Sunday, November 17, 2019

What's happening this week - 11/17

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. New this month is a "Tying Skills Clinic" at 6:00pm for beginners and novices. Regular tying session begins at 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is the Heavy Metal Rubber Leg Copper John. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. 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. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at the Pack & Paddle "Outpost" building behind their main store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.org.

Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold a club trip to Calcasieu Lake. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

What's happening this week - 11/10

A big week ahead, both fishing and non-fishing.

Monday is Veteran's Day. And while it's a holiday for some, it's also a time to be thankful to those who have served our country and protected our freedom.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, 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.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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.

Saturday is Election Day in Louisiana. Many state legislative races - as well as the all-important governor's race - are up for vote. Please vote!  The governor's race is critical because that person appoints cabinet positions including LDWF Secretary as well as appointments to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. We NEED conservation-oriented men and women appointed to those positions, so please take that into strong consideration, along with jobs, the economy, and education.

Also on Saturday, Pack & Paddle will host one of their "Adventure Skills Workshops" featuring Kirk Dietrich.  More on that later.

Also on Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual Series Championship out of Topwater Marina in Leeville. The event is open to only those anglers who qualified by meeting the BCKFC Series criteria. Most of Louisiana's top kayak anglers have qualified and will be competing.

PnP to host Kirk Dietrich seminar this Saturday

Tying Bugs with Kirk Dietrich
Saturday, November 16, 2019
9:00am to 11:00am
Pack & Paddle, 601 E. Pinhook, Lafayette, LA
FREE event
A Pack & Paddle Adventure Skills Workshop

Kirk Dietrich is a Louisiana fly tying legend. Considered one of the nation's top surface bug craftsman, he specializes in balsa and other hard-bodied flies, but is also the creator of the decades-popular Kirk's Spoon and Kirk's Rattle Rouser. As well as numerous other saltwater and warmwater flies.  Earlier this year, he received the Fly Fishers International - Gulf Coast Council's "Fly Tier of the Year" award for his many contributions, both past and current.

Kirk will be demonstrating some of his key bugs, and how to fish them. He will also speak briefly on the "how to" of fishing these styles of flies.  This seminar is a special opportunity to meet Kirk Dietrich and learn from him in person.  After the class you will also have to opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of his book if you choose. 

Pre-registration is requested so adequate refreshments are provided. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Fishing legend Jerry McKinnis passes

The creator and host of one of the most popular fishing television shows of all time, Jerry McKinnis, passed away yesterday morning at age 82.  For more than five decades - including 26 years on ESPN - McKinnis could be seen on "The Fishin' Hole" promoting fishing and conservation for the average angler.

After a brief stint in professional baseball, McKinnis moved to Arkansas and began guiding on the White River. He was soon giving fishing reports on a Little Rock TV station.  In 1965, he started filming fishing segments for audiences which soon led to his nationally-syndicated TV show. In 1979, he signed a deal for his show with a new sports network called ESPN. The Fishin Hole TV show was the 2nd longest running show on ESPN, only after Sportscenter.  

At a time when many popular fishing personalities limited themselves to a particular style of fishing, McKinnis had no boundaries. One week viewers might be watching him fish for bluegills, another week for bass, another week for pike. And a few episodes each year, he could be seen fly fishing for trout, bass or panfish, often on his home waters of northern Arkansas. A few of his fly fishing partners included coach Bobby Knight and baseball legend Ted Williams.

McKinnis was both a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. His company, JM Associates, produced a number of popular fishing shows including "The Spanish Fly" with Jose Wejebe, "Orvis Sporting Life" with Rick Ruoff, "The Bass Class" with Denny Brauer, and many others.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

What's happening this week - 11/3

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.

Also on Wednesday, Pack & Paddle and CCA Louisiana will co-host a "Fall Fishing Seminar" at their store on 601 E. Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. This is a free event. Refreshments will be served. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What's happening this week - 10/27

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Club members Carton Townsend and Robert Hughes will give a presentation on their excellent adventure out west last year, fishing several blue-ribbon waters. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Wednesday, there's a Co-Ed Casting & Community Event hosted by Rip and Hoppers Adventure, Fly Fishers International, and other sponsors, and led by Jen Ripple and Heather Hodson. Location is next to Bayou Paddle Sports, corner of Florida Avenue and Moss Street in New Orleans. Session starts at 3:00pm and ends at 6:00pm. There is no cost. Participants looking to apply for the Bronze Casting Skills Challenge will be guided through the process. Sweetwater Brewing Company will provide adult beverages. For more info, go to www.gulfcoastcouncilffi.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday thru Sunday, it's the 31st annual Toledo Bend Rendezvous at North Toledo Bend State Park. The largest and oldest fly fishing event in Louisiana of the Fall season features fly tiers from several states who gather for a casual weekend of fly tying. General public is invited for the day Saturday or for the weekend (inexpensive lodging available on premises) to watch tiers and learn.  $20 per day, $40 per family including lodging.  For more details, check out our post from October 16th.

On Saturday, it's the annual "Turkey Trout Throwdown" kayak fishing tournament out of Cypremont Point State Park. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, this event is open to the public. Entry fee is $25. Target is heaviest stringer of 5 speckled trout. Artificial lures only. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Our picks of new products from IFTD 2019

There were a bevy of new products showcased at last week's International Fly Tackle Dealers trade show in Denver, Colorado.  While not as many as the last several years, there were some significant new entries.  Due to the show being much later this year - they broke from their merger with ICAST - many of the new products have already hit stores.  We couldn't make IFTD this year, but thanks to the wonder of the internet - and press releases - we kept our finger on the pulse of things. And identified at least 10 new products we think are worth mentioning to our readers.

