means greater radiative cooling of waters.

Consider that the amount of daylight and angle of the sun today is equivalent to that of April 9th. As for radiative cooling... last year on this day the water temp here on Cotile Lake  was 90 degrees. A week later - with no cool front - it was 86 degrees. By the end of the month it was 78 degrees.

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, crappie move to the shallows. So make plans now, tie those flies, get your casting tuned-up. It's about to happen!

Activities wise, there are a couple of major events taking place this month.

The 10th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo - hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers - is the largest and oldest freshwater fly fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast. It takes place Saturday, September 22nd. 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 will be available. More details can be found on www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

September 22nd is also National Hunting and Fishing Day. NHF Day celebrations are hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at four venues, and average over 8,000 attendees. Admission is free. There are hands-on activities for all ages, plus exhibits, food, and more. The Minden, Woodworth, and Baton Rouge venues will have fly fishing and fly tying supported by local clubs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rajeff, McCormick shine at ACA Casting Nationals

Maxine McCormick. Photo courtesy of ACA.
The American Casting Association held its 110th National Championships the week of July 25-28 in Valpariso, Indiana. Participants from across the country came to compete in casting competitions involving both conventional and fly tackle.

In the last few years, the ACA Nationals have been of high interest to flycasters everywhere. First, because of renewed interest among fly clubs in casting games.  Second, because of the numerous records set by Steve Rajeff, one of the greatest fly - and conventional - casters of all time. Rajeff's record 243-foot single-handed distance cast is jaw-dropping!  Finally, there's the extraordinary accomplishments of 14-year old Maxine McCormick, who has been the subject of countless national news stories.  And who many think will be the greatest female fly caster since the legendary Joan Wulff.

Yesterday, the ACA posted the official results of the competition.

In the men's fly competition, it was once again a battle royale between Rajeff and Henry Mittel.  Rajeff came 1st in the 2-handed Distance with 240 feet, followed by Pat McFadden at 236 and Mittel at 235.  In the 1-handed Distance, Rajeff was first with 208, followed by Mittel with 204, and Keith Pryor 156. 

In 2-handed Distance, Keith Sharp won Senior men with 204 feet.  Pam Peters won Womens with 147, and Maxine McCormick won Intermediates with 146.  In 1-handed Distance, Keith Sharp won Mens with 170 feet, Peters won Womens with 119 feet, and McCormick won Intermediates with 130 feet.

The Accuracy Division of the ACA Nationals focuses on hitting five targets of varying distance in sequence.  A perfect score is 100 points.

In Dry Fly Accuracy, Chris Korich won Mens with 99, Larry Moffett won Senior Men with 95, Pam Peters won Women with 97, Alice Gillibert won Senior Women with 89, Maxine McCormick won Intermediates with 96.

In Trout Fly Accuracy, Steve Rajeff won Men with a perfect 100, Charles Phillips won Senior Men with 95, Pam Peters won Women with 89, Elaine Gong won Senior Women with 93.  Maxine McCormick broke another record in the Intermediates with a near-perfect score of 99.  Had she competed in the Mens Division, she would've finished 2nd.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What's happening this week - 8/27

A light week with the Labor Day weekend ahead.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your 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.

Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  The meeting is open to the public. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none there are sets for use during the session. Materials are provided.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7640 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. A.J. Rosenbohm will have fly tying materials from Olde Town Fly Shop (now closed) for club members to purchase at 50 percent off. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

What's happening this week - 8/19

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month, the group will tie the Meat Whistle. 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. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  On the agenda: the club's upcoming fly fishing expo in July. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: upcoming LA1 Slamboree tournament, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will be exhibiting at the Alexandria Farmers Market as part of their "Outdoors Recreation Day". Location is 2727 Jackson in Alexandria. Time is 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The club will be tying flies and giving fly casting instruction.

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. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday and Saturday, it's the Ride The Bull. More on that following.

Ride The Bull this weekend

This Friday and Saturday is the 9th annual "Ride The Bull" kayak fishing rodeo out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. The world's largest kayak fishing tournament, RTB was the brainchild of Danny and Kristen Wray. After Kristen's untimely passing, CCA Louisiana agreed to take the reigns. The event is one of the most celebrated fishing events of the year, with between 500 and 760 participants from across the country and globe, and thousands in prizes.

The tournament remains the same, with the goal being to catch the heaviest bull red.  There is some basic skill and proper tackle involved in catching and landing a bull red, but beyond that, this is a tournament of chance. And that's what makes it so attractive - that anyone can win! When a red is caught, one of several CCA scout boats is flagged down. The boat takes the red back to the marina to be weighed, tagged and released.

