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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 State of the Sport - Fishing & Fly Fishing

At ICAST, we were given an oral presentation on the current state of recreational fishing in the United States. This data was compiled by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in conjunction with the Outdoor Foundation, and was released last Monday.

Since 2010, fishing has been on a slow but steady growth. Currently there are 49.1 million participants, with the largest growth in the age group 25 to 44. Men make up 65% of all anglers, and whites make up 78% of the sport. Only 33% of all anglers have a college degree.

With regards to fly fishing, growth has also been on constant rise since 2010, and at a slightly higher rate than fishing in general. In 2017, there were 6.8 million fly anglers.  This represents an all-time high in participation!  The largest growth was in the age group 25 to 44, which makes up 35% of the sport. Nearly 45% of all fly anglers have a college degree. Almost 72% of flyfishers are white, but the number of Hispanics continues to grow, now over 11 percent. Almost 1 million people were new to fly fishing in 2017, another all-time high.

There's no question that outreach programs such as "Fly Fishing 101" or similiar clinics put on by clubs, retailers, and agencies are having an impact. Also, exposure to our sport via the internet and television programming (NBC Sports Channel, World Fishing Network, Pursuit, etc.) are also generating interest. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/15

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 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.

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. 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.

Starting Friday, and continuing to Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsman Deer, Duck and Fishing Expo at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This show is a compliment to the magazine's spring show in Gonzales. There are numerous exhibitors as well as multiple seminars. Times are Friday, 3pm-9pm, Saturday, 10am-9pm, Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission is $12 for 13 and over, $6 for ages 6-12, and free under 6. For list of seminars, go to www.louisianasportsman.com.

On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Highway 1 Slamboree" tournament out of Top Water Marina in Leeville. It's open to the public, entry fee is %35 (plus $1.25 paypal fee) and can be done online at their website. Species is "Cajun Slam" - slot red, speckled trout, flounder 12" or longer. Artificial tackle only. For more info, rules, or to register, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Recapping ICAST / IFTD 2018

The world's largest fishing trade show took place last week in Orlando. This was the seventh, and final merged event between the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show and the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). For 2019, ICAST returns once again to Orlando on July 7-10. While IFTD moves to Denver on October 16-18.

One of the advantages of the merged show was the opportunity for attendees to see the wide array of products that are common to all types of fishing - shirts, kayaks, coolers, luggage, software, to name a few. These made up over half of ICAST exhibitors. Most of those companies were NOT at Fly Tackle Dealer prior to the merge. So the question will be: how many accessory companies will come to a separate Fly Tackle Dealer Show?

Another potential issue with the 2019 show is the date. Buyers are concerned about the timing for orders, which usually begin in September in time for the Christmas season. Guides and pro-staffers have expressed concern about the fact that October is their best fishing month.

Despite those issues, IFTD 2019 is already generating much excitement. Many attendees had "Florida Fatigue", while several companies that held out of ICAST due to high costs plan to return to IFTD.

I'm continuing to add new product summaries to our sister website, flytacklereport.blogspot.com. Unlike the larger fly sites with several staff members, we're a one-person operation. So it will take longer to post all the products. But here's the other difference - we test every new rod and examine every new reel.

As is our long tradition, my Fly Lines column in the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman will spotlight several of the new tackle. And again list our "Catch's Choice Awards" highly recommended rods and reels for 2019.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/7

A big week in fly fishing, with the Fly Tackle Dealers Show (ICAST) in Florida during the week and the 14th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo here in Westlake, Louisiana on Friday and Saturday.

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. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  Also on the agenda: the club's annual "Master Series" coming up on July 28th featuring Kelly Galloup.  Guests are welcome to the meeting.  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 lead the group in tying the "Peanut Popper" as well as a bonus fly. 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 Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo at the Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake.  Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters of Lake Charles, this will be their most ambitious and largest event in several years, featuring one of the world's top fly tiers and young gun anglers, Pat Cohen.  Along with Cohen is a very impressive list of FFI Master Certified Casting instructors as well as nearly two dozen tiers from across the Gulf Coast.  The event kicks off Friday noon, and goes all day Saturday.  For a complete schedule of activities and times, go to www.contrabandflycastersinc.net.

* Regarding IFTD/ ICAST.  We'll be reporting product announcements and other news from the trade show via our sister site www.flytacklereport.blogspot.com and giving a summary report here on Thursday *

Monday, July 02, 2018

What's happening this week 7/2

With Independence Day on Wednesday, a very light week ahead.  Hope everyone and their loved ones enjoy a great holiday. Right now, the forecast calls for a tropical low to move across the state this week and bring us some much-needed rain in western and central Louisiana.