Flymen Fishing Company - Shilton Reels

Under a new partnership, FFC will distribute South African-made Shilton Reels in the USA for the first time. Trusted by guides worldwide in some of the toughest fishing conditions, Shilton was previously unavailable to the USA market. The reels have a hard anodized finish and depending on series, utilize higher degrees of processed cork disc drag. Expect prices from $300 on up.
Simms - G4 Collection, G4 wading boots

If you're looking for premium quality in waders, jackets, and boots, then Simms has their new G4 collection with over 16,000 hours of field testing, lighter materials, greater comfort, durability and breathability, and extremely resistant to abrasion and punctures. Sounds great... but better be prepared for sticker shock. Prices for the jacket and waders range from $699 to $899. The wading boots will sell for $299 and come in Vibram or felt soles. IMO, spending a small fortune on waders is unnecessary, but never skimp on boots. Your feet will thank you later!  If the G4 Pro is as comfortable and durable as advertised, it might pay itself off simply by outlasting other boots twice as long.
Sage Payload fly rod

The Sage Bass Series has been replaced for 2019 with the Payload Series. Designed to cast big flies to big fish, these rods feature fast action tips transitioning to a more moderate butt that allows for relaxed casting and greater leverage when fighting big fish. The rods also feature Sage's HD-Konnetic technology.  Series ranges from a 8'9" length in 6 thru 9 weights along with 9'0" in 10 and 11 weights.  MSRP is $550. Blanks are also available.  All Payload rods are made at their factory in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

St Croix Imperial Salt fly rod

The new Imperial Salt is an extension of their Imperial series, using Sea Guide (R) PVD coated stripper and snake guides, premium-grade cork handle, and double coats of flexcoat to withstand the rigors of saltwater. They come in a beautiful aquamarine color. The rods use St. Croix's Integrated Poly Curve mandrel technology with SCIII carbon to make for a light, fast-action rod with quick dampening. Built in the USA, these rods come with St. Croix's 15-year transferable warranty backed by their Superstar Service. Models are all 9'0" in length, with weights ranging from 7 thru 12. MSRP is $340 to $370, depending on weight rating.

Taylor Revelation reels

For the last several years, Taylor Fly Fishing has become a major player in the direct sales market. The foundation of their business has been their attractive, lightweight and affordable machined fly reels. The new Revelation is a hybrid of their most popular models, the TYPE1, the Enigma, and the Revelation Z.  With a carbon-fiber stacked and sealed drag system, and with up to 15 pounds of maximum drag (7-9 weight model) the Revelation can be used in most freshwater and saltwater situations. That drag is adjustable to 3.5 rotations, allowing anglers to dial in to the exact setting. MSRP is $299.

Fenwick Fenlite Salt fly rod

Nano resin technology is only a decade old, and perhaps for that reason it's been reserved to rods costing $600 or more. But in the last year, we've seen the price point dropping. The new Fenlite rods offer the 3M Powerlux 1000 nano resin technology for only $349. What does nano-tech offer? A rod with incredible strength at a very light weight. The fast-action Fenlite Salt comes with AAA cork handle, machined anodized reel seat, and fighting butt.  All lengths are 9-foot, with line weights ranging from 7 thru 12.  Fenwick has a limited lifetime warranty on Fenlite rods for defects, and a service charge for accidental breakage.

Scott Sector fly rod

It's hard to imagine that Scott would make a better saltwater fly rod than their Meridian, but that's exactly what their rod designers have supposedly done. The new Sector series utlitizes their ReAct technology with new tapers and their new "Carbon Web". The Carbon Web technology improves torsional stability and durability by encasing the unidirectional fibers in a web of ultralight multidirectional carbon fibers. Uni encased by multi, got it?  According to Scott, this will reduce torsional forces for better tracking and reduce micro factures from stress and impact. Sector rods also feature all new CeRecoil stripping guides with super slick Zirconia inserts. All this great technology comes at a premium price - MSRP is $985.  All Scott rods are made beginning to end at their factory in Montrose, Colorado.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity Salt fly line

Longtime readers know I'm not a huge fan of textured fly lines, even if they do add a wee more distance to long casts. So while SA has come out with their new Amplitude Infinity Salt textured line for 2020, they've also come out with a smooth version. It features their AST Plus slickness additivie for increased shootability and durability. It's also a half-weight heavy to turn over big flies on windy days. What's best about it is the extended head length... that means more accuracy and aerialization than those short shooting head lines.  Again, cutting edge technology comes a premium price. MSRP is $129.

Douglas LRS fly rod

While this rod was actually introduced late last year, this was the first year of it's "new" status at IFTD. Founded in 2014, Douglas rods have been near the top of several reviews, and from personally casting the Sky and DXF series, the hype is real. Sadly, their budget entry was well below the competition. Their new LRS Series hopes to change that. These fast-action, lightweight rods have much improved performance. LRS stands for lake-river-sea, which implies that they're built for all types of fishing, depending on rated weight.  The beautiful gloss blue blanks, carbon matrix reel seat, and accented grip and fighting butt (7-9 models) make for a great looking rod. MSRP is $249.
Fishpond Thunderhead Pouch

A fully waterproof construction similiar to other products in their submersible line, Fishpond's Thunderhead Pouch features a 1680D TPU coated nylon fabric and fully waterproof zipper. Large enough to slip in your smartphone or digital camera. Hypalon panels on the front and back can be used for attaching accessories or securing to wading belts, float tubes, or kayaks. Measures 11" long by 7" high by 2.75" deep (maximum expansion). Weight is 5 ounces. MSRP is $99.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

What's happening this week - 10/20

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month the club will tie two simple but effective patterns for marsh fishing - the Clouser Minnow and the LaFleurs Charlie.  Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Orvis of Baton Rouge will host a "Beers with Hells Bay" reception at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Come meet the folks from Hells Bay Boatworks and check out their line of boats including the new Eldora Skiff. The event is free. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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 Friday and Saturday, two clubs will hold their annual Fall fly fishing marsh trips. The Red Stick Fly Fishers will host their "Fall Catch-n-Eat" along the Highway 1 corridor, culminated by a fish and shrimp fry on Saturday night. The Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Marsh PAC Attack" out of Pointe-aux-Chenes. The group will gather for dinner on Friday night at a location TBA.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Make plans for Toledo Bend Rendezvous

Toledo Bend Rendezvous
November 1-3, 2019
North Toledo Bend State Park
Zwolle, LA

In October, 1989, members of the Pineywoods Fly Fishers (TX) and North Louisiana Fly Fishers (Shreveport) gathered for a weekend of camping, fly tying and fishing. The following year, the clubs rented the group facility at North Toledo Bend State Park, where the event is held to this day.   Rendezvous has expanded greatly since, with tiers from various clubs and states including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and elsewhere.