Every imaginable watercraft can be seen at this event, from kayaks to pirogues to canoes to standup paddleboards to roundabouts. With so many participants, it's a great opportunity to see just about every type of kayak, every type of rigging and every type of transport.

Friday evening is the Captain's meeting and dinner, with Saturday the tournament and awards. It's a shotgun start, weather permitting. The early regisration period is over, however onsite registration begins Friday evening and up to tournament time on Saturday. Entry fee is $85 and includes entry, dinner, t-shirt and CCA membership for 1 year (or extended). For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday Snippets - 8/18

Sheep herders can't wait for the PAC Fall Fly
BHA member survey results.  This week, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers - one of the fastest growing organizations in the country with over 24,000 members - released results of a demographic survey.  It found that  nearly 70 percent of its members are under 45 years old, and that political affiliation ranges the gamut - 33% independent, 23% Republican, 20% Democrat.  The significance of this cannot be overstated:  this shows that young outdoors men and women of ALL viewpoints support the protection of public lands and waters.  BHA has been very active here in Louisiana, and supports public access to open tidal waters.  For more on this survey, click here.

PAC Kayak Fall Fly tournament.  With the success of the two "Fly Fishin For the Mission" tournaments benefitting the Mission Six non-profit,  Eddie Mullen of PAC Kayak Rentals and Matthew Roberts of Troll Squad / Mission Six have organized a fall event.  Date is Saturday, October 13.  This one is a bit different in that it'll be a CPR (catch-photo-release) using the Tourney X app to "weigh-in" catches.  Most total inches instead of weight.  As with FFFTM, there's separate Kayak and Boat divisions.  But two categories - Redfish (2 longest slot reds) and Mixed Bag (longest 1 each red, speck, drum, sheepshead).  The Mixed Bag addition is drawing lots of interest especially among speckled trout and "goat" enthusiasts.  For more info, go to www.packayakrentals.com.

Friday Fly Tying.  Allen Fly Fishing started as a small scale manufacturer of fly reels with direct sales online.  They've grown in size and expanded their product line to include rods, apparel, hooks, beads, and more.  They're also working to promote fly tying with a series of videos they call "Friday Fly Tying".  Each Friday, Allen subscribers on Instagram and Facebook get notification of a new pattern.  The first dozen and more are simple but effective patterns.  The list will continue to grow.  Beginner tiers can check out the video archive by clicking here.

Counting down to cooler water.  Fall officially begins a month from now. Some will say it really doesn't begin in Louisiana until the first week of October.  But if you own a swimming pool, you know all about radiative cooling - and that it begins the first full week of September. Water temperature is what it's all about.  First time it dips below 80 degrees is when freshwater fishing in north and central Louisiana turns back on. Especially for bass, crappie and redear.  Next week's cool front won't do much - highs will still be near 90 and lows in the upper 60s.  But let's see how water temps respond.  As of today, the temperature here on Cotile Lake was a tepid 86.5 degrees.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What's happening this week - 8/12

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. This month, Glen 'Catch' Cormier will share many new products for fly fishers and kayak anglers from last month's IFTD / ICAST in Orlando, as well as a "2018 State of the Sport". The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  Vicki and Gene Thibodaux will give a presentation on Mountain View, Arkansas, including fly fishing and other things to do in the area. Guests are welcome.  For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road.  Time is 7:00pm.  Joe Bandera will be teaching the A.P. Emerger. Bring $1 to cover materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome!  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Snippets - 8/11

Drawdowns kill aquatic weeds and oxidize lake bottoms
Fish of the Year. This weekend, the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association holds their annual convention and awards banquet in Gonzales. At the banquet, LOWA will recognize - as they do every year - the most significant catch of the previous year in both Rod & Reel and Fly Fishing Divisions. Winners were announced recently. Top catch in the Rod & Reel Division was a 140-pound amberjack taken out of Venice by Chris Legrand of Slidell. It was a new state record for the species. Top catch in the Fly Fish Division was a 9.66-pound sheepshead taken by visiting angler Micheal Lee Clark of Hanahan, South Carolina. Clark caught the big "goat" in January 2017 in the Delacroix marsh while fishing with Capt. Lucas Bissett of Low Tide Charters. The new state record sheepshead ate a Bissett's Mud Bug fly. Congratulations to Chris and Micheal!