On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting in Lafayette, location TBA.  Time is 6:30pm. For more info, contact Bob Tabbert at 337-989-0815.

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.  As of this writing, only a couple of seats were still available.  The class will cover tying tools, and how to use them. Then with help from the instructor, students will tie two of the most effective flies for Louisiana: at topwater gurgler style popper and a subsurface redfish fly. All tools and materials are provided.  To register online, go to www.packpaddle.com and click on "Store Events".

July is here

A number of big events taking place this month.

Next week - Tuesday thru Friday - in Orlando, Florida, is the annual IFTD trade show (fly tackle), held in conjunction with the ICAST trade show (conventional tackle). Most of the new products coming out Fall 2018 and into 2019 will be revealed. As always, we'll be covering live from the show and posting press releases and updates on our sister blog, flytacklereport.blogspot.com.

July 13-14 is the annual Contraband Fly Fishing Expo to be held at Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake, featuring special guest Pat Cohen. Details were posted here last week, but since then the Contraband Fly Casters have added the event booklet to their website at www.contrabandflycastersinc.net.

July 20 thru 22nd is the annual Louisiana Sportsman Duck, Deer, and Fishing  Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  Last year, the publishers of Louisiana Sportsman magazine - which now run the show - expanded to two shows a year, one in Gonzales in March and a second in New Orleans in July.  The summer show will feature exhibitors and multiple daily seminars, including kayak fishing.  Also the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be taking part in the show.  For more info, go to www.louisianasportsmanshow.com.

July 21 is the annual "LA 1 Slamboree" kayak fishing tournament along Highway 1 corridor from Golden Meadow south. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, it's their largest tournament of the year and open to the public. Details can be found at www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

July 28 is the annual North Louisiana Fly Fishers "Masters Series" to be held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. This year's headliner is renown big fish guru Kelly Galloup. Some tickets are still available for $40 which includes lunch and refreshments. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Contraband Fly Fishing Expo booklet now online

14th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo
Friday-Saturday, July 13-14, 2018
Friday,  Noon - 4pm
Saturday, 8am - 4pm
Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, Westlake, LA
Free admission!

Next month the Contraband Fly Casters of Lake Charles will host their annual expo, and plan to make it the biggest one in many years.  Headlining the event is Pat Cohen, one of the most recognized names in fly tying, and a master of deer hair flies.

In addition to Pat, some of the top fly tiers in the Gulf Coast region will be demonstrating their favorite patterns - including nationally-recognized realistic tier Fred Hannie.  Several of the region's top fly casting instructors - such as Jay Clark and Jeff Ferguson - will be on hand to give casting sessions and instruction.  There's also a number of programs covering everything from fishing South Louisiana waters to fishing the Texas Hill Country.

Exhibitors and vendors will also be present. There are raffles and silent auctions to  benefit Project Healing Waters and Reel Recovery.

The Contraband club has put out an Expo booklet with schedule of activities, speaker bios, list of tiers, and much more.  The booklet is available online - click here to open.

For more info, go to www.contrabandflycastersinc.com or call 337-540-1292.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mid week tidbits 6/27

With only 12 days to go until IFTD / ICAST, the release of new fly fishing and kayak fishing products is gaining momentum.  The latest release comes from St. Croix Rods. Available in September of 2018, the new Mojo Trout series will consist of 11 new beautiful and dutiful 2-piece and 4-piece models from 6-feet to 9-feet in length, covering 2-weight to 7-weight.  The blank will be built on SCR's high-modulus SCIII graphite, and will be targeted at a price point "not to break the bank".

Another new product getting much buzz in advance of the trade show is Flymen Fishing Company's new soft-body Surface Seducer Double Barrel Popper.   The original SSDD Bug came out last summer and won Best of Show (Flies category) at IFTD.  Incidently, it caught the most bass on the pond at the IFTD Demo Day of any flies used.  Well, Flymen has improved the bug by switching from a hard-epoxy coating to a flexible coating.  The company even has a video out where the body is tested with a hammer (ouch!) and still holds up!

EFTTEX, the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exposition, is this week and several fly companies have introduced new products.  However EFTTEX is far more secretive than IFTD / ICAST and only a few scraps of information can be found.  What we have learned is that TFO, Winston and Hardy all have new rod series.  We did know of the TFO Finesse being upgraded to a more powerful blank, but retaining the classic action. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

What's happening this week 6/24

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 Kristi Butler, manager of the LDWF Booker-Fowler Hatchery. 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. This month the group will be tying the Senko Worm fly.  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.