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.  For complete details, go to the Toledo Bend Rendezvous home page.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What's happening this week - 10/13

* This week is the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show in Denver, CO.  The largest fly fishing trade show in the world, it's where most new products for the coming year are revealed.  However, this year being such a late date, many new products have already been exposed. For the first time in several years, we won't be attending IFTD. However, we will be reporting new products based on press releases.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.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. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at the Pack & Paddle "Outpost" building behind their main store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.org.

Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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.

Starting Friday afternoon with the Captains meeting, and finishing with the tournament on Saturday, it's the 14th annual "Fall n Tide" kayak fishing tournament out of Cypress Cove Marina in Venice. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, it's open to the public.  Fishing is along the Highway 23 corridor. Onsite registration is now in effect until 7:00pm Friday. Entry fee is $60 and includes tournament entry, Friday night dinner, Captains bag, Saturday fish fry,  and chance at over a hundred raffle items. There's divisions for Slam, Womens Slam, Youth, Seniors, Leopard Red, and largest red, speck, and flounder. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

On Saturday, Pack & Paddle will hold their annual Fall Kayak Demo Day at Vermillionville Pond in Lafayette.  Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. 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.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

SweatFest 2019 still going strong, but not for long!

Every year, we claim September is the last full month of SweatFest. Usually there's at least one cool front - usually in the middle of the month - that brings longterm relief from high heat and humidity.  .  The cool front metric is the number of nights where the low temperature is at or below 60 degrees here in central Louisiana. We typically have at least two such nights in September. 

For the second year in a row, by those definitions, we had no "cool fronts" in September. In fact, according to the KSLA-TV (Shreveport) weather center, this past month was the hottest September on record with an average of 83.7 degrees.  The historical average is 78.8 degrees.

Likewise, meteorologist Scott Pilie of WGNO-TV in New Orleans posted on Facebook that this September was the hottest on record for the Crescent City with an average of 85.3 degrees.  It was also the driest on record with total precipitation of 0.19 inches!

While radiative cooling - due to shorter days and longer nights - has slightly reduced water temperatures, it hasn't been enough to reoxygenate waters. Low dissolved oxygen is the main reason why freshwater fishing - outside of river systems - continues to be subpar. Cooler water temperatures are also the trigger for mass migration of speckled trout into coastal marshes.

The good news is that SweatFest may come to an end next Monday... at least over most of the state. Here in the Alexandria area the forecast calls for highs Monday and Tuesday in the low 80s and lows in the upper 50s! 

The bad news is that we're going to have some unusually hot next few days before the front, with near-record highs. If you're fishing the Rio Rodeo in New Orleans this Saturday, best bring an extra bottle of water or sports drink.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/29

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, it's the 11th annual Rio Grande Rodeo, hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers. It's open to the public, entry fee is $10. Onsite registration is from 7:00am to 8:00am, fishing from 8:00am to 12:00pm, with weigh-in deadline at 12 noon. Fly fishing only, limited to public waters in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes. Go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com or see our prior post for more details.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Reminder that Rio Rodeo returns October 5th

11th annual Rio Grande Rodeo
Saturday, October 5th, 2019
7:00am to 8:00am - on site registration
8:00am to 12:00pm - fishing
12:00pm - weigh-in deadline

$10 entry fee, includes lunch and refreshments

Sponsored by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club, the Rio Rodeo is now into it’s second decade,  bigger and better than ever! This tournament is fly fishing only for the elusive Rio Grande Cichlid.  All entry fish must be caught on artificial flies.  It's open to the public.  All proceeds go to Casting for Recovery.  

Onsite registration and weigh-in will be at the intersection of Henry Thomas Drive and Celebration Drive (under the oak trees across from the Blue Rose art sculpture). Look for the NOFF sign and tent.

Two categories will be awarded:

Longest rio wins top prize and bragging rights for the year.
Most rios caught by a fly fisher takes first prize in the second category.

The Rio Grande Perch is native to south Texas and northeast Mexico, making it America’s only native cichlid.  During the 1990s, it began appearing in waterways in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes, likely the result of aquarium dumpings.  Since rios are more cold-tolerant than other cichlids, most are able to survive the mild winters of southeast Louisiana. 


Rios make excellent fly fishing quarry on light tackle. While not the greatest fighters, they can get up to 2 pounds and “fight like a wet cat”.  They are also very wary, making presentation and choice of fly critical.

For complete details, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/22

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Casting starting at 5:30pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guest speaker will be Butch Ridgedell, president of the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, who will talk on fishing the Calcasieu estuary. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Wednesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will host a cocktail hour for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet. Time is 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Meet the BTT staff and scientists and learn about their efforts, including tarpon tracking in Louisiana. Pre-registration urged. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday thru Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their annual Fall trip to Lake Concordia for bass, bream, crappie and other freshwater species. For more details, go to www.rsff.org.

On Saturday, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day. LDWF will hold festivals at four venues across Louisiana, all free to the public. See our article posted yesterday for more details.

Also on Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Rumble on the River" tournament in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. It's open to the public, entry fee is $20. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Venues: Baton Rouge, Minden, Woodworth, Monroe
Free admission!

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

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

The Waddill, 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, respectively. Each of these clubs will demonstrate and give hands-on teaching of tying and casting. As well as talk about fly fishing opportunities in Louisiana and elsewhere.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/15

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is a simple Yarn Crab Fly, a great pattern for reds, sheepshead and drum. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. 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. 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 Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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.

Also on Thursday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders resume their monthly meetings after summer break. Time is 6:00pm. Location is the Pack & Paddle "Outpost" building on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.org.

Brendan Bayard wins 2019 IFA Kayak Championship

The Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Kayak Tour is the largest national saltwater kayak fishing series, incorporating five divisions across south Atlantic and Gulf waters. These tournaments are CPR (catch-photo-release) on IFA approved measuring boards, which allows for any sized fish to be entered.