National Hunting and Fishing Day. This past week, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries sent out exhibitor notices for NHF Day on September 22nd. NHF Day is celebrated nationwide on the 4th Saturday of September. It was established by Congress to recognize the contributions of anglers, hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts to conservation. Here in Louisiana, LDWF hosts outdoors celebrations at four venues: Waddill (Baton Rouge), Bodcau (Minden), Cenla (Woodworth), and Monroe. Admission is free. There's numerous activities, exhibitors and plenty of food and refreshments.  The Bodcau, Woodworth and Waddill venues feature fly casting, fly tying, and knots courtesy of local fly fishing clubs. For more info, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

CCA STAR. We're into the final weeks of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament, and all the speckled trout divisions - especially Fly and Kayak - have been negatively impacted by two factors. First, it's been a very tough year for specks. Most blame the brutal winter we had. Second, many anglers are boycotting STAR in response to CCA's opposition to a bill allowing tidal water access. Whatever the factors may be, recent good reports of speck catches from Grand Isle (east) and Big Lake (west) may mean changes to the leaderboard soon.

2019 Calendar. It's looking like a busy first half of 2019 for fly fishing events across the state and region. Most are long-running events such as the Natchitoches Fishing Expo, Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival and Red Stick Day. But there are a few new ones, including the first-ever New Orleans Fly Fishers conclave (which we're excited about). As for kayak fishing tournaments, most dates won't be set until December - with the exception of Paddlepalooza which could announced in the next few weeks.

Drawdowns. This week began a drawdown of Black and Clear Lakes in Natchitoches Parish in an effort to combat giant salvania and improve fish habitat by exposing banks heavy in organic material to oxidation. The gates will be left open until January 29th.  Meanwhile, Vernon Lake near Leesville remains 8 feet below pool. Meanwhile, Vernon Lake remains at low levels and will continue until next Spring. In this case, the issue is continued restoration of a dam that was damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Coastal fishing report.  Excellent redfish action continues across the coast.  But speckled trout remains below average.  And those targeting trout are having to put up with a trio of unwanted species -   ladyfish, gafftop catfish, and hardhead catfish.  Cooler weather will drive these undesirables back into the Gulf, but that'll be several more weeks.  Along the beaches and passes, white trout and spanish mackeral are giving fly anglers a cheap thrill, with the occasional jack crevalle giving them a workout. Now is NOT the time to be using anything less than an 8-weight in open waters!  There's a lot of sheepshead activity along marsh grass even in the middle of the day, so keep that as an option. Of course, weather is a major factor.  Late August means calm, hot days with frequent lightning storms. Hydrate often and stay alert!

Sunday, August 05, 2018

What's happening this week - 8/5

Another very light week ahead, as summer starts to wind down.

On Thursday, Pack & Paddle will hold a special seminar, "Learn to Ride The Bull - Kayak Fishing Edition" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. This free seminar will cover the different strategies necessary when fishing for bull reds as opposed to slot reds. With additional tips for the upcoming "Ride The Bull" kayak fishing tournament on August 25th. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Welcome to August! Top 8 things about this month.

1) This is the last full month of "SweatFest", the festival nobody likes to celebrate! It's also the worst month - we typically get several days or more of temperatures 100 degrees or higher. Add in the humidity, and it can be brutal. Fish early in the day, and hydrate often.

2) We're now in the peak of hurricane season. The period from August 1st to October 15th accounts for 91 percent of the named Atlantic storms. August alone accounts for nearly 30 percent. Last month, the National Hurricane Center downgraded their earlier prediction for an above-average season. However, it looks like the Gulf Coast may get some tropical moisture starting this weekend.

3) It's a quiet month for fly fishing activities. In fact, the only significant event anywhere in the country is the National Fly Fishing Fair hosted by Fly Fishers International (formerly the Federation of Fly Fishers). The expo will be held August 7-11 in Boise, Idaho.

4) Kayak fishing is also fairly quiet with one major exception: the 9th annual Ride the Bull out of Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle August 24-25. Originated by Danny and Kristen Wray, RTB grew to become the world's largest kayak fishing tournament. After Kristen lost her battle with cancer, CCA Louisiana agreed to take the reigns. Registration has picked up in the last week and I expect a good turnout, even if far below the tournament record (753).