Saturday is the last day for fishing with the 2017-2018 Louisiana licenses. On Sunday, July 1st, the 2018-2019 fishing licenses will be required. Make sure to purchase your new ones before then.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fishing from a plastic boat - an anniversary and a prospect

A tease pic of the 2019 Topwater kayak
Thirty years ago this month, I did something that radically changed my life forever. I rented a kayak down in Sanibel. And went fishing in it.  After getting the feel of the plastic boat, I managed to lay a cast along some mangroves. I twitched my topwater lure a few times, pausing after each twitch. Then suddenly, an explosion of water where my lure was. A good-sized fish then took to the air. I had hooked a snook! Just as important, he had hooked me - into puddling (fishing from a canoe or kayak).

When I got home, I started fishing from a friend's canoe. Soon after, I started fishing from another friend's kayak. Shortly after that, I bought a canoe so I could share my paddle fishing adventures with my boys. In 1997, I bought my first kayak. I've had six more since then, as many as 3 at one time. Today, the lone boat in my plastic navy is a Native Ultimate 145. Although I am in the market for a sit-on-top.

No one knows when the first kayak was created. But folklore tells of an Inuit eskimo who carved the first kayak out of ice. His name was Jerry Utkuhikhalikaha (Ut for short). Ut had two problems with his creation - his butt got cold sitting on ice, and his kayak would melt away in summer. Ut had to move south to California where there were trees. Here he was able to carve a kayak out of wood.

As materials evolved, kayaks went from wood to fiberglass to rotomolded plastic. As of 1988, all kayaks were SINKs (Sit INside Kayaks). That year, Tim Niemer founded Ocean Kayak in Ferndale, Washington and launched the first SOT (Sit On Top) kayak. It completely revolutionized the recreational kayak industry and paved the way for kayak angling to become popular.

The last decade has seen an explosion in kayak fishing. Once considered an extremely niche market, fishing kayaks now dominate sales. Companies have risen and fallen. At the time that I bought my Ocean Kayak, it was the most popular kayak brand. Today, it's struggling to keep up with the likes of Hobie, Jackson, Native, Wilderness, NuCanoe, Vibe, and most recently, Bonafide. Not to mention a host of standup paddleboards.

With ICAST coming up in three weeks, I once again expect to see a bunch of new boats. That's been the case the last four years. Ocean Kayak finally made some waves last year after a decade of dormancy with their Malibu Pedal boat. It was a good effort, but it got lost in a wave of other new offerings - especially the introduction of the Bonafide.

OK's sister company, Old Town (both are now owned by Johnson Outdoors) has been leaking bits of information and "mystery video clips" about a new boat called the Topwater.  They describe it as the "compact SUV of kayak fishing".

Many years ago, I sent a design to OK for a new version of their popular Caper - one of my favorite kayaks ever. The design had a framed seat and a flat cockpit area.  It kept the dimensions similiar, but added an inch to the width to accomodate the frame seat. It also retained the tri-hull design that provides great tracking and stability.

From the little I've seen of the Topwater, it's either this "Dream Caper" or a smaller, more streamlined version of their highly popular Predator MX. Nearly everyone who owns a P-MX loves it, but at 82 pounds it's a bit heavy. If the Topwater does happen to be an improved P-MX, I expect it will be a highly popular boat.  Not sure if it would be the 2nd boat in my plastic navy. But as I remind my wife, I'm actually two boats short.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What's happening this week 6/17

Today is Father's Day. Wishing all of you dads a wonderful day - especially those of you who have made fishing a part of your family life. I'm especially grateful on this day to my late father, who shared with me his passion and skill of fishing, hunting and gardening.

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 Disco Midge. 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, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) will hold a "Pint Night" at Columbia Street Tap Room in Covington. Time is 7:00pm. Come grab a beer and a burger and discuss water access issues with BHA regional directors and board members.  For more info, contact Jason Sheridan at jason.a.sheridan@gmail.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. 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.

Starting Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the "Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend" which replaces the long-running "Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend". Members of fly fishing clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi (and elsewhere) are invited to fish along the Highway 1 corridor, then join the group for Friday night shrimp boil and Saturday night fish fry (sharing a portion of their filets for the fry). Make your own lodging arrangements. RSVP if attending either the Shrimp Boil or Fish Fry. Go to www.rsff.org for details.

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic introducing the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. For more info, contact 225-757-7286.