Qualifiers from each division then compete in the national championship, which was held this past Friday and Saturday out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle.

Many of the biggest names in saltwater kayak fishing compete in this event each year, and one of those familiar names is Brendan Bayard of Baton Rouge, whose line of trophies probably requires it's own building!  Brendan is also a longtime kayak fishing field reporter on the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" weekly radio show (Saturday mornings 5:00am to 7:00am).

Yesterday, Brendan pulled off another win. His two-day total of two redfish and two speckled trout measured out to an aggregate of 121.75 inches!  His longest redfish were 41.25 and 40.00 inches, his longest specks were 23.00 and 17.50 inches. He edged out Justin Rienerth of North Carolina, whose total length was 119.00 inches was anchored by a 43.00 inch red.

Other Louisiana finishers in the top 8 (received prize money) were: Matt Carr (5th), Lance Burgos (6th), Terry Pham (7th), and Scott Bienvenu (8th).  Terry lost out on a big speck that got sharked. Other anglers reported losing some nice fish as well. Even so, 22 of the competitors had four-fish total aggregates of over 100 inches!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/8

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual banquet in lieu of their monthly meeting. Location is Shanes on Mansfield Road in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. The banquet is open to members and non-members of NLFF. There's some great raffle items, some one-of-a-kind.  For more, call Scott at 318-469-0854.

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 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Speckled trout in trouble, and "changes must be made"

Trout SPR has been below the conservation level for 8 years
On Thursday, at the monthly meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, commission members and approximately 45 attendees heard a presentation by LDWF marine biologist Jason Adriance on the 2019 Speckled Trout Assessment.  In a nutshell, spawning stock biomass and spawning recruitment are below conservation standards - and have been since 2011.

The problem is happening across all estuaries. There are two main culprits:
- winter kills of speckled trout are more frequent and more damaging, despite milder winters. The cause may be due to coastal erosion and loss of deepwater canals and other winter freeze-kill havens for trout.
- Overfishing. There are more anglers, with more effort, and being more successful per trip (prior to the decline).

Making matters worse... Louisiana's target management for trout Spawning Potential Recruitment (SPR) is the lowest of any Gulf state, anywhere from 8 to 15 percent lower.  So there was very little margin for overfishing to begin with.

Adriance said LDWF will come up with management options and present those to the Commission, as well as get public input. The options include:
- creel limit reductions
- minimal length increases
- slot limits
- closed areas
- closes seasons
- special regulations after serious winter kills

According to an article in Louisiana Sportsman website, CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson stated afterwards that they need time to fully understand the science regarding the variables at play. "We need to see more information before rushing into any judgements."

The Fly Fishers International (FFI) Gulf Coast Council was represented at the meeting by Glen 'Catch' Cormier, GCC Conservation Director. He posted the particulars of the meeting, including the various graphs and charts. Those can be found at www.gulfcoastcouncilffi.org.

The FFI-GCC understands the science, and is anxious to hear the recommendations of the biologists. It was very clear from the presentation, that Louisiana has had, for several years, a serious problem that needs changes.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/1

Monday is Labor Day, and the last day to enter a fish for the 2019 CCA STAR tournament.

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 & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 covers the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

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 Hobie Pro Angler (more raffle tickets can be purchased at the weigh-in). Must be present to win. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Sunday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Fishing FUNdamentals" at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Cost is $40. FFFun covers the basics of fly fishing, with emphasis on gear, flies, techniques that work on Louisiana waters. Followed by hands-on casting session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required.  To register, go to www.packpaddle.com

Sunday, August 25, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/25

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: a presentation on a new KFF Casting Skills Challenge and the FFI Casting Skills Challenge, tackle tips for September redears, and video on Arkansas' White River. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/18

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is the March Brown Spider, one of several wet flies highlighted by Dave Hughes at last month's Masters Series. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. 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. 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 Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. 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 is the 11th annual Ride the Bull. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, go to this link or call 225-757-7286.

Ride the Bull this weekend

The world's largest kayak fishing tournament takes place this weekend out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. Founded ten years ago by Danny and Kristen Wray, it's grown from about 60 participants to consistently over 600. After Kristen's long bout with cancer ended with her passing, CCA Louisiana stepped forward to help organize the tournament.

Registration began June 1st and will continue up to the morning of the tournament. Things kick off on Friday evening with the Captain's meeting, vendors, and live music. Saturday morning everyone launches and awaits the shotgun start.

The format is simple. Catch the largest bull red in a limited area of Caminada Pass. After the fish are landed, a chase boat is summoned to bring the fish in for weighing, tagging, and release.  Top fish are awarded places.  With this format, just about anyone with some fishing skill has a chance to win or place.

If you ever wanted to see all the kayaks - or other pedal / paddle boats that exist out there - this is the event to do it. Paddle kayaks, pedal yaks, round yaks, square yaks, canoes, pirogues, biyaks, SUPs (stand up paddleboards), even bathtub-looking boats have been entered!

For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. The website also contains helpful tips and a checklist for the tournament.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

From the Office of Advanced Strategic Planning

Times have changed when it comes to scheduling events.  For example, it was once common for clubs to begin planning their annual "conclave" just a few months before the event was to be held.  That included determining the date, the location, and the program speakers.

Nowadays, if you don't reserve a venue or speaker for your event many months in advance, then it's likely too late. In many cases, lodging for club trips needs to be booked at least a year in advance.

And that is why if you look at our Calendar page, you'll see that nearly all the major events for 2020 have been scheduled.  And in some cases, into 2021 and beyond. The Kisatchie Fly Fishers have scheduled their annual "March Brown" trips to the Little Missouri River into 2021.  The Red Stick Fly Fishers recently announced the dates for their annual "Spring Concordia" and "Fall Concordia" freshwater weekends, held at Lakeview Lodge in Ferriday. Those dates go into 2022.

While it's assumed that some events will recur on certain dates, nothing is ever certain. That's why we urge readers to check out our Calendar before making plans.