5) It's bull red season. And the reason why "Ride the Bull" is held this month. Bulls will be thick in the passes as the spawning cycle peaks. Along the beaches, passes, and even into interior lakes, August and September are the best times to hit a "redfish blitz". Schools of reds - sometimes in the thousands - will be busting up pogies on the surface. A bit of advise... something I learned the hard way when Tiger Jake and I crossed paths with a redfish blitz the first time - only one fly angler hook up at a time!

6) This is the best month for pelagic species. Spanish mackeral and bluefish are in the passes. Jack crevalle are active in bays and interior lakes. Bluewater is close in, and dolphin are plentiful. Close to shore are cobia, king mackeral, mangrove snapper. The bad news: it's also the worst month for the nasties - ladyfish, gafftop catfish, and vibrio. Bring antibacterial spray!

7) August is also the last full month for the CCA STAR tournament, which ends on Labor Day. Participation in the Kayak and Fly Fishing divisions has been low this year due to the fallout from this past legislative session and CCA's opposition to the tidal waters public access bill. Regardless, August is always a difficult month for fly anglers to catch large speckled trout. In hot water, the fish are more nocturnal and feed sporadically.

8) Football season kicks off this month. Colleges begin practice next week, and a few games are scheduled late in the month. NFL practices have already started and preseason games begin next week. As always, we're excited for our Saints and all of our college teams and hoping they have a great season!

Monday, July 23, 2018

6th annual "Masters Series" this Saturday

Kelly Galloup to headline 2018 Series
There are two major fly fishing events held each summer in Louisiana. One is the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo, held two weeks ago in Westlake. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Fishers, this year's event was very well organized and a big success! Folks are still talking about it.

The second major event of the summer is the annual "Masters Series" held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers of Shreveport, the Series is much different than the conclaves (expos) put on by other clubs. It's basically a day-long seminar conducted by the headliner. Segments include programs, a casting demonstration, fly tying demonstration, and more.

The headliner is usually one of the big names in fly fishing, one who has made major contributions to our sport, and/or brings a wealth of information for improving our success as anglers. Past headliners have included: Dave Whitlock, Davy Wotton, Bob Clouser, and George Daniel.

This year NLFF is proud to present Kelly Galloup. Galloup is co-owner and  guide of Slide Inn Lodge on Montana's Madison River. Galloup started tying flies at age 13, he currently has over 40 recognized patterns. His biggest contributions have been the articulated streamers now recognized as the ticket to big predatory fish.

In addition, Kelly has written two books, Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout and Cripples and Spinners.  He's been published in nearly every fly fishing periodical in the country, and was a host of Fly Fish TV on the Outdoor Life Network.

The Masters Series is a limited ticket event, with only 75 tickets sold. Tickets are $40 each and include lunch and refreshments. As of today, only a handful of tickets are still available. Anyone wishing to get in,  please contact Scott Irwin at 318-469-0854 asap.      

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/22

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will give a presentation "Whats New for 2019" highlighting most of the new fly fishing and kayaks featured at ICAST earlier this month.  As well as a "State of Fly Fishing" report. The meeting is open to the public. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Goodwood branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Conference Room B on the 2nd floor. Time is 7:00pm.  Bring your 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 will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none there are sets for use during the session. Materials are provided.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold a "fishing meeting" in lieu of their monthly general meeting. Club members are invited to fish at the Gretna City Park Ponds from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.  At 7:00pm, the group will gather for a short business meeting. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Saturday, it's the 6th annual NLFF Masters Series. More on that later.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

SweatFest 2019: no celebration this weekend!

Friday temperatues and heat indexes near record highs
We're now in the second half of our annual SweatFest - the festival no one likes to celebrate. As is typical, the hottest days come in late July through mid-August. Currently, the situation is compounded by a large ridge of high pressure over a four state area.

A heat advisory has been issued this weekend for north, central and southwest parts of Louisiana. Maximum daytime temperatures in the upper 90s up to 105 degrees - combined with high relative humidities - will result in maximum heat indices of 105-110 degrees.

Persons involved in outdoor activities - especially fishing - should take extra precautions. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. Be prepared to move to a cool and shaded location.

Fishing in the advisory areas has been mostly poor, fair at best, over the last couple of weeks. Mid-July through August is the time of year when I do the least amount of fishing. Even January has much better days.

Too hot to fish? Tying flies gives an indoor alternative during the second half of SweatFest.Nearly 80 percent of the flies I use during the year are tied during this "down time". With each batch of a particular fly, some are put into the fly box, while the better ones are placed into "donation bin". Later flies from that donation bin will be put into separate boxes for donations to club events in 2019.