Monday, August 12, 2019

McCormick, Rajeff, Mittel again take titles at ACA Nationals

Last week, as they do each summer, some of the best conventional casters and fly casters in the country gather at the American Casting Association Nationals in friendly competition to see who is the best at  putting a lure or fly at given targets, or reaching out to long distances.

Maxine McCormick, the 15-year old wondergirl of fly casting once again made news as she set yet another record at the ACA Nationals in Pasadena, California.  Her total in the three Women's Fly Accuracy events totaled a whopping 291 out of a possible 300 points!  Her nearest competitor, Beth Statt, finished with 257 points.

By contrast, Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel, both considered the greatest fly casters of modern times, finished 1st and 2nd in the Men's Accuracy Division with 294 and 290 points. Rajeff won the Trout Fly Accuracy contest with 98 points and the Bass Bug Accuracy with 97 points. But Mittel set a national record in winning the Dry Fly Accuracy, scoring a perfect 100 points! 

Rajeff and Mittel also split in the Fly Distance divisions. Rajeff won the 1-Handed Fly with a cast of 214 feet. Mittel won the 2-Handed Fly with 287 feet. Both tied for the Anglers Fly Distance with 166 feet, with Mittel winning the cast-off.

Other noteworthy performances included: Larry Allen won the Senior Men's Fly Distance 1-Handed with 173 feet and 2-Handed Fly with 214 feet. Elaine Gong won Senior Women's Fly Accuracy total with 245 points. Nicholas Galvan won the Junior Dry Fly and Bass Bug Accuracy with 91 and 89 points, respectively.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/11

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, 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.  The public is welcome! For more, 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 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Summary of 2019 Louisiana lake drawdowns

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has planned drawdowns on several lakes this summer. Lowering the level of a lake by several feet has consistently proven beneficial for gamefish populations. It kills off nuisance vegetation - such as hydrilla, salvania, and alligator weed. It exposes the lake shoreline bottoms. Layers of organic muck that accumulate over time are exposed to sun and burn off, and compaction of sediments occurs as well. This typically results in a boom in gamefish spawning the following two years.

In most cases, waterways remain open to boating, but with strong precautions. Otherwise, boating is limited to certain areas or idle motoring only. In nearly all cases, fishing is still allowed.

Here is a list of lakes being lowered this year:

Kepler Lake in Bienville Parish - begins August 5th. Lake will be lowered by 4 to 6 inches per day to a target level of 8 feet below pool stage. Gates will close on November 29.

Bundicks Lake in Beauregard Parish - begins August 1st. Lake will be lowered by 2 to 4 inches per day to target level of 8 feet below pool stage. Control structure will be closed on November 29.

Saline Lake in Natchitoches and Winn parishes - began June 3rd. Lake dewatered 4 inches per day to target of 8 feet below pool. Gates will close on October 1st.

Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes - began July 31st. Lake to be lowered 4 to 6 inches per day to target level of 8 feet below pool. Gates will close sometime this Fall.

False River in Pointe Coupee parish - begins September 3rd. Lake to be lowered 1.5 inches per day to maximum of 6 feet below pool. Gates will close on January 15, 2020.

Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish - begins September 3rd. Lake to be lowered 3 inches per day to target level of 3 feet below pool. Gates will be closed in January 2020.

Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish - the lake was down 20 feet below pool while repairs were made to to the lake's dam. Due to heavy Spring rainfall, completion of the dam was extended to August/September. The lake will be restocked upon completion.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Miller's white bass to receive LOWA Fish of the Year

Photos courtesy of Charles Miller
Each year the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) honors the anglers voted by the LOWA Fish Records Committee to have had the most significant catch in the previous year in both Rod & Reel and Fly Fishing Divisions. The winners receive their awards at the LOWA annual convention banquet. The convention takes place this weekend in Morgan City, with the banquet on Saturday night, August 10th.

In the Fly Fishing Division, Charles Miller of New Orleans, will be honored for a 3.98-pound white bass (Morone chrysops) caught in the Pearl River. It qualified for a new state record for that species in the Fly Fish Division.

Chuck, a professor in the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences at Tulane University, is board member of the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club and a very active member of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club. In 2017, he was named "Fly Angler of the Year" by Louisiana Sportsman magazine.

Chuck caught his fish on a chartreuse/white Clouser Minnow back in December while fishing from his Hobie Outback. That same day he also caught a white bass that registered as 3rd place in the state record.  Details of his trip can be read on his fishing blog, "Welcome to the Crawdad Hole", at this link.

An Honorable Mention in the Fly Fish Division will be awarded to Dustin Semar, a native of Lake Charles, who caught a 6.66-pound Bowfin in Cameron Prairie. That fish also qualified for a new state record.

In the Rod & Reel Division, top award went to 8-year old Drew Dubuc of Metairie for a 33.90-pound Striped Bass he caught in Lake Catherine. It ranks 6th in the state record book. Honorable Mention goes to Brian Neil of Metairie for a whopping 213.5-pound Big Eye Tuna caught in the Mississippi Canyon off Venice. It ranks 1st place in the state record.

Congratulations to all for this outstanding honor!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/4

Another very light week...

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.

Friday, August 02, 2019

August is here, and what that means

August 24th is the 10th annual Ride the Bull
1. The last full month of SweatFest, the festival no one likes to celebrate. It's fairly common for us to have several days this month with heat index over 110. So stay hydrated and limit your time outdoors if possible. Also be aware that water temperatures are at their highest of the year, and several strains of aquatic bacteria are active. So bring an antibacterial and treat any cuts or wounds immediately.

2. Now through September, the peak of hurricane season. We've already had Barry, and that one was bad enough. Hopefully we've reached our quota for the year.

3. When it comes to fishing, it's a mixed bag. August is the best month for fly fishing pelagic species, many of which come nearshore or invade lower bays. Expect excellent action on bull reds, cobia, jacks, mangrove snapper, king and spanish mackerel. Inside, there are speckled trout but you have to fight off the hordes of ladyfish and sailcats. Freshwater action is usually slow, EXCEPT in areas inundated with river water such as Old River Morganza, Deer Park, Henderson, Larto. As water levels continue to lower, expect excellent catches of bream, bass and crappie.

4. Football season kicks off. Louisiana fly anglers love their football just slightly less than they do their fishing.  So it's not uncommon to see more half-day trips now until the fishing gets really good. Saints camp started this week, and college teams begin practice today. The Saints face the Vikings on the 9th in their first preseason game.  College games begin on the 24th. On the 29th, Tulane takes on Florida International, on the 31st, LSU hosts Georgia Southern, UL-Lafayette travels to Mississippi State, and Louisiana Tech takes on Texas.  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/28

A very quiet week, with one activity of interest to kayak anglers.

On Thursday, Pack & Paddle will host "Learn to Ride the Bull - Kayak Fishing Edition" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. There is no cost. Doug Menefee and members of the PnP staff will present an informative seminar on bull red kayak fishing, with emphasis on the upcoming "Ride the Bull" tournament.  Topics will include: rigging, anchoring, safety, reading wind and tide, landing a bull red, effective use of a fish finder, and much more. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A half-dozen items to catch up on

Just got back from 8 fantastic days in northern Colorado with fellow members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. Not counting the 4 travel days. It was mostly hiking, but I did spend two half days fishing and a full day fishing with my younger son Tiger Jake. Most of the waters were raging from runoff, the result of heavy spring snowfall and recent above normal temperatures. But we did find some fishable water, catching mostly brookies and cutthroat on dry fly.

A lot happened while we were gone. Hurricane Barry, for example. So let's catch up on at least a half-dozen items you may have heard about. Or maybe not.

1. Hurricane Barry aftermath.  The greatest damage appeared to come from the storm surge to unraised structures outside the storm levees below Houma and Golden Meadow. One of those was PAC Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. In the 3 1/2 years since Eddie and Lisa Mullen established PACKR, it has become the most popular kayak fishing launch spot on the Gulf Coast, and site of numerous tournaments. The PAC Shack restaurant - which is raised - was intact. But the launch and shop were totally destroyed. The good news is that plans are underway to rebuild.

2. Fish kills. Anytime a hurricane hits Louisiana, the possibility of localized fish kills is high. In late summer, very warm water is low in oxygen. When leaves are stripped from trees by strong winds and blown into this water, they consume what little oxygen exists during decay. On Monday, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received reports of kills around the lower Amite River, Blind River and Manchac. LDWF is investigating and determining the extent of the kill.

3. Rescheduled events from Barry. Dates have been set for the LA1 Slamboree kayak fishing tournament and Pack & Paddle's Spoon Fly Tying class. The Slamboree - hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club - is now set for Saturday, August 10th. The Spoon Fly tying class will be held this Saturday, July 27th at 9:30am. Cost is $20. As of yesterday afternoon, a couple seats were still available. 


4. Kirk Dietrich's book is now published. It's not an exaggeration to say this is the most anticipated fly tying book of the year - and possibly several years!  Kirk, a native of Chalmette and lifelong resident of southeast Louisiana, is a nationally-renown fly tier recognized for his many innovative warmwater and saltwater patterns. Those include the Kirks Spoon (sold by Orvis), the Rattle Rouser, the Squirrelly, and numerous balsa poppers and divers. He's written numerous articles for magazines and websites, many on the subject of tying or fishing bugs. So it made sense that his first book would be "Tying Bugs: The Complete Book of Poppers, Sliders, and Divers for Fresh and Salt Water".  Stackpole Books (the publisher) has released a promotional card with the following: "The most complete fly tying book on poppers, divers, sliders (collectively called "bugs") ever written. Includes over 400 detailed step by step instructions with historical anecdotes for traditional patterns such as Lefty's Bug, Peck's Special Popping Minnow, Sneaky Pete, as well as innovate patterns tied with the latest materials. All facets of bug making are covered...". And there's much more. The book is 224 pages with 917 color photos! It can be pre-ordered from Amazon - available September 1st - for $39.95. Or a signed/inscribed copy from the author via Paypal (check Kirk's Facebook page for instructions).

5. The 28th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers, the 2020 event has been announced for Saturday, February 8th, at Bethany Christian Church on Westheimer in Houston. Featured tyer will be Gunnar Brammer of Duluth, Minnesota, an amazing young tier who specializes in designing and tying predator flies for all big game species. The Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival also features the largest contingent of tiers of any event on the Gulf Coast, from several states.

6. Enjoy this break from SweatFest. This morning's temperature here near Alexandria was a chilly 61 degrees! Over the next several days, both high and low temperatures north of Highway 190 will be below normal, with below normal humidity. Folks on the coast may not feel as much of the cool, but it should still be more comfortable than the last few weeks. I'm anxious to see how the fish like this cool weather! As far as SweatFest goes, it'll be back soon enough. We're also watching a possible tropical development in the Gulf.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/21

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Saturday, it's the annual "Masters Series" hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers club.  Location is the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier CIty.  Time is 9:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $40 and includes admission, lunch, coffee, refreshments.   A few tickets are still available at this time.  This year's special guest is Dave Hughes.  Hughes has studied trout streams and lakes, the natural foods on which trout feed, and the flies that trout eat. He has written numerous articles and columns for various magazines, and written over 20 books on these subjects.  His presentation will explore many of his findings.  For more info or tickets, contact Tom Bullock 318-393-7729 or Scott Irwin 318-469-0854.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

TFO unveils new fly products at ICAST

Temple Fork Outfitters is at ICAST in Orlando this week, with several new offerings for 2020 in the New Product Showcase. Three of which will interest our readers.

The Axiom II-X is a variation of last year's revamped Axiom series. It has the new Axiom technology paired with the fast-action tapers found in the TiCrX series. The Axiom technology embeds a double-helix of Kevlar that acts to buttress the rod's carbon base under compression. Axiom II-X rods deliver high energy for long casts with incredible tracking. They also absorb shock better, with faster recovery.

The NXT Black Label series is designed to make fly fishing simple and affordable. The kit includes a TFO Pro II medium-fast blank, either 5-weight or 8-weight, a matching cast aluminum NXT BLK II or III reel, a premium weight-forward floating line, and 20-lb Dacron backing.

The BVK SD series of reels is now one of the best reel values on the market. That's because TFO took the popular BVK, added a fully sealed drag system, and didn't raise the price!  The new drag also has a wider range of settings. Like the BVK, the BVK-SD is machined and anodized, and so good for saltwater use.

ICAST Best of Show winners announced

Click on above for larger image
Starting Tuesday evening, and continuing today at the first full day of the ICAST expo, attendees had the opportunity to exam and vote on their favorite new products in the event's New Product Showcase.  A couple hours ago, winners were announced - and some came as no surprise.

While the show this year is nearly all conventional tackle, there are several companies who sell fly tackle in attendance. There's also a strong showing of kayak and kayak accessory companies. Hobie has made the biggest splash of them all with their new Mirage 360 Drive, which will be available on certain PA models in 2020.

Because most fly fishing representatives, industry personnel, pro staffers, media, etc. are not present (will be attending IFTD later this year), the voting is probably a lot more skewed than during the past 6 years when IFTD and ICAST were combined. For that reason, I'm not putting much stock in the results of the fly products... yet. They may be excellent products, but I'll wait and see.

Here's a list of fly and kayak-related product winners only:
- Best Kayak Accessory - Hobie Mirage 360 Angler
- Best Technical Apparel Coldwater - Simms M G4Z Stockingfoot Wader
- Best Technical Apparel Warmwater - AFTCO Overboard Submersible Shorts
- Best Fly Fishing Accessory - Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack
- Best Fly Reel - Seigler Reels SF
- Best Fly Fishing Rod - St. Croix Imperial Salt
- Best Eyewear - Costa Water Woman

The ICAST 2019 Overall Best of Show winner will be announced on Thursday at 2:00pm.

Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend has been cancelled

Earlier today, Red Stick Fly Fishers Saltwater Chair Randy Leonpacher informed all attendees of this weekend's Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend that the event was cancelled due to a tropical disturbance that is expected to become Hurricane Barry by the weekend.

Just an hour ago, Randy made contact with the folks at Boudreaux's Motel in Leeville, the location for the Friday and Saturday evening activities. And where many of the attendees would be staying. They said that the road in Leeville is under water and they are unable to get to the motel!

As of now, there are no plans to reschedule this event. However, the club's 2019 Fall Catch & Eat is scheduled for the last Saturday in October. All those who signed up for the LFFW are encouraged to take part in this event.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

2019 RBFF Report: fly fishing continues growth

As is the case each July, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has released it's Special Report on Fishing. The 2019 Report will be part of the "State of the Industry" presentation at this week's ICAST in Orlando, Florida. It contains results from a comprehensive survey which targets angler participation in the previous year (i.e., the 2019 report covers 2018 participation) in the United States.

RBFF works with the Outdoor Foundation and a variety of market research and consulting firms in compiling the survey. The survey contains detailed information and trends on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, geographic region and more.

The report also breaks down the participation by types of fishing, including fly fishing. And here, there's good news! Continuing a trend that began in 2010, fly fishing remains on the rise in America.

"Fly fishing has the fewest participants, but the number and percentage of participants has been increasing the most. Since 2016, the participation rate has increased by an average of 3.7 percent, and the number of fly fishing participants has jumped by an average of 4.5 percent."

"Also encouraging for fly fishing, the category had the highest rate of first-time participants. In 2018, 17.4 percent of participants were new to the category. In 2018, the number of fly fishing participants increased to 6.9 million participants, which was an all-time high for the activity."

By region, the highest number of fly anglers was in the South Atlantic (Maryland to Florida). Roughly 18.5 percent were from this region. Other top regions were Pacific (WA, OR, CA - 18.2 percent), Middle Atlantic (PA, NY, NJ - 15.2 percent), East North Central (WI, MI, IL, IN, OH - 12.5 percent) and West South Central (TX, LA, OK, AR - 11.4 percent).

Other continuing trends of fly fishing participation of the last decade continued in 2018.  Greater female participation, growing Hispanic participation, and a growing youth movement. In fact, the age group 25-34 now accounts for 19.1 percent of fly anglers in the U.S., with age group 35-44 second with 15.7 percent.

More evidence that fly fishing is strong among younger anglers - less than 25 percent of current fly fishers are 55 years or older. This is the lowest percentage of senior fly anglers in a decade.

Another interesting statistic from the survey was the level of participation among fly anglers. Over 98 percent identified themselves as either "avid anglers" or "would like to fish more". This indicates that the interest among participants is very strong and not likely to lose interest in the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 08, 2019

National Hurricane Center upgrades storm possibility for Gulf

We've been tracking reports of the possiblity of a tropical disturbance forming in the northern Gulf of Mexico later this week. As of 10:00am this morning, that possibility has been raised to 80 percent.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a trough of low pressure associated with a rare cool front over central Georgia is forecast to move south into the northeastern Gulf. Once it moves over the very warm waters of the Gulf, it's expected to strengthen. Gradual development is then possible.

By Thursday, the system will then likely move northward and westward. While the models show several different tracks, the most consistent place a landfall either just east of Slidell or south of Beaumont. Either location would result in a large amount of precipitation for south Louisiana. The other unknown is how organized the system will be when it lands - depression, tropical storm, or hurricane.

Attendees to the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend this coming weekend will be notified if there is any change in plans.

Demystify publishes review of Shadow Assassin reel

We don't often link our news stories to other websites publications, but this is one we couldn't ignore. For the last few years, many of our readers who are on Facebook have seen the ads for Shadow Fly Fishing. They've asked about the fly reels, of which I've never seen one in person.

Shadow is a direct online retailer - not sold through shops or stores - much like Allen, Taylor and many others.  While they offer a variety of products, it's their two budget-priced fly reels that get most attention: the Assassin and the Gladiator. Both are bar-stock machined, with carbon fiber disc drag.

The Gladiator sells for $134 (currently on sale for $99). It claims a "water resistant drag". It comes in a few color options (gunmetal, red, green). But like many cheap reels, there's a low spool diameter to width ratio - the 7/8 model has a diameter of 3.46 inches and width of 1.18 inches. Still, it probably is satisfactory for marsh fishing.

The Assassin is definitely a notch up. It claims a "waterproof drag" with an amazing 20 pounds of drag strength!  It also promotes its use for saltwater. It comes in gunmetal or blue/black. The diameter/width ratio is much better - for the 7/8 model the diameter is 4.00 inches and width is 0.9 inches. This compares to many premium reels such as Galvan, Bauer, etc. It sells for $205, but currently on sale for $174.

As the article's author states, the discounts might indicate some new models or revisions of current models are forthcoming.

Want to know how the Assassin performed in real world testing?  Here's the link to the Demystify article.  CLICK HERE.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/7

One of the busiest weeks this summer, with several educational opportunities.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at their new meeting location!  The club will now meet at the Adult Education Building at Broadmoor United Methodist Church on 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. On the agenda: strategies for redfish and speckled trout in the marshes from Galliano to Grand Isle, as well as preparation for this week's annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend.  The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Trout Prep" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Trout Prep will cover the types of trout water, types of bugs and when they hatch, as well as rigging for dries, nymphs, and streamers. No fee, but registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Also 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.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Wednesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Sight Casting" clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Sight Casting will cover the basics learning to spot fish and cast from the ready position, as well as fishing with a guide. No fee, but registration required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

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 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Starting this Friday and continuing to Sunday, it's the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend (formerly Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend). Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, this event brings together members of clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi (and sometimes elsewhere) for marsh fishing along the Highway 1 corridor. Shrimp boil Friday night, fish fry Saturday night. Registration is required, deadline is Tuesday. For more info, check rsff.org for details.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Spoon Fly Tying Class" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. Instructor Flip Siragusa will guide students in hands-on tying of an epoxy spoon fly similiar to the Waldner variety, one of the deadliest flies for redfish and other species. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" class at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics such as tackle, rigging and casting. Seats are limited so pre-registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

St. Croix to unveil new Imperial Salt at ICAST

We're just days away from ICAST, the world's largest conventional sportfishing trade show. And while Fly Tackle Dealer is no longer merged with this event (IFTD will be in October), that doesn't preclude ICAST from having several new fly fishing products in the New Product Showcase.

As mentioned before, several companies - St. Croix, Pure Fishing (Hardy, Fenwick), TFO and others - make both conventional and fly tackle. For this reason, attendees will see and sample their new fly products for 2020.

Among the fly products to be featured at ICAST will be the new St. Croix Imperial Salt fly rod series. Available in six weights from 7 to 12, all in 9-foot length, the fast-action Imperial Salt combines SCIII carbon with St. Croix's patented IPC mandrel technology. Components are designed to withstand the toughest marine environments, such as Sea Guide PVD coated stripper guides with zirconia rings.

Made in the USA at their Park Falls, Wisconsin, factory, the Imperial Salt comes with a 15-year transferable(!) warranty. It also comes with a rugged rod case. MSRP ranges from $340 to $380.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Dates set for many 2020 events

We're at the midpoint of this calendar year, yet most of next year's regional events have already been scheduled.  Here is a list of those events and dates:

January 18 - Cenla Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Festival
February 1 - Atlanta Fly Fishing Show
February 8 - Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Houston)
February 15 - Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest
February 22 - GRTU TroutFest (New Braunfels)
March 7 - Red Stick Day (Baton Rouge)
March 21 - Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival (Plano)
March 28 - New Orleans City Park Rodeo & Big Bass Fishtival
April 25 - Fly Fishin For The Mission tournament
May 2 - Bass On The Fly (Lake Fork)

In addition, the New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo and an FFI Gulf Coast Council combination tournament/festival are in planning stage with dates soon to be announced.

Several clubs also have dates set for club fishing trips for first half of 2020. Among them are the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual trips to Lake Concordia and Spring Catch-n-Eat (marsh), and the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual "March Brown" and "Cinco de Trout" coldwater trips.

Please check the Calendar page for updates. As these become available, we will post.

Monday, July 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/1

With Independence Day on Thursday, a very light week ahead.

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, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am. FF101 is a free one day, hands-on clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For details, call 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, Orvis BR will hold a "Fly Tying 101" clinic at their store. Time is 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Orvis FT101 is a free one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size limited. For more info, call (225) 757-7286.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Last week to renew your fishing license

Louisiana annual fishing licenses for 2018-2019 expire this Sunday at midnight, after which you'll need a 2019-2020 license. The new licenses became available on June 1st, and are good from the time of purchase thru June 30 of 2020.

Licenses can be purchased in several ways: (1) online at https://la-web.s3licensing.com, (2) at local license vendors, and (3) at LDWF offices in Baton Rouge, Opelousas, Lake Charles, Pineville and Monroe. Acceptable methods of payment made online are Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

For residents, the basic annual license (covers freshwater only) remains at $9.50.  Saltwater license is an extra $13.00. Persons 60 years of age or older qualify for the special "Senior Fish/Hunt" license that covers all fishing, basic hunting, big game, and WMA use. Members of the military also get discounts on saltwater license, combined fish/hunt license.

As for non-residents, the basic stamp is $5.00 per day, with saltwater stamp $17.50 per day (total $22.50 per day). For frequent visitors to our state, the annual license might be a "cheaper" option. The NR season basic stamp is $60.00 and saltwater $30.00 for total of $90.00.

A word of advise.  Be aware that LDWF Enforcement gives out more tickets during the first week of July than any other week of the year. While a good number are for license violations, they also do boat safety checks. So be sure to check for PFDs, fire extinguishers, lights, and any other safety items on your boat or kayak before taking to the water.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

What's happening this week - 6/23

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Tom Konvicka, chief meteorologist for KALB-TV, who will talk about weather-related topics of interest to anglers. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Wednesday, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers will hold a "Pint Night" at Tin Roof Brewing Company on 1624 Wyoming St. in Baton Rouge. Time is 5:30pm. Attendees can learn about the latest on public access issues in Louisiana. For more info, go to www.backcountryhunters.